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CRI Roundup 2008-06-21
    2008-06-21 10:47:36     CRIENGLISH.com

Hello, and welcome to this edition of CRI Roundup on Saturday, June 21. I'm Jack Guard in Beijing.

Let's take a look at some of the major events that have happened in China and around the world during the past week.

China and the United States have reached important agreements on energy and environmental protection in the fourth round of the Strategic Economic Dialogue held this week in Annapolis, Maryland.

Visiting Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Qishan said the outcomes show how successful the two-day meeting has been.

"I'm confident with our joint efforts the SED will play an increasingly important role. Bilateral economic cooperation will enjoy broader prospects, and our constructive and cooperative relationship will make new strides forward."

Both sides agreed to stick to principles of free trade and investment facilitation, and are committed to improving the investment environment. They also agreed to start negotiations leading to a bilateral investment protection pact.

The previous round of such dialogue paved the way for the opening of U.S.-bound Chinese tours. This week, the first Chinese leisure travel group is having a good time in the United States.

Chinese National Tourism Administration Director Shao Qiwei said the new initiative will further cooperation between the two countries.

"It marks an all-around beginning for package tours between the two countries, which I believe will serve a positive role for cooperation in other fields, such as politics, economy, culture and science."

Statistics show that more than 700,000 Chinese people visited the United States last year.

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping is deep into his five-nation tour across Asia. This week, he visited North Korea and Mongolia.

His next stops include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Yemen. This is Xi Jinping's first international visit since taking office earlier this year.

China has defended a sea gas pact with Japan as "transitional," saying it did not compromise national sovereignty.

Wu Dawei, vice foreign minister of China, said this week's agreement to jointly develop gas fields in the East China Sea will not affect Chinese claims to sovereignty over the area's waters.

"For the sake of driving China-Japan relations forward smoothly, the two countries have reached an interim agreement to prevent the issue of sovereignty over the East China Sea from impeding the steady development of bilateral relations."

China and Japan reached a consensus to push for an early settlement of the issue of Chinese President Hu Jintao's state visit to Japan in May.
Victims of the May 12 Sichuan earthquake are now hard at work rebuilding their homes.

Zhang Qiulin is a farmer in the quake region in Southwest China.

"We can't wait for the government to do everything for us. We need to stand on our own two feet, to help ourselves. We are farmers. As long as there is land, we will work together to overcome every difficulty and have a bright future."

Now turning our focus to the Olympic-related stories.

This week, the Olympic torch has been relayed through Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The four legs were Urumqi, Kashi, Shi Hezi, and Changji respectively. On Saturday, the torch passes through Lhasa, the capital of Tibet Autonomous Region.

With less than 50 days to go before the Beijing Olympics, China's anti-terrorism forces say they are ready to maintain security during the games. Li Yaguang is the leader of the anti-terror unit.

"We've prepared for all possible terrorist threats that might happen during the games. We have also trained our team in combat skills such as wrestling and shooting to deal with different kinds of emergencies."

Meanwhile, Beijing is also pulling out all the stops to ensure uninterrupted transport during the Olympic Games. An Olympic Express Route will be set up, in addition to barrier-free facilities on the roads, to ensure smooth transport.

In other parts of the world,

A six-month truce between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas has come into force in the Gaza Strip amid skepticism over how long the Egyptian-brokered deal would hold.

The cease-fire is the first since Hamas took over the impoverished territory just over a year ago.

The leaders of both sides expressed hope that the ceasefire would succeed.

Ismail Haniyeh is the leader of Hamas.

"The calm will go into effect with the cessation of all Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people. All the Palestinian factions, from their side, are fully committed to it."

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said although he hoped the cease-fire agreement with Hamas would last, he had "no illusions" about it.

European Union leaders have agreed to give Ireland four months to come up with a plan to save the Lisbon Treaty after the country voted against it.

Jose Manuel Barroso is president of the EU Commission.

"I fully agree with that the vote was not against Europe. I made it clear that the commission will fully endorse its request that Ireland will be given more time to decide or to react, and to come forward with proposals on the next steps."

Addressing a two-day summit in Brussels, Barroso also urged other EU nations to push forward in ratifying the treaty, so it could come into effect and make reforms within the bloc possible.

And that concludes this edition of CRI Roundup. Remember, if you have any comments or suggestions, or would like to listen to any of our programs online, you can visit our Web site at www.crienglish.com. I'm Jack Guard in Beijing. Thanks for listening. Stay tuned for more on China Radio International.



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