China, Japan hold high-level economic dialogueChina has been quite busy “dialogging” lately. Their goals in the talks seem to center around 4 points: “According to Zeng, four major problems exist in Sino-Japanese economic ties: a slowdown in the growth rate of bilateral trade, unsatisfactory business environment, obstacles in technological cooperation and fluctuations of Japanese investment in China...Japan is China’s third largest trade partner and the second largest source of foreign direct investment. China is Japan’s largest trade partner and one of Japan’s fastest growing export markets.” The International Herald Tribune also did an article on this.

China to provide free textbooks to all rural students in compulsory education – China is enacting a plan to create 9 years of compulsory education for all 150 million rural students.

Chinese to undergo compulsory HIV testing – Although China has relaxed laws concerning HIV positive foreigners entering the country on visits; they are increasing screening for Chinese citizens returning to China after a year or more abroad. When I was in China in 1999, they already had a law that made it compulsory for foreign nationals to undergo HIV testing if they wanted to stay in China for more than a year. I think the now rule is a good thing, but I fear that publicly known HIV status could lead to increased discrimination against the carrier.

Taiwan: Law change to aid migrant spouses – This law is important because Taiwan is one of the many regions of Asia with a female shortage. Due to this, Taiwan has seen a dramatic increase in the number of foreign brides, mostly Southeast Asian and Mainland Chinese women. There needed to be more regulation on this front, and the resulting laws seem fair.

U.S. to set 3 more tasks for N. Korea – Well, I see America is still dreaming. North Korea will never show its complete hand, that is not in the leaders interests, even if it is in the people’s. Even the reporter who wrote this, Takashi Sakamoto, does not believe North Korea will do this, so they will remain on America’s “Boogeyman” list for the foreseeable future. Then again, maybe that is what the Bush Administration wants. So much for America’s optimism.