China media: Lunar mission

This screen grab taken from CCTV live broadcasting footage shows an image (R) of China"s first lunar rover transmitted back to the control centre in Beijing after it landed on the moon on December 14, 2013.
Image caption The moon mission has generated heightened interest in the Chinese media

Media in China are celebrating the first photographs taken by the Chang'e-3 probe and its moon rover, Yutu (Jade Rabbit), on the moon's surface.

State broadcaster China Central Television broadcast live footage of Chang'e-3 taking photos of Yutu, including a close-up of the national flag on the Yutu, in a flat plain known as Sinus Iridum, Latin for Bay of Rainbows, an unvisited area in the moon's north.

"Space exploration is the cause of mankind, not just 'the patent' of a certain country. China will share the achievements of its lunar exploration with the whole world and use them to benefit humanity," commented the official Xinhua News Agency.

The Ta Kung Pao, a Beijing-backed Hong Kong newspaper, recalls how the US has imposed a "blockade" on China after the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) initially barred Chinese scientists from its astronomy conference in October.

"In many high-tech fields, the West, especially the US, implements a blockade policy against China... The success of Chang'e-3 and other projects indicates that China does not need to co-operate with the US... In the future, one day perhaps the US may in turn seek China's co-operation in the space industry," it says.

The China Daily stresses that the moon mission will help China's modernisation despite its mammoth cost for a developing country.

"Domestically, citizens should realise the large sums of money that are used to develop the space technology are not being spent on a vanity project," it says.

Chang's execution

Over the weekend, the Chinese media continued to assess the aftermath of the execution of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's uncle, Chang Song-thaek.

The Global Times raised concerns that Pyongyang may interpret negative public reaction in China to the recent purge in North Korea as Beijing's official stance.

"China diversified long ago and the Chinese government cannot co-ordinate the attitude of the whole of society towards North Korea... China needs to help North Korea's new regime to consolidate its most needed sense of security as soon as possible. We should do our utmost in this respect," it says.

However, the Ta Kung Pao notes that the Chinese foreign ministry did not express overt support to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un following the news of Chang Song-thaek's execution on 12 December.

"At a time when Kim Jong-un most needed support, China did not publicly express support for Kim Jong-un's handling of Chang Song-thaek. In fact, this seems rather unusual and it does not appear to be commensurate with the close political relations between the two countries," says the newspaper.

Hong Kong's Oriental Daily believes that a "rare direct invitation" by the Communist Party's People's Daily last week for Kim Jong-un to visit China "as soon as possible" indicates China's concern over a potential purge of Mr Chang's supporters.

Meanwhile, the Global Times blames a near-collision between Chinese and American naval vessels in international waters in the South China Sea on 5 December on US surveillance of a Chinese naval drill.

According to the US media, the US navy says the USS Cowpens, a guided missile cruiser, was forced to take "evasive action" to avoid a collision with a Chinese navy ship that came within 500 yards despite radio warnings that it was getting too close. The Chinese military has not responded yet.

The near-miss was the most serious Sino-US confrontation in the South China Sea since 2009 when Chinese vessels blocked and surrounded a US surveillance ship in international waters.

"The US clearly blocked China's doorstep, and the US warship's arrival near the Liaoning for reconnaissance was no longer so-called 'innocent passage', and it constituted a threat to China's national security. If the US Navy and Air Force are always hovering around China's doorway, 'confrontation' is destined to happen," says the Global Times.

Meanwhile, the Chinese state media are celebrating Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's "failure" in lobbying members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to oppose China's controversial Air Defence Identification Zone.

Commentaries in the China Daily and People's Daily Overseas Edition note that a statement issued after a Japan-Asean summit in Tokyo on Saturday called for freedom of the high seas and skies, but did not criticise China's air zone.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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