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Pence leaves for Asia, focused on increasing pressure on North Korea

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Vice President Pence departs Monday for a five-day trip to Japan and South Korea, a visit to Asia intended to focus almost entirely on rallying allies to ratchet up their pressure on Kim Jong Un’s repressive regime, as well as directly pressing North Korea to stop its nuclear ambitions. Even his final stop — leading the U.S. delegation at the 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony in PyeongChang, South Korea, on Friday night, and attending an Olympic event Saturday morning — has a clear geopolitical undertone: to combat North Korean propaganda amid the Olympic festivities, White House officials said.

Chinese premier Li calls for a new Sino-Philippine cooperation

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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday called for opening a new chapter for Chinese-Philippine friendship and cooperation on the basis of mutual respect and equal treatment. Since Sino-Philippine relations were turned around last year, the bilateral ties have seen a positive momentum of improvement and development and bilateral cooperation has been promoted in all sectors, said Li. Li said his visit is aimed to consolidate the momentum for the bilateral ties and make up the time and opportunities that were once lost. He encouraged all walks of life from China and the Philippines to participate in the building of the bilateral relations so as to create conditions for enhancing mutual trust, deepening cooperation, and consolidating the public support for the long-term friendship. Aquilino Pimentel, Senate president of the Philippines, He expressed thanks to China for providing support for the economic and social development and livelihood improvement in the Philippines, stressing that the country stands ready to strengthen the bilateral exchanges between legislative organs and political parties and to promote bilateral ties to a new high.

A Chinese producer’s bittersweet bite of innovation: losses in recent years

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If innovation can be compared to an apple, the latest bite taken by Shenyang Machine Tool Group, once the world’s largest machine tool seller, was not the sweetest. Although its self-developed smart factory machinery tools have created new demand, a lot more has to be done to steer the group towards a path of quality and sustainable development in the new era. On the wall of one of the group’s conference halls hangs a calligraphy showing four Chinese characters “da gan kuai shang”, which means make all-out efforts and launch new projects as fast as possible. The company has reported losses for more than two years. It forecast that the loss in the first nine months of this year will be between 750 million and 800 million yuan, compared with a loss of 798 million yuan for the same period of 2016. The losses in recent years came as China’s economic growth slowed to medium-high rates. Gai Liya, manager of a production line of the group’s Shenzhen-listed branch, Shenyang Machine Tool Group said “Technological innovation should be a lasting process. We still need to make constant experiments and huge inputs in the future”.

Xi Jinping calls for cooperation between APEC and ASEAN

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Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday called for closer cooperation between the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

With APEC being the most influential platform for economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region and ASEAN being an organization of regional integration with greatest vitality and potential, the two mechanisms will enjoy a bright future for cooperation, Xi said at an informal dialogue between leaders from both sides, pointing out the shared notion and principles between the two mechanisms. Xi proposed the two sides work together to advance regional economic integration. The Chinese leader also called for inclusive and sustainable development, proposing the APEC and ASEAN members align their development strategies with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. During the dialogue, Xi said China, as a strategic partner of ASEAN, firmly supports the construction of the ASEAN community and backs ASEAN’s core role in regional cooperation. China will push ahead with development alignment with ASEAN in an in-depth way and forge an upgraded strategic partnership between the two sides so as to build a closer China-ASEAN community of shared future, said the Chinese president.

China will continue “to go global”, Hong Kong plays active role

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A Chinese official said here Wednesday that China will continue to go global in this new era with new opportunities brought to the world, especially to Hong Kong. Xie Feng, Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China (CPC) in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), made the remarks at a briefing to foreign chambers of commerce in Hong Kong and representatives of multinational corporations on the outcome as well as significance of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). “We are promoting China’s socialist modernization drive and are working to ensure the faithful implementation of ‘one country, two systems’ in Hong Kong. This will bring opportunities to not only Hong Kong but also countries and business communities around the globe,” Xie said. Andrew Seaton, Executive Director of the British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, said that the international business community welcomes the initiatives for the latest development of Chinese economy, some of which have already caught a high level of interest among foreign businesses.

Xi Jinping ‘wants to improve ties with North Korea’

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President Xi Jinping has replied to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s message of congratulations after the Communist Party congress, with the Chinese leader saying he is hoping to improve ties between the two nations, according to North Korean state media. Details of Xi’s message were reported by North Korea’s official news agency and say it: “i wish that under the new situation the Chinese side will make efforts with the DPRK to promote relations between the two parties for stable development and thus make a positive contribution to providing the peoples of the two countries with greater happiness and to defend regional peace and stability and common prosperity”, Xi was quoted as saying by the Korean Central News Agency. China, the North’s sole major ally, has grown increasingly frustrated with Pyongyang and has repeatedly called for restraint, urging all sides to negotiate to lessons tensions on the Korean peninsula. Xi has previously sent messages to Kim, most recently last year when he expressed congratulations on the staging of a party congress in North Korea. A senior Chinese official also handed over a letter from Xi to Kim during celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the Korean Workers’ Party two years ago. Hwang Jae-ho, an expert on Northeast Asia regional security at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, said the exchange of messages between Kim and Xi meant the two nations did not want their ties to further deteriorate. “Under the current situation, relations between China and North Korea cannot worsen any more”, Hwang said. Wang Sheng, a professor studying Korean affairs at Jilin University in northeast China, said Xi’s reply was a courtesy to Kim. “The interaction reflected that Sino-North Korea relations may warm up a little because there is no major obstacle between two countries except Pyongyang’s nuclear programme”, he said.

Trade between China, Belt and Road countries was a 15-percent increase

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Trade between China and countries along the Belt and Road amounted to 786 billion U.S. dollars in the first three quarters, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Thursday. The volume was a 15-percent increase from the same period last year, MOC spokesperson Gao Feng told a press conference. From January to September, Chinese businesses directly invested 9.6 billion U.S. dollars in countries along the Belt and Road, up 29.7 percent year on year. Investments made by Belt and Road countries in China stood at 4.24 billion U.S. dollars, up 34.4 percent year on year. Chinese businesses have helped build 75 economic and trade cooperation zones in 24 countries along the Belt and Road, generating over 209,000 jobs, according to Gao. The Belt and Road is a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along – and beyond – the ancient Silk Road trade routes. The modern version comprises an overland Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

Steady growth of China’s private investment

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China’s private investment has kept growing at steady and sustained pace this year, a senior official said Saturday. Private investment plays a critical part in Chinese economy, Zhang Yong, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, said at a press conference on the sidelines of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The growth cooled down last year after the country’s total fixed-asset investment lost steam and the property and manufacturing sectors underwent a difficult time, he said. Despite the hardships, private investment increased 6 percent in the first nine months this year, 3.5 percentage points higher than the same period a year ago.Private investment growth has anchored from last year’s weakness, he said. Zhang underlined the importance of implementing supportive policy for private investors such as streamlining administrative procedures and cutting red tape, lowering market threshold, applying negative-list approach and increasing market transparency. Private investment should play a bigger role in the future, he added.Private investment accounts for at least 60 percent of China’s total fixed-asset investment. It generates 80 percent of China’s jobs, 60 percent of the GDP and 50 percent of the tax revenue.

 

19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China to plan for political reform

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The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) will map out overall reform measures about the country’s political system and other systems, a spokesman for the congress said Tuesday. Based on the systematic review of achievements and experience of reform in the past, the congress will strive to address outstanding issues that have emerged in practice and work out overall reform measures, Tuo Zhen told reporters. “We will unswervingly move toward the goal of improving and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics and modernizing China’s state governance system and capability”, Tuo said.  “All the achievements China has made in reform and development since the launch of reform and opening up nearly four decades ago will not be possible without political system reform, and this will remain the case in the future”, he said. The spokesman said China has achieved major and historic achievements in political system reform, which have provided important guarantee for deepening reform in other fields and created better conditions for economic and social development. China will not copy and replicate the models of other countries in political system reform, the spokesman said. “Our unique cultural traditions, unique historic experience and unique national conditions determine that we must pursue a path of development suited to our own features”, he said.

China’s trade with North Korea slumped after nuclear sanctions

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China’s trade with North Korea slumped in September, amid United Nations sanctions aimed at deterring Kim Jong-un from pursuing his missile and nuclear weapons programmes. Exports to the restive state in the month fell 6.7 per cent from a year ago, while imports fell 37.9 per cent, customs administration spokesman Huang Songping said at a briefing in Beijing. North Korea’s deficit with China in the first nine months more than tripled from the same period of 2016, to US$1.07 billion, he said, without elaborating. With China’s support, the UN has agreed on two rounds of sanctions since the beginning of August, including bans on North Korean exports of iron, coal, lead, seafood, textiles, and oil import restrictions.  China’s overall trade with North Korea for the first nine months of the year rose 3.7 per cent year on year to US$4.03 billion, slowing from 7.5 per cent for the January through August period. China’s exports to North Korea from January to September rose 20.9 per cent to US$2.55 billion while imports fell 16.7 per cent to US$1.48 billion. The customs agency said it would publish details of its trade in specific products with North Korea on October 23.

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