China Hopeful over Trade Pact with US, but Condemns Military Action

China has assured on Monday it is still waiting for a trade agreement with the United States despite Donald Trump's tariff threats, but warned it to stop military provocations in its waters because it will undermine regional peace and stability.

Geng Shuang, Foreign Ministry spokesman, said at a press conference his government is analyzing the announcement made Sunday by US President Donald Trump who threatened to raise tariffs, and is preparing the trip of the negotiating team this week to Washington for another round-table of bilateral consultations.

Since Friday, according to Trump, the tariffs imposed on Chinese goods valued at 200 billion dollars will climb from 10 to 25 percent, because he considers very slow the Washington - Beijing negotiations on the trade agreement.

He also threatened to apply early tariffs of 25 percent to Chinese products for 325 billion dollars that have so far remained tax-free.

However, the spokesman reiterated Beijing's rejection and demand of an end to the entry of US military vessels into the South China Sea, describing them as provocative acts which violate sovereignty, peace and security in that territory.

He even emphasized that China will take the necessary measures to safeguard its territorial integrity against the continuation of these illegal operations.

Two other warships entered Chinese waters on Monday without Beijing's permission.

The potential increase in hostilities and the uncertainty over a stalemate in trade talks put an end on Monday to optimism and knocked down Asian stock markets as the situation raises fears of an economic recession.

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Xi Jinping Says Belt And Road Must Be "Green", Vows To Fight Corruption

Beijing: China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) must be green and sustainable, President Xi Jinping said in opening a summit on his grand strategy, adding that the massive infrastructure and trade plan would deliver "high-quality" growth for all.

Xi's plan to rebuild the old Silk Road to connect China with Asia, Europe and beyond has become mired in controversy as some partner nations have bemoaned the high cost of infrastructure projects.

China has not said exactly how much the ambitious plan will cost, but some independent estimates suggest it will run into several trillion dollars.

Beijing has repeatedly said it is not seeking to trap countries that sign up to BRI with debt, and will use this week's summit in Beijing to address those concerns and recalibrate the policy.

Xi said in a keynote speech on Friday that environmental protection must underpin the initiative "to protect the common home we live in".

"Operate in the sun and fight corruption together with zero tolerance," Xi said.

"Building high-quality, sustainable, risk-resistant, reasonably priced, and inclusive infrastructure will help countries to fully utilise their resource endowments," he added.

Unlike the first summit in 2017, where Xi said Chinese banks will lend 380 billion yuan ($56.4 billion) to support BRI cooperation, he did not give a figure for new financing support.

However, Xi will give another speech on Saturday.

Western governments have tended to view the plan as a means to spread Chinese influence abroad, saddling poor countries with unsustainable debt.

While most of the BRI projects are continuing as planned, some have been caught up by changes in government in countries such as Malaysia and the Maldives.

Those that have been shelved for financial reasons include a power plant in Pakistan and an airport in Sierra Leone, and Beijing has rebuffed critics by saying that not one country has been burdened with so-called "debt traps".

Since 2017, the finance ministries of 28 countries have called on governments, financial institutions and companies from BRI countries to work together to build a long-term, stable and sustainable financing system to manage risks, China's finance ministry said in a report released on Thursday.

Debt sustainability has to be taken into account when mobilising funds, the ministry said in the report, which outlined a framework for use in analysing debt sustainability of low-income BRI nations and managing debt risks.

Xi launched BRI in 2013, and according to data from Refinitiv, the total value of projects in the scheme stands at $3.67 trillion, spanning countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, Oceania and South America.

"The BRI is an extraordinarily ambitious vision. To turn that vision into a sustainable reality, it must work for everyone involved," British finance minister Philip Hammond said at the summit.

The potential benefits are clear, but to deliver them, BRI must operate according to the highest global standards with all parties working together within the rules-based international system to create genuine win-win outcomes for all, he said.

CHINESE PROMISES

The BRI will also create development opportunities for China just as the country itself is further opening its markets to the world, Xi said.

He said China will "improve laws and regulations, regulate government behaviour at all levels in administrative licensing, market supervision and other areas, and clean up and abolish unreasonable regulations, subsidies and practices that impede fair competition and distort the market."

Xi promised to significantly shorten the negative list for foreign investments, and allow foreign companies to take a majority stake or set up wholly-owned companies in more sectors.

Tariffs will be lower and non-tariff barriers will be eliminated, he added.

China also aims to import more services and goods, and is willing to import competitive agricultural products and services to achieve trade balance.

VISITING LEADERS

Summit attendees include Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan, a close China ally and among the biggest recipients of BRI investment, as well as Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy, which recently became the first G7 country to sign on.

Khan told the summit that in a world of uncertainty, the initiative offered "a model of collaboration, partnership, connectivity and shared prosperity".

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen took aim at critics who have described Belt and Road as a debt trap, pointing to the successful example of a Chinese-funded highway between Phnom Penh and the port city of Sihanoukville.

"Cambodia has not only been able to plan this project for the benefit of the people but also achieve financial engineering that does not increase public debt to the state," he said, in comments translated into English.

European countries have signalled their willingness to participate in the BRI, but key states like France and Germany have said China must in turn improve access and fair competition for foreign firms.

Major European Union countries want to sign a memorandum of understanding on the BRI as a group and not as individual states, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said.

The United States, which has not joined the Belt and Road, is expected to send only lower-level officials, and nobody from Washington.

"We continue to have serious concerns that China's infrastructure diplomacy activities ignore or weaken international standards and best practices related to development, labour protections, and environmental protection," a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said.

 

 

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China, Russia… ‘we all have to get rid’ of nukes, Trump says amid reports he eyes arms control deal

Donald Trump has called on the US, Russia, and China to reduce their nuclear arsenals amid reports that his administration is planning to propose a landmark arms control deal with Beijing and Moscow.

In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, the US president said that he welcomed Russia’s efforts to help denuclearize the Korean Peninsula – but that more must be done.

“We want to get rid of the nuclear weapons, we all have to get rid [of them]. Russia has to get rid of them, and China has to get rid of them,” Trump stated.

Also on rt.com US says it won't rule out nuclear first strike, because allies wouldn't trust it otherwise...

His comments coincide with reports that the White House is gearing up for an ambitious arms control treaty with Russia and China. The deal, still in its early stages, would impose restrictions on unregulated nuclear weapons and would call on Beijing to join an arms-control pact verifying China’s nuclear capabilities.

In past months, Trump has publicly expressed support for the idea of limiting or reducing the world’s nuclear arsenals.

“Between Russia and China and us, we’re all making hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of weapons, including nuclear [weapons], which is ridiculous,” Trump said in early April.

The president continued: “I think it’s much better if we all got together and we didn’t make these weapons. So I think that’s something that could be a phase two after this [trade war] is done.”

I am certain that, at some time in the future, President Xi and I, together with President Putin of Russia, will start talking about a meaningful halt to what has become a major and uncontrollable Arms Race. The U.S. spent 716 Billion Dollars this year. Crazy!

In December, the president tweeted that he wanted to make a deal with Russia and China to end the “uncontrollable arms race.”

The ambitious plan for promoting non-proliferation clashes with the president’s past approaches to arms control.

Trump announced in February that the US would withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia. Moscow lambasted the move as a provocation that would lead to a new arms race.

Also on rt.com Pentagon eager to test banned missiles after discarding Cold War-era nuke treaty...

Trump may also struggle to convince the international community that Washington will honor any new arms control agreements. His decision to unilaterally pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran angered many US allies, and sparked accusations from Tehran that the US is incapable of keeping its word.

 

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China Goes Green: Will Produce Hydrogen Vehicles

Chinese government says it will produce and promote vehicles run on hydrogen fuel cells in an attempt to promote green energy in the country and abroad.

China will push ahead with the development of its hydrogen energy and fuel cell vehicle industry, a government official said Tuesday as part of wider efforts to promote green energy in the world’s largest auto market.

RELATED:US: Lawsuit Moves to Block Cleanup Order As Oil Spill Continues

“Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and pure electric vehicles with lithium batteries are important technical routes for new energy vehicles,” said Huang Libin, a spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

Pure electric vehicles are more suitable for urban and short-distance passenger travel, while hydrogen fuel cells are more suitable for long-distance and large commercial vehicles, Huang said.

“We believe that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and pure electric vehicles will coexist and complement each other for a long time to meet the needs of transportation and people’s travel,” said the MIIT official.

Senior industry executives and academics in China have urged the government to support hydrogen fuel cell technology due to its suitability for commercial transport.

Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp plans to supply fuel cell components to China’s commercial auto makers, launching a joint research institute with Tsinghua University last week.

China will also produce and distribute hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to Brazil. Grove Hydrogen Automotive Co. Ltd. based in Hubei province signed an agreement at the 2019 Shanghai International Auto Show with the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil to import the new technology.

“Much like China, Brazil is a country rich in geographic resources,” said Professor Hao Yiguo, CEO and Founder of Grove Hydrogen Automotive. “Grove is focused on establishing sustainable mobility worldwide, and in Minas Gerais we have the partner and the location to create green cars as what we are currently doing in China.”

In 2013, China began a five-year plan to cut pollution and smog. By 2018 the level of PM2.5 levels (smallest inhalable deadly pollutant) in Beijing had fallen by 54 percent, but 70 percent of its 365 major cities had still failed to meet the national PM2.5 standard of 35 micrograms per cubic meter, according to a Green Peace report from the same year. 

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Beijing Ready the Second Forum on Belt & Road Initiative

Beijing, Apr 21 (Prensa Latina) Beijing is busy decorating its public spaces and other final preparations for hosting next week''s second Forum on the Belt and Road for International Cooperation.

On a tour of the city, Prensa Latina noted the location of large-scale floral arrangements inspired by the central theme of the event: 'Belt and Road Cooperation, Shaping a Brighter Shared Future'.

The terraces are displayed in many of the most central avenues of the Chinese capital, also decorated with flags and posters alluding to the event.

In addition, teams of volunteers are ready to attend almost five thousand representatives from 150 countries and 90 global organizations, plus the four thousand national and foreign journalists who will begin arriving in Beijing in the coming days.

The Forum will be held on April 25-27 and China already considers it the most important international event of 2019.

According to Foreign Minister Wang Yi, 37 heads of state and government, as well as UN Secretary-General António Guterres and International Monetary Fund Director Christine Lagarde confirmed their attendance.

This edition will be larger in number of events, as it will start on April 25 with 12 conferences dedicated to various topics, including one with 800 entrepreneurs, but all will be focused on promoting the development of the project with high quality.

Then on the 26th, the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, will formally inaugurate the global event and lead high-level meetings.

Finally, on the 27th the plenary session of invited leaders and Xi will make statements to the accredited media at the closing of the Forum.

The host leader and his wife Peng Liyuan will entertain the international guests with a welcome banquet.

Official data show that 129 states and 29 global groupings currently make up the mechanism, launched in 2013 with the purpose of linking China with other continents through a network of maritime and land infrastructures that allow for business operations, responsibilities and shared profits.

Since its inception, the volume of business carried out in the context of the initiative exceeded six trillion dollars, investments exceeded 80 billion dollars, and 82 cooperation parks were built, creating almost 300,000 jobs.

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'Pompeo has Lost His Mind': Chinese Ambassador to Chile

“There are numerous examples, including the relentless blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba for more than half a century, President Trump's construction of a separation wall along the border between the United States and Mexico, and the very little assistance provided by the United States to Haiti and Central American countries. Chileans are also well aware that Chile's development achievements are not the result of American charity."

The Chinese Ambassador to Chile, Xu Bu, blasted U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over recent accusations that Chinese investments are “corrosive, giving life to corruption, and eroding good governance."

RELATED: China Pledges Continued Support for Venezuela

Xu took offense to these allegations from the U.S. Secretary of State, telling the La Tercera newspaper that "Pompeo has lost his mind and gone too far.”

“Such accusations are absurd,” the Ambassador said. "The economic and trade cooperation between China and Chile has brought tangible benefits to the development of the Chilean economy."

"The United States has not made substantial contributions to the economic development of Latin American countries but accuses China of its economic and trade cooperation with Latin America and its investment in Latin America. Mr. Pompeo is a hypocrite,” he continued, pointing out that China invested US$6 billion more than the U.S. in Chile and they exceeded their trade with the South American nation by US$42 billion. 

Xu then referenced U.S. history and its military interventions and sanctions in several Latin American nations. 

"Pompeo affirms that the U.S. is a reliable partner in Latin America, and I suppose that it underestimates the memory of Latin Americans. Historically, the United States has treated Latin America as its 'backyard,' imposing frequent military interventions or sanctions," he said, adding that "there are numerous examples, including the relentless blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba for more than half a century, President Trump's construction of a separation wall along the border between the United States and Mexico, and the very little assistance provided by the United States to Haiti and Central American countries. Chileans are also well aware that Chile's development achievements are not the result of American charity."

The Chinese Ambassador then touched on the allegations that the tech giant Huawei had allegedly spied for Beijing. 

"Pompeo's accusation that Huawei is under the control of the Chinese government is a malicious lie," Xu said. "The U.S. accusation is merely an attempt to stifle the legitimate operation of China's high-tech enterprises under the guise of security."

Xu discussed the situation in Venezuela and reaffirmed China's stance on not intervening in the country's domestic affairs. 

The Chinese Ambassador said that it is up to the Venezuelan people to decide their future and not the United States. 

“If the United States really cares about democracy and human rights in Latin America, it should immediately stop sanctions against other countries and take measures to promote economic development in Latin America, not just empty promises,” Xu stated, adding that "Pompeo said the United States would use all means, including military intervention, to solve Venezuela's problem. On this point, he tried to hide his differences with other Latin American countries, such as Chile. The era when the United States acted as the world's police and judges has passed, and Pompeo should get rid of hegemonism and cold-war thinking."

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China Recovered over 1,000 Relics Taken to Italy and the US

Beijing, (Prensa Latina) China repatriated this year 1,157 relics taken to Italy and the United States by means of smuggling, which it is proposed to curb in cooperation with the help of several countries, the National Administration of Cultural Heritage reported on Wednesday.

The president of that institution, Liu Yuzhu, said it is the highest quantity of objects recovered since 1998, when the country brought back 3,000 pieces that were stolen and sent to the United Kingdom.

According to Yuzhu, the operation is a result of agreements of cooperation that China sustains with Rome and Washington D.C. and is expecting the return of more relics because similar agreements exist with 20 other nations in Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia.

Those pacts also have as an objective to end the illegal excavation and trafficking of heritage treasures. Furthermore, China wishes to broaden widen agreements to include the management of museums, archeology, development of high-tech processes and the preservation of excavated sites.

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Xi Jinping Stresses Need of Mutual Respect in USA Negotiations

President Xi Jinping on Friday stressed the need to maintain equity, respect and mutual benefit in negotiations with the United States to soon reach an agreement that would halt the trade war.

In a message addressed to his U.S. peer Donald Trump, the president exhorted him to work together because these values prevail, while the parties try to resolve both sides' concerns in economic matters.

Xi praised that the negotiators achieved substantial progress in shaping the pact after contacts were resumed early this year.

He also stressed that the development of healthy and stable relations between China and the United States requires strategic leadership and close communication between him and Trump.

Xi's letter was delivered some few hours ago by Deputy Prime Minister Liu He -chief negotiator of the Chinese team- during a meeting with Trump in Washington.

The bitter dispute marked one year in March, and the White House investigations on the alleged Chinese efforts that allegedly distort the national market to force, press and steal technology and American intellectual property unleashed it.

After knocking into levels of dangerous tension, the relations between Beijing and Washington go down a little, and found a mid-point on those and other important issues in their economic-commercial ties.

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