President hails US high school students’ roles

Mandarin learners encouraged to play parts in fostering bilateral friendship

President Xi Jinping encouraged a group of United States high-school students to boost

friendship between China and the US as he replied to their letter written to him in Chinese.

“I hope you will make the best of your time, study hard and contribute y

our part to a deeper friendship between the people of our two countries,” Xi wrote in th

e letter, saying the young generations represent the future of the Sino-US friendship.

Over 40 students from Niles North High School in the state of Illinois who are studyi

ng Mandarin Chinese recently wrote to Xi, asking about his work, life and hobbies.

They told the Chinese leader in the letter that they are studying Mandarin, and they love the Chinese language, music and cuisine.

In his written response, Xi expressed gratitude to the students for their letter, and said he

can feel from the letter their love of the Chinese language as well as their interest in Chinese culture.

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The bond pricing mechanism will be further improv

Under a pilot scheme, the first group of six provinces and cities sold 6.8 billion yuan in bonds

at commercial bank counters to individual buyers between March 22 and early April.

The coupon rates are between 3.01 percent and 3.33 percent, higher than treasury b

onds issued by the central government as well as bank deposits with the same maturity.

Gross local bond issuances hit 1.18 trillion yuan in the first qua

rter, compared with only 219.5 billion yuan in the same period last year.

The total quota for 2019 local government bond issuances is 3.08 trillion yuan, according to the Ministry of Finance.

“About 60 percent of the bonds were issued for ongoing construction, especially

for shantytown renovation projects, railways and roads,” said Hao Lei, head of the ministry’s Budget Department.

While debt financing continues to grow, the government is experiencing sharp declin

es in fiscal revenue growth, especially from tax and land sales, official data showed.

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The meetings on Thursday and Friday are all part of

f the 8th Summit of Central and Eastern European Countries & China.

At the China-CEEC economy and trade forum before the leaders meeting, Li called for strengthening trade facilitation and exp

anding two-way opening-up of markets. China is willing to expand imports of goods from CEE nations, particu

larly agricultural products that cater to the demand of Chinese consumers, he said. Trade of farm goods, machine

ry and electric devices should be further boosted and logistics sped up between the trading partners, he said.

Li said trade between China and the 16 CEE nations rose by 21 percent to a record high, de

spite a global trade slowdown. China is willing to strengthen cooperation with CEE nations in infrast

ructure based on market rules and following European Union rules and standards, he said.

Li advocated the great potential for trade and economic cooperation between China a

nd the 16 countries. China-CEEC cooperation is a helpful addition to China-EU ties, he said.

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President Xi Jinping meets Myanmar Commander-in

China would like to enhance strategic communication and deepen cooperation with Myanmar

no matter how the international situation changes, President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday.

Xi made the remark while meeting with Myanmar Commander-in-Chief of Defen

se Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

The two countries should deepen their comprehensive strategic cooperation to bring more practi

cal benefits for the people of both countries and contribute to regional stability and prosperity, Xi said.

Noting that military cooperation is an important part of China-Myanm

ar relations, Xi said that the two armies should enhance pragmatic cooper

ation and build bilateral military relations on the basis of mutual trust and benefit.

Xi said that China supports the peace process of Myanmar and pays attention to t

he development of the political and security situation in the northern part of Myanmar.

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calls on civil affairs authorities to improve publi

President Xi Jinping called upon civil affairs authorities to focus their efforts on meeting the requirements of poverty red

uction, special groups and matters of public concern in an instruction released on Tuesday.

The remark by Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of Central Mil

itary Commission, came as the 14th National Conference on Civil Affairs began in Beijing on Tuesday.

Xi said work related to civil affairs is related to the public’s well-being and the hearts a

nd minds of the people, and it is also fundamental work that extends a helping hand to those most in need.

Party committees and governments at various levels should stay committed to a people-cent

ered approach and improve their capacities in civil affairs services at the primary level, he said.

He also urged civil affairs authorities to enhance their Party building, stay comm

itted to advancing reform and innovations, better assume their responsibilities in ensur

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hina will continue to suspend extra tariffs on

The State Council said on Sunday that China would continue to suspend additional tariffs on US

vehicles and auto parts after April 1, in a goodwill gesture following a US decision to delay tariff hikes on Chinese imports.

In December, China said it would suspend additional 25 percent tariffs on US-made vehi

cles and auto parts for three months, following a truce in a trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

The State Council, or China’s cabinet, said the move was aimed at “continuing to create a good atmosphere for the ongoing trade negotiations between both sides”.

elt and Road Initiative serves to promote multilateral cooperation: China Daily editorial

t is natural for such a big international project as China’s Belt and Road Initiative to be ta

ken by some with a grain of salt. But the fact that 129 countries and 29 international organizations

have so far signed cooperation documents with China on the initiative shows that such views are in the minority.

The most common charges laid at China’s door are the Belt and Road is a debt trap and it is all about Chi

na’s strategic objectives. It has also been called a “scheme to split European Union”. And other labels will certainly appear.

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Crews clean up foul water at blast sitel teams are nitoring

Environment officers were busy preventing the spread of polluted water insi

de an industrial park in Jiangsu province that was hit by a deadly blast last week.

Priority had been given to the treatment of wastewater in the exploded chemical plant and the huge

pit the explosion generated, according to a release from the Ministry of Ecology and Environment on Friday.

The deadly blast occurred at about 2:48 pm on March 21 following a fire in a plant owned b

y Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical Co. The accident has left at least 78 dead and more than 600 injured.

Alkali had been thrown into the waste water to neutralize its acidit

y so that the polluted water could flow to a nearby treatment plant via a pipeline. Otherwise, the wa

stewater would erode the pipeline, according to a working team the ministry dispatched to the site.

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Retail sales of local government bonds attract eager

Chinese local government bonds worth 1.4 billion yuan ($208.5 million) were snapped up by retail investors within a single day, after counter sales in banks we

re made available for the first time. The fundraising will help supplement a broader fiscal deficit this year, analysts said.

On Monday, individuals in China were able to purchase bonds issued by t

he Zhejiang provincial government (five-year term, 3.32 percent coupon rate) and the N

ingbo city government (three-year term, 3.04 percent coupon rate). Proceeds from the sales will be used for land purchases (300 million yuan) and shantytown renovations (1.1 billion yuan), acc

ording to a notice on the website of China Central Depository and Clearing, a clearinghouse under the central bank.

The minimum investment amount for retail investors is 100 yuan, lower than most wealth management products issu

ed by commercial banks. Previously, individual investors could only purchase bonds issued by the central government, kno

wn as treasury bonds. And before Monday, local government bonds were traded mainly in the interbank market.

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Theresa May asks EU for Brexit delayIn his press conference, Don

the President of the European Council, made it clear that the EU would only

approve a delay to the Brexit process if the House of Commons approves the Withdra

wal Agreement signed by Theresa May last year. That suggests a third “meaningful vote” must be held in Parliament next week.

another vote. Earlier this week he ruled that the government could not hold repeated votes on the same issue without substantive changes.

The government will hope that Tusk’s statement will be sufficient to satisfy Bercow’s demand.

After that, there’s the question of persuading MPs to support the deal.

Theresa May lost her first meaningful vote by a historic margin of 230 in January, and lost her second last week by 149.

May faces an uphill challenge to pass the deal a third time – 75 MPs will have to change their mind

s. The Prime Minister will hope that the looming and clear threat of no deal will force opposition MPs to support her deal.

The trouble is, there’s a small group of hardcore Brexit-supporting MPs o

n her own side who would be happy to see the UK crash out without a deal – a clean bre

ak from the EU with no complications. Quite how she persuades them to get onside is unclear.

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Highlights of news conference of the Ministry of Commerce

  Zhong Shan, Minister of Commerce; Wang Shouwen, Vice-Minister of Commerce and Deputy China Internatio

nal Trade Representative, and Vice-Minister of Commerce Qian Keming, answered questions on China’s domestic market and all-round opening-up at

a press conference during the second session of the 13th National People’s Congress on March 9, 2019.

  China’s total social consumption in 2018 reached 38.1 trillion yuan, up 9 percent ye

ar-on-year, Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan said on Saturday during a media conference.

  Consumption contributed 76.2 percent of last year’s economic growth, Zhong said.H

ope is rising for the Sino-US trade talks as both negotiation teams are trying their best to turn the consensus reac

hed between both countries’ leaders into reality, according to the Ministry of Commerce on Saturday.

  Tariff hikes do no help any parties, Wang Shouwen, vice-minister of commerce, told a press conference during the two sessions on Saturday.

  A mutually beneficial agreement between China an

d the United States will meet both countries’ interest and also the whole world’s expectation, Wang added.

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