Washington alleged that INF failed because Moscow did not

ply with INF and Beijing was not bound by the treaty. These were its main excuses for the withdrawal.

Germany believes that the more countries involved in INF, the better. However, ma

ny European countries can never understand the security risks and the urgency to strengthen national defense in other regions.

The INF Treaty was signed by the US and the Soviet Union. It was a compromise bet

ween the two superpowers with the same level of military power to ease their confrontations.

Although China is now much stronger than it was in the past, its nuclear power and compreh

ensive military strength are far from being equal to those of the US and conducting negotiations on an equal footing.

The Europeans are clear that the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty is part of its America First agenda and an abandonment of its international obligations.

At the Munich security conference, Merkel and European countries criticized recent US security policies. But on the issue of the

INF treaty, Merkel snubbed China to serve US interests, reflecting the selfishness of Germans and some Europeans.

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ending by banks surges in Januaryasures fend off nega

hina’s credit growth surged unexpectedly to a record pace in January, strengthening production in the real econo

my and easing overall downward pressure, People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, said on Friday.

Bank lending in domestic currency increased by 3.23 trillion yuan ($476.8 billion) last month, the fastest single-month growth

since the figure was first tracked in 1992. It increased by 2.9 trillion yuan in January 2018, the bank said.

Total social financing, a broader measure comprising all money the real economy receives from the fi

nancial sector, including off-balance-sheet financing activities, rose by 4.64 trillion yuan in Ja

nuary, which was also the fastest monthly growth ever, according to the central bank.

The month’s rapid credit growth was a result of a series of precauti

onary measures to ease the negative effects of slowing domestic demand and external h

eadwinds, according to Sun Guofeng, head of the bank’s monetary policy department, at a news conference.

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Hopefully, the discussions over the past three month

hs have helped both sides to better understand each other’s concerns and fostered greater mutual trust.

That the feel-good atmosphere that has prevailed since the January discussions in Washington has been mai

ntained by this round of talks was evident as the negotiations are to continue in the US capital next week. This welcome dev

elopment was confirmed by Xi, who said he hoped the discussions would carry forward the positive momentum as i

t conformed to the interests of both countries to strengthen their cooperation.

Although it is probably too hasty to interpret from this that a deal is imminent given s

ome of the US demands, it is to be hoped that the just-concluded negotiations have laid the groundwork for

next week’s discussions to establish a framework for a resolution to the trade dispute, so that a meeting between Xi and T

rump, which is regarded as necessary to finalize any deal, can be scheduled for this purpose as soon as possible.

New progress on the outstanding difficult issues is imperative as the trade frictions have not been good for either country, despite claims to the contrary.

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Lai Xiaomin charged with bribery, corruption and bigamy

ai Xiaomin, former China Huarong Asset Management board chairman, has been charged with bribery, corruption and bigamy, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate said on Friday.

China Huarong is one of the country’s four largest State-own asset management companies.

It is alleged that Lai exploited various professional positions, including head of the Huarong

corporation and director-general of the banking supervision department of the People’s Bank of China.

While in these positions, it is claimed that he asked for and received significant benefits in exc

hange for “aid”, according to a press release from the SPP, the country’s top prosecuting authority.

It also alleged that Lai was in illegal possession of a large number of public properties, a

nd that he was living as husband and wife with a woman other than his wife, the release said.

Lai, 56, was placed under investigation by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) o

f the Communist Party of China in April last year for “serious violations of disciplinary rules

and laws”, and was expelled from the Party and removed from public office six months later.

The CCDI said he violated political disciplines and State financial policies to blindly expand the c

ompany and operate it in a disorderly manner, resulting in it deviating from its primary tasks and business.

Lai, a Jiangxi province native, started his career at the People’s Bank of China in July 1983, and went on

to hold key positions at the China Banking Regulatory Commission and Beijing Banking Regulatory Bureau.

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Qomolangma reserve bans ordinary tourists in core zone

Mount Qomolangma National Nature Reserve in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region has ban

ned ordinary tourists from entering its core zone to better conserve the environment of the world’s highest mountain.

But for travelers who have a climbing permit, the mountai

neering activities will not be affected, according to the reserve which was set up in 1988.

Covering an area of around 33,800 square km including a 10,312-square km co

re zone, the reserve is home to one of the world’s most vulnerable ecosystems.

Recently, a report went viral online claiming the Qo

molangma base camp was “permanently closed due to heavy pollution.” But local authorities denied the claim.

Kelsang, deputy director with the reserve’s admin

istration, said ordinary tourists are banned from areas above Rongpo Mo

nastery, around 5,000 meters above sea level. A new tent camp will be set up nearly two km away from the original one.

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Most US media outlets have congratulated China for landi

ing a probe on the far side of the moon. For instance, Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator, took

to Twitter to describe the mission as “a first for humanity and an impressive accomplishment”. China, on it

s part, said that scientists from the two communicated closely before and during the Chang’e-4 launch process.

While the US side informed Chinese scientists about its satellites in orbit around the moon, Chi

na shared with the US scientists the longitude, latitude and timing of Chang’e-4’s landing. The int

eraction was in sharp contrast to the tense relations between the two sides in other areas of science and technology. W

hich means there is huge room for cooperation between the US and China in space exploration.

Cooperation more important in spaceina have both made great progress in

Although the US and Ch space technologies, they are still in the primitive sta

ge of developing and using space. As of today, neither country is capable of building a new permanent sta

tion in space, let alone building one on the moon. But through cooperation and collaboration, which will reduce the cost of

space development for both countries, the US and China can aim at more ambitious targets.

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Holiday week spending over 1 trillion yuannd day of the Chin

Chinese consumers opened their wallet during Spring Festival, not only on things like digital home appliances and importe

d fresh food but also on experiences such as travel and entertainment, government figures showed.

Shopping, dining out, travel and entertainment accounted for most of the consumer spending during the week-long hol

iday. Analysts and officials said the strong domestic demand will inject further growth momentum into the eco

nomy in 2019 as the government unveils more policies to spur consumption.

Spending on retail and food services during the Spring Festival period, from Feb 4 to Sunday this year, exceeded 1 trilli

on yuan ($147.41 billion) for the first time, up 8.5 percent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

The ministry said a key term for Lunar New Year holiday spending was “seeking higher quality” as the government’s em

phasis on upgrading consumption continues. Emerging areas for spending such as the internet, customized pr

oducts, experiences, digital products and services were growth areas during the holiday.

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South Korea began paying for the U.S. military deplo

the early 1990s, after rebuilding its economy from the devastation of the 1950-1953 Korean War.

About 20 anti-U.S. activists rallied near the Foreign Ministry building in Seoul on Su

nday, chanting slogans like “No more money for U.S. troops.” No violence was reported.

“The United States government realizes that Korea does a lot for our alliance and peace an

d stability in the region,” chief U.S. negotiator Timothy Betts said Sunday in Seoul. “We are very pleased ou

r consultations resulted in agreement that will strengthen transparency and deepen our cooperation and the alliance.”

The deal, which involves the spending of South Korean taxpayer money, requires parliam

entary approval in South Korea, but not in the United States, according to Seoul’s Foreign Ministry.

The allies had failed to reach a new cost-sharing plan during some 10 rounds of tal

ks. A five-year 2014 deal that covered South Korea’s payment last year expired at the end of 2018.

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The second opportunity is China’s reform. He said reform

has been and will continue to be a key driver of China’s economic growth. In 2018, corporate and individual tax cuts to

taled 1.3 trillion yuan, and industrial profit increased by 11.8 percent, compared with the previous year.

“As reform deepens in all areas, including sweeping fiscal and tax reform and stren

gthening of IPR protection, China will create more opportunities for the world,” he said.

China’s opening-up is the third opportunity. Liu said despite the steep drop in glo

bal FDI, foreign investment flowing into China totaled $135 billion, which was up by 3 percent last year.

The country is also lifting the restrictions on foreign ownership in joint-venture companie

s in sectors including banking, insurance, securities, auto manufacturing, and shipbuilding.

Moreover, as the Chinese people have an increasing appetite for overseas products, the country is moving from being a global seller to a global buyer.

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ope Japan-China relations will make further progress in the

New Year. And I wish our friends success and progress,” he said.

In a video message on the occasion of the Lunar New Year, United Nations Se

cretary-General Antonio Guterres thanked China and the Chinese people for

their commitment to the UN and called for efforts to build a peaceful and prosperous world.

“I’m pleased to send you my best wishes on this

auspicious occasion,” he said, adding “Happy Spring Festival” in Mandarin.

“Despite the headwinds in our world today, we know that when we work together, we get things done. In that sp

irit, I wish you and your families health, success and happiness in this new year,” he said.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan sent his best wishes to the Chinese people on the eve of the Chinese New Year.

“We are proud of the achievements of our iron brother, a good neighbor and strategic partner,” he said.

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