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China-Russia synergy drives regional stability and development

China-Russia relations are cordial in all respects. The comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination between the two countries runs deep and has made substantial progress in recent years. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia will further consolidate the friendship between the neighbors.

By finding a proper way to get along, China and Russia have kept a stable and mature relationship, which has become a model for major countries. This year marks the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two nations. These relations go back to the times of the Soviet Union, the first country in the world to recognize the People’s Republic of China after it was founded in 1949.

Over the past seven decades, the two sides have wound their way through confrontations, even bloody conflicts. Both countries have learned a lesson from history: Peace benefits both sides.

This is especially true today. Amid an overdose of hegemonism and unilateralism, stable and mature ties between Beijing and Moscow are strategically important to world peace, contemporary development, multilateralism and globalization.

Some disputes between China and Russia stemmed from ideological differences, others were about national interests, and yet some were caused by divergence in opinion or lack of communication.

However, both sides have stuck to a basic principle: cooperation on the basis of equality.

When disputes occurred, they sat across the table rather than pressuring each other to find a way out. In this way, tensions between Beijing and Moscow were eased and a healthy relationship was formed.

The way China and Russia treat each other is in sharp contrast with the methods of certain big powers fond of unilateralism and using hegemony to settle scores with other countries.

On May 29, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov said at the fifth China-Russia Think Tank Forum in Moscow that based on current cooperation, China and Russia will further promote the integration of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) within the framework of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Some Russian scholars were once skeptical of the BRI, but they changed their mind after doing more research and China clarified their doubts. Through consultation and communication, Russia began to understand that the BRI is conducive to the development of China and Russia, and will also benefit the wider region surrounding the countries.

The heated discussion about the collaboration of EAEU with the BRI in recent editions of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum was the result of Russia changing its approach, which has manifested itself in mature Beijing-Moscow relations.

Both China and Russia are developing. Russia is the largest country in the world in terms of land area, China is the most populated, and the two share a long border. They are complementary in terms of the economy and thus it is only natural for them to strengthen economic links. Take cooperation in the energy sector as an example. A stable supply of petroleum and natural gas is important for China’s rapid growth, while Russia, by exporting energy resources, can earn foreign currency to boost development. The trade volume between China and Russia in 2018 reached $100 billion, the highest in history.

The political, diplomatic, economic and military cooperation between China and Russia are consistent with the long-term interests of their people and the world. Additionally, the two countries are stepping up people-to-people exchanges, thus further narrowing the cultural gap.

China-Russia relations and their cooperation mechanism are significant to both countries and regional stability and development. This new type of major country relations has been demonstrated under the framework of the BRI.

It is quite normal to have doubts and contradictions in global exchanges. Many problems can be properly dealt with through peaceful consultation and mutual understanding rather than suspicion and conflict.

US to blame for its own unpopularity

The Chinese government on Tuesday issued a travel alert for Chinese tourists traveling to the US. The day before, authorities warned of the risks of applying to study in the US.

Travel and study are the most common reasons for ordinary Chinese to go to the US. The security warning and alert issued by the Chinese government on two consecutive days show the adverse changes around the security situation of Chinese nationals to the US.

In addition to security threats including mass shootings, US law enforcement agency personnel have also conducted exit and entry interrogations and other harassment against Chinese citizens. Such acts have greatly soured Chinese people’s desire to travel to the US. The Chinese government is behaving responsibly to its people by issuing the travel alerts.

US society has left the impression that it is becoming unfriendly to the Chinese people. The US views China as its biggest threat and believes all Chinese people going to the US are gathering intelligence for the government and stealing US technologies. Washington attaches no value to the advancements that the Chinese people bring to the different sectors of the US or the consumption promoted by Chinese. It just wants to decouple from China.

Whether Chinese travelers or students, they should be treated as guests and enjoy high-quality services. But Chinese people find it difficult to accept the fact that they are being taken as thieves.

The US boasts too much superiority and has been indulged by the world. Due to its short history, it lacks understanding of and respect for the rules of countries and laws of the market. The Americans of the early generations accumulated prosperity and prestige for the US, while the current US administration behaves like a wastrel generation by ruining the world’s respect for the US.

Since the West’s monopoly of modernization was broken, all good resources have had to be redistributed. Popularity is the lifeline of how each country and major cities retain their positions at the center of the world.

However, at this juncture, the US has adopted discriminatory approaches against the Chinese people and sees them as a collective threat to its national interests, which actually adds competitiveness to other Western countries and cities.

Of course, as a superpower, the US will not be much affected by losing one or two pillar industries. But undoubtedly, the so-called national security it pursues is far from offsetting the damage the US has done by losing the interest of Chinese tourists and students.

Since ancient times, it has been easier for open-minded countries to gather high-quality regional or global resources. While China fights against the hegemonic and bullying acts of the US, it should learn its lesson. The longer the trade war goes on, the more open China will be.

China will not act rashly by closing its doors to US travel and study. Opening-up is China’s persistent policy. The destination of Chinese travelers is decided by the market, and the government’s alerts do not contradict this rule.

It is expected that Western countries will sense some opportunities from China’s warnings and the US will feel the pressure. It is Washington’s own business if it chooses to face the pressure apathetically.

China-Russia relations transcend geopolitics

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Russia Wednesday for a state visit. China and Russia agreed to upgrade their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era. This is a major event in China-Russia relations. During Xi’s trip, the two countries are expected to reach achievements in expanding mutual cooperation.

China-Russia relations have long been a hot topic in Western public opinion. Certain Western media analyzed this visit in the context of the China-US trade war, claiming that Beijing and Moscow intend to join forces against the US.

However, not long ago when US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Western media outlets were suggesting a marked improvement in US-Russia relations and the possibility of it driving a wedge between China and Russia.

Such perspectives on China-Russia relations are somewhat biased. The reality is that internal motivations for improving China-Russia relations are increasingly strong, and already far exceed any influences from the external situation.

Objectively, China-Russia ties have gone far beyond the impact of the triangle effect in the conventional sense. In other words, regardless of the state of China-US relations or US-Russia relations, China-Russia relations will continue to grow closer.

The improving strategic partnership between China and Russia has already brought comprehensive benefits to both countries and has become a common strategic asset. China and Russia are two huge neighboring nations. Close cooperation has replaced tensions over defense and is of essential importance to both countries, becoming a strategic benefit shared by both sides.

This relationship also strengthens their respective status on the international stage and provides basic support for the diplomacy of both countries. These are not short-term diplomatic conditions, but have already been normalized for the two countries.

With growing China-Russia economic cooperation and personnel exchanges, the chances of disputes at the grassroots level are increasing simultaneously. For example, there has been controversy over a Chinese-funded bottling plant near Lake Baikal, China’s agricultural companies renting land in Russia’s Far East, and Russia’s management of Chinese vendors.

However, due to the strong strategic relationship between China and Russia, these disputes were based on specific cases, and did not ignite fierce nationalist sentiment.

China and Russia have a similar strategic understanding of the world, share many common interests and are complementary to each other. Thus there is much room to expand cooperation. In 2018, China-Russia trade volume surpassed $100 billion. Crude oil and natural gas pipelines connect the two countries, and the cross-border China-Russia railway bridge across the Heilongjiang River, known as the Amur River in Russia, links them both. These provide new starting points for their expanded cooperation and exchanges.

Redefined soon after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, China-Russia relations today are strong. The two large neighboring countries can resolve border disputes peacefully, consolidate strategic mutual trust, maintain the stable development of bilateral relations and forge a “partnership rather than alliance.” This is praiseworthy in the current world.

Western opinion should not always regard China-Russia relations geopolitically and ignore the most precious thing in their ties. Starting from the two leaders’ firm political will, the stable China-Russia strategic relationship today is deeply rooted in the two countries’ national interests.

Chinese police bust drug factory inside abandoned petrol station

Police from North China’s Shanxi Province have busted a drug plant hidden inside an abandoned petrol station, seizing three suspects and 2.1 tonnes of raw materials for making drugs.

In January, police from Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi, got information about a drug gang and found a suspicious deserted gas station in Loufan County. They launched raids in late March.

Investigation showed that the three suspects illegally purchased large quantities of ephedra herbs, which is a major material for producing the methamphetamine, or “ice,” from north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and made drugs in Shanxi.

Many drug manufacturing equipment and around 278 grams of methamphetamines, 2.1 tonnes of solid raw materials, and 45 tonnes of residual solvents in the manufacture of drug substances were seized on the site.

China has taken a tough stance and stepped up efforts to crack down on drug crime.

Shanxi public security authorities said Tuesday that local police had seized more than 2.5 tonnes of drugs since a three-year anti-drug campaign was launched in May 2018.

Airport warns against tossing coins in plane

A Hainan airport has found itself in the spotlight for setting up a notice board warning passengers that tossing coins in airplane engines as “illegal,” after such incidents at Chinese airports have jeopardized public security and disrupted public order.

The notice board at Sanya Phoenix International Airport in South China’s Hainan Province says in Chinese that “it is illegal to throw money into an airplane to pray for good luck.”

“Tossing coins into the plane’s engine is extremely dangerous to the airplane, which would cause an explosion in the engine,” a staff member from the airport told the Global Times on Monday, noting that they set up the notice board in hopes of stopping such dangerous behavior.

These activities will also cause flight delays and cancellations, passenger detentions at the airport and financial losses.

However, the airport is not defining such behavior as terrorism since passengers have done it spontaneously, he added.

Coin tossers have been frequently found in recent years.

The Beijing News reported 10 such cases in the first half of the year. Most of them just tossed coins in a plane’s engine for good luck.

In February, a 28-year-old man was detained seven days and charged for tossing a coin inside a plane’s engine. His action delayed the flight and cost the airline nearly 140,000 yuan ($21,000).

A senior engineer told the Beijing News that after confirming the number of coins, they usually need to open the engine and find them with a device similar to a gastroscope. Total losses can run in the millions yuan.

Some analysts believe that it reflects the conflict between superstition and modern thinking. The seriousness of this conflict lies in the fact that individual behavior driven by ignorance can easily threaten public security.

China’s Criminal Law states that whoever sabotages an aircraft to such a degree that the aircraft is in danger of being destroyed, without causing serious consequences, shall be sentenced to up to 10 years in jail.

Chinese couple seek place in history by sending names to Red Planet

When the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) offered the public an opportunity to send their names to the Red Planet with its Mars 2020 rover, more than 5.8 million people signed up in just one week.

Using an electron beam, the Microdevices Laboratory at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California will stencil the submitted names onto a silicon chip with lines of text smaller than one-thousandth the width of a human hair (75 nanometers). At that size, more than 1 million names can be written on a single dime-sized microchip. The chip will ride on the rover under a glass cover, according to the website of NASA.

With NASA’s Mars 2020 rover entering its final test phase before the spacecraft launch, a Chinese couple has participated in the drive to send their names to Mars.

Qi Binying, who is based in Sierra Madre, Southern California, had thought it was just a joke among her friends.

When she keyed in her name in the NASA registration system and generated the boarding pass for download, she felt that outer space was right in front of her, according to a report on Chinese language daily World Journal on Saturday.

Qi’s husband, Robert, an engineer with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has also registered his name in the system.

Robert said that he had received an official boarding commemorative card and will record approximately 504 million kilometers of flight miles, according to the report.

He also works on a research program for NASA searching for the original location of the Earth.

The rover is scheduled to launch as early as July 2020, with the spacecraft expected to touch down on Mars in February 2021.

Besides this campaign, NASA also rolled out an activity to collect names for NASA’s InSight spacecraft on Mars. More than 2.4 million people signed up, of whom 260,000 were from China.

The InSight spacecraft touched down safely on Mars on November 26, 2018 kicking off a two-year mission to explore the deep interior of the Red Planet.

China won’t wilt under US pressure

China on June 2 issued a white paper titled China’s Position on the China-US Economic and Trade Consultations, reverberating throughout international media and foreign entrepreneurs.

The paper has clarified the harm caused by the US-initiated trade war to the two countries and to the global economy as well, also revealed how the US poured cold water on attempts at consensus and went back on its commitments. More importantly, China has reiterated its solemn position. Many of my US friends also voiced support for China to obtain a fair and equitable consultation outcome in future trade negotiations.

The US has constantly imposed maximum pressure on China since it started the trade war. The paper listed three times when the US backtracked on trade deals, also a manifestation of US pressure. The US mistakenly anticipated that China would compromise under pressure, however, China has firmly adhered to the principle and bottom line, making such pressure in vain.

Drawing from recent statements made by organs of the Chinese government, including the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and the Ministry of Commerce, China’s export-oriented enterprises and service industries are well-prepared for the trade war with the US.

China is able to withstand US maximum pressure, due to the country’s economic resilience, and Chinese people’s resolute determination. Suffering from a century of humiliation, the Chinese nation has been accustomed to such pressure, as shown in the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, as well as the Korean War or the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea. The unity of Chinese people is a vital reason for the country’s fundamental victory in history.

Surpassing India in terms of GDP growth in the first quarter of 2019, China has regained the position of fastest-growing economy. China’s foreign trade volume reached 7.01 trillion yuan ($1.01 trillion), an increase of 3.7 percent year-on-year. Economic stabilization and the rapid advance of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative indicate that China has prepared well for its future development.

I have done some research in certain regions with developed export-oriented enterprises, including South China’s Guangdong Province, East China’s Zhejiang Province, Jiangsu Province, and Shanghai. People’s judgment of the trade situation inside these regions has cheered me up. They believe that the more pressure the US poses and the more backtracks it makes; the more moral initiative China will have. Facing the extraordinary resistance of the Chinese economy, all tricks of the US hardliners will be exhausted.

In response to future potential shocks, local entrepreneurs have prepared under government guidance. Take a Guangdong company which exports electric welding torches to the US. It is now cutting costs through internal reforms and broadening its markets to Europe and Africa. To partly reduce dependence on the US, other manufacturers including those that make clothing, suitcase and bicycles are all preparing to diversify their markets.

I noticed that young workers in these factories are upset about the US, many saying that China must fight under pressure. The US maximum pressure has made China more united.

Although China is not willing to further expand the trade war into fields of finance, technology and even geopolitics, we must be prepared. The US has repeatedly violated the multilateral mechanism based on WTO rules. Due to the influence of hard-line hawks, the US is very likely to continue the trade war.

However, after the publication of the white paper, I believe an increasing number of countries and their peoples will stand up for justice. Time, morality and victory will eventually belong to China.

Nepal not a pawn in US’ China strategy

The Anglo-Nepalese War (1814-16), which Nepal lost, resulted in large-scale land cessions in the south of Nepal to the British.

It was after occupying India that the UK gradually expanded its ambitions to Nepal, the mountainous kingdom in the Himalayas. The UK’s greater strategic goal was to pave a way to China’s Tibet and thus to grab the land ahead of Russia.

But the British army suffered strong resistance when invading Tibet. Thanks to support from the central government of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the geographical barrier formed by the Himalayas – “the roof of the world,” – and the decline of the UK’s national power, the British failed in the end to occupy Tibet.

The UK was gradually surpassed by the US after World War I ended in 1918. Soon after, the Nepal-Britain Treaty of 1923 was signed and Nepal was recognized by the UK as an independent and sovereign nation.

Nepal’s strategic position can be clearly seen from history. Today, it is particularly important because China – Nepal’s near neighbor – has kept rising as the world’s second largest economy.

This might explain the US increased focus on Nepal in its Indo-Pacific Strategy, a US initiative to broaden and deepen strategic cooperation between countries in the Indo-Pacific region. David J Ranz, acting deputy assistant secretary for the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, said on May 14 in Kathmandu that “Nepal would benefit from the Indo-Pacific Strategy,” and that the strategy would “create an economic opportunity and ensure security to the benefit of both the United States and Nepal.”

To this day, the US has not described its Indo-Pacific Strategy as an initiative to target or contain China, but neither has the US stated specific plans to drive economic growth in this region, making the strategy seem unrealistic. The only outcome the strategy has achieved might be letting the US accelerate military cooperation with relevant countries.

Is this what Nepal wants? The US is aware of the urgent needs of Nepal, a country adjacent to two major powers – China and India. But the US will never base its strategy on Nepal’s needs.

In consideration of its geopolitical role, Nepal does require a relative balance between the great powers, the most favorable external political environment for the development of this mountain country. However, with limited strength, it is difficult for Nepal to promote such balance between major powers amid today’s rapid globalization. It can only choose what it needs most.

Nepal’s public opinion is generally positive about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s victory in the re-election. They hope Modi’s policies can be continued. These policies, including increasing economic investment in Nepal and further improving relations with China, are all beneficial to Nepal.

Most importantly, China’s development has made it impossible for any force to make Nepal a pawn in strategic arrangements to counterbalance China’s influence.

China’s development has provided Nepal with the potential of benefit sharing. The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative has brought the country unprecedented opportunities by linking it to its surrounding areas and the world. Nepal will no longer be closed and poor, but will be an essential hub to connect East, South and Central Asia.

Over 200 years ago, British colonists began to march into Nepal, with China’s Tibet their next target. But the era of Western expansion starting from 500 years ago is gone forever. China’s policy of creating an amicable and prosperous neighborhood will offer people of Nepal and other South Asian countries more opportunities to improve their living standards.

Hollow claims by US on caring about Chinese human rights

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an announcement on Monday in which he accused China of “abusing human rights” and smeared China’s resolute measures to maintain national stability in the late 1980s. He also criticized China’s anti-terrorism and crime fighting measures in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The US has stepped up its attacks on China on human rights issues simply because Washington’s trade war with China is proving to be invalid. Now, the US has decided to impose more pressure on China over human rights issues.

In fact, the US has no credibility to hold the moral high ground. Its accusations are nothing but empty talk from a high-pitched speaker. Pompeo’s statements will not be echoed in Chinese society. Instead, they will reaffirm the Chinese public’s belief that the Trump administration is hostile to China, and a friendly US government to China is probably just pie in the sky.

Chinese are convinced that the US government is trying to deprive China of its continued development and gains for its own benefit. In their opinion, it is supposed to be a zero-sum relationship between the two nations. It is well recognized that the rights of Chinese are mostly rooted in sustained national stability and development. The destruction of China’s stability and development is the ultimate deprivation of the rights of Chinese. The current US government is becoming the top hijacker of Chinese human rights.

Chinese are no longer so naive as to regard the US as a haven, or an impetus, for Chinese human rights. It’s not 30 years ago. The Trump administration always threatens to “replace the labor force in China with that in the US,” or in Southeast Asia. They celebrate every sign that could be interpreted as economic downturn in China. Is that sincere compassion for Chinese human rights?

When Washington announced the start of the trade war, it didn’t care about any negative impact a trade war may have on China’s stockmarket or potential losses it may cause for Chinese shareholders. The US would rather see bigger losses on China to bring the country to its knees. The trade war launched by the US put the welfare of Chinese people at risk. Meanwhile, the same group of US politicians put on another face and made accusations about China’s human rights, as if they really care about individual rights of Chinese people.

Under the campaign of “America First,” the Trump administration has utilized its policies to eliminate the opportunity for social and economic development in many countries that will lead to the improvement of human rights. China is facing perhaps the most vicious and most hypocritical US government since its reform and opening-up.

In examining cases of China’s so-called human rights violations raised by some US politicians, it is obvious that those cases often relate to Chinese dissidents. The purpose is to stir up political division within China in order to split the country. In other words, they are advocating specific rights so that they can disrupt China without taking any responsibility.

It is well recognized that the US vigorously pursues its self-defined human rights philosophy for vicious political purposes. Chinese are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of not accepting human rights issues raised by the US and not accepting US values for obvious political purposes. The improvement of Chinese human rights hinges on China’s continued economic and social development. Chinese know where to go and how to go, and do not need “teachers” that have vicious intentions.

Mr Pompeo, if you really care about Chinese human rights, please order the US State Department to lift the newly-added visa restrictions for Chinese students. Those students have made a lot of preparations for studying abroad, which signifies an important step in their lives. Refusing their visas tramples their individual rights. Secretary Pompeo, who has the power to set visa policies, would make great contributions to Chinese rights if he could lift those visa restrictions.

In other words, the US offers its commiserations for so-called human rights violations in China, yet in actions, it has been trampling on China’s human rights for years. It is time for Mr Pompeo and his colleagues to stop the self-contradictory moves.

Chinese scientists find 5 million tons of lithium deposits in Yunnan

Chinese scientists have found a major lithium deposit in Southwest China’s Yunnan Province, estimated to contain more than 5 million tons.

There are approximately 40 million tons of proven lithium reserves in the world, the Xinhua News Agency’s Globe magazine reported.

A team led by research fellow Wen Hanjie from the Institute of Geochemistry under the Chinese Academy of Sciences found 340,000 tons of lithium oxide in a test site in central Yunnan.

They estimated the total amount of lithium to be in excess of 5 million tons. The lithium discovered is a new type in carbonate formation, the institute said on its website on Monday.

Lithium, a chemical element mainly contained in brines, pegmatite and clay, is viewed by some analysts as one of the most valuable metals in the first half of the 21st century.

The increasing reliance of the high-tech industry on lithium makes it an essential strategic resource for industrialized countries, analysts said.

The prices of lithium carbonate increased from less than 50,000 yuan ($7,236) per ton in October 2015 to 80,000 yuan per ton by the end of 2018. The value of the global lithium market is expected to rise from $60 trillion in 2017 to $100 trillion in 2025, the Globe magazine reported.

About 80 percent of lithium used in China from 2011 to 2015 was imported, Xinhua reported. The Institute of Geochemistry said on its website that it is urgently necessary for China to find new sources of lithium, as the country has abundant carbonate clay resources.