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China-Russia synergy drives regional stability

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. The upcoming visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping 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. Relations go back to the times of the Soviet Union. When the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949, the Soviet Union was the first country in the world to recognize it, marking the beginning of diplomatic relations.

In the past seven decades, the two sides wound their way through confrontations, even bloody conflicts. Both countries have learned a lesson from history: Peace benefits both. Especially 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 had stemmed from ideological differences, others were about national interests, and yet some were caused by divergence in opinion or lack of communication. Afterward, both sides have stuck to a basic principle: cooperation on the basis of equality. When there is dispute, they sit across the table rather than pressuring each other to find a way out. In this way, tensions between Beijing and Moscow had been eased and they finally built a healthy relationship.

The way China and Russia treat each other is in sharp contrast with some big power being 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 and public sentiment were once skeptical of the BRI, but they changed their mind after doing more research and China clarifying their doubts. Through consultation and communication, Russia became aware that the BRI is conducive to the development of China and Russia, and it will also benefit a wider region surrounding the countries.

The heated discussion about the collaboration of EAEU with the BRI in recent editions of 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 country with biggest population, and the two share a long border. They are complementary in economy and thus it is normal for them to strengthen economic links. Given the cooperation in energy as an example, a stable supply of petroleum and natural gas is important for China’s rapid growth. On the other hand, by exporting energy resources, Russia 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 long-term interests of their people and the world. Besides, the two countries are stepping up people-to-people exchange, narrowing the cultural gap.

China-Russia relations and their cooperation mechanism are significant to both countries and the regional stability and development, acting as a stabilizer in a complex international situation. The new type of major country relations have 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 conflicts.

Close Kazakhstan-China ties will continue

On Sunday, Kazakhstan will hold its presidential election. This is a significant moment, not simply because a new head of state will guide the country, but because it also marks the first time in almost 30 years a new president will be elected.

The upcoming election will be the most competitive and diverse in the country’s history. Seven candidates have registered with the Central Election Commission, including the first female candidate Daniya Yespayeva, from the Ak Zhol party.

Kazakhstan has taken concrete steps to improve gender equality and promote women’s role in business and politics. The senate chairwoman and deputy prime minister, and the minister of education and science are women, along with a quarter of the members of Kazakhstan’s parliament.

Another aspect of the election which experts have focused on is the fairness of the process. This is understandable, as according to some organizations and analysts, the region as a whole is still developing the necessary democratic institutions and mechanisms to ensure completely fair and open elections.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev promised the election would be transparent. Kazakhstan has always welcomed observers and their constructive feedback during previous elections, and this time more than 1,000 international observers from 10 international organizations, as well as foreign countries, are expected to be in Kazakhstan for the election.

The upcoming vote is not just important to Kazakhstan, but to our neighbors and partners all over the world. As is known, Kazakhstan has been actively participating in global affairs, including, most recently, the resolution of the Syrian conflict.

Elections in Kazakhstan are also relevant for Kazakhstan-China relations.

Thanks to the joint efforts of leaders of both sides, today relations between the two countries have entered a new era of comprehensive strategic partnership.

China is one of Kazakhstan’s principal trading partners. The dynamic growth of bilateral trade is evidenced by the increase in its volume from $432 million in 1992 to $19.88 billion in 2018.

Both countries are connected by crucial international energy corridors such as the Atasu-Alashankou oil pipeline and the Kazakhstan-China gas pipeline, which has annually increased the volume of hydrocarbon supplies from Kazakhstan to China.

Thanks to joint efforts, including Kazakhstan’s “Nurly Zhol” policy and the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) beginning in 2016, sustainable growth in bilateral trade has been achieved.

Our country, being the place where the idea for BRI was first announced, supports the initiative. An auspicious direction for the mutually beneficial partnership was the opening of the Astana International Financial Center (AIFC). AIFC has embodied the best models of financial centers in New York, Singapore, London, and Dubai.

The Bank of China, the China Development Bank, the Commercial and Industrial Bank of China and the Construction Bank of China have offices at the center which proves that relations between both countries are an example of mutually beneficial and effective cooperation.

At the same time, cultural and humanitarian cooperation is the basis for strengthening mutual trust, friendship and good-neighborliness.

Within the BRI framework, we work with Chinese partners to implement educational and scientific projects and have established cooperation between universities, held scientific conferences, translated books, and allocated grants.

In particular, China already has four centers on Kazakhstan in universities in Shanghai, Beijing, Dalian and Xi’an. In 2018, the Center for Economic Research of Kazakhstan opened at the Zhejiang University of Economics and Finance in Hangzhou.

In 2018, a unique exhibition Heritage of the Great Steppe: Masterpieces of Jewelry Art was held with great success within the framework of the international exhibition project Procession of the Golden Man in the Museums of the World, organized by the National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Shaanxi History Museum.

The results of the presidential election will be announced on June 16. Close ties between Kazakhstan and China will continue. There is every reason to be confident about the future and the cooperation between both countries.

Smart toilets put into service in east China

Wi-Fi, face recognition and dynamic switching between male and female toilets. A number of “smart toilets” with these intelligent facilities are in service in East China’s Jiangxi Province.

In Nanchang county, local authorities have recently launched 15 new or renovated smart toilets, each equipped with free Wi-Fi, infrared sensing equipment, environmental monitoring sensors and people flow statistical terminals.

One toilet is even a “tidal toilet” that could dynamically switch cubicles depending on the number of men and women using the toilet.

“Six cubicles can be added by adjusting the electronic doors between the male and female toilets based on the people flow,” said Tu Yanbin, director of the Nanchang City Administration Bureau.

Intelligent face recognition machines at the entrance of the toilets can “spit out” 80 cm of free toilet paper for people waiting for three seconds in the designated identification area.

The recognition machines are set up with time intervals, allowing faces to be recognized again in nine minutes for free toilet paper.

IEEE lifts ban on Huawei employees

A major science publisher lifted a restriction Monday morning on Huawei employees, who were earlier banned from reviewing papers due to US sanctions on the Chinese firm. This reversal marked a major turnaround amid a raging tech war between China and the US, analysts said.

The New York-based Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) said in a statement on Monday that it has received the requested clarification from the US Department of Commerce on the applicability of these export control restrictions to IEEE’s publication activities.

According to the new statement, employees of Huawei and its affiliates may participate as peer reviewers and editors in the IEEE’s publication process, the statement noted. And all IEEE members, regardless of employer, can continue to participate in all of the activities of the IEEE.

The China Computer Federation (CCF), a major computer research body, welcomed the IEEE’s latest move. It said in a statement on Monday that it hopes the US association maintains academic neutrality and treat members equally.

CCF said it will resume cooperation with IEEE and its affiliates. It cut ties on Thursday with IEEE after the latter issued a ban on Huawei employees from peer review.

Under tremendous pressure from the public, IEEE changed its rhetoric, explaining that its initial more restrictive approach was to protect their members from legal risks, and now the risks have been addressed with clarification from authorities.

“In this battle, Huawei and Chinese academics are safeguarding the international standards and shared values of the science world, and the Chinese side has gained a victory,” Mei Xinyu, a veteran analyst close to the Ministry of Commerce, told the Global Times on Monday.

The global science and tech community cannot ignore the rise of Chinese scholars, especially after they have been contributing more to global scientific research, the analyst noted.

China has clarified its stance amid the escalating trade war with the US, which has already become a tech war.

For instance, the Ministry of Commerce announced on Friday it will soon release a non-reliable entity list, which will include foreign entities, individuals and companies that block and shut the supply chain or take discriminatory measures for non-commercial reasons.

“It’s also likely that IEEE is afraid of being included on the list,” Mei said.

Huawei did not comment when contacted by the Global Times on Monday.

The incident also showed the difference between IEEE and its affiliate Communications Society (ComSoc), as ComSoc was the one that rushed into a decision to restrict Huawei following the US ban, a source close to the matter, who preferred not to be named, told the Global Times on Monday.

“IEEE recognizes the importance of China’s contribution to scientific research and cooperation, so it timely adjusted its stance to play down the impact of ComSoc’s aggressive tone,” the source said.

Russia-China trade, technological cooperation enjoys sound momentum: minister

There will be a rosy future for trade and technological cooperation between Russia and China, Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov has said.

In the face of global market volatility and rising protectionism, one of the most important tasks for Russia and China is to increase the stability of their trade and economic relations, Manturov told Xinhua in a recent interview.

China remained Russia’s top trading partner and their two-way trade hit a record high of over 100 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, he said.

Bilateral trade continued to grow in the first quarter of this year, he said, expecting further growth in Russian exports of agricultural products and foodstuffs to China.

The industrial and technological cooperation is multifaceted and the partnership in civil aviation, including the joint development of the wide-body long-haul airliner CR929, is an important aspect, said Manturov.

The CR929 program is at the design stage, when the main tasks are to select suppliers of systems and equipment and conclude agreements of intent with them, he said, adding that the prospective airliner will be “absolutely competitive” in the global market.

In addition to civil aviation, Manturov also sees “considerable prospects” in expanding partnership in the fields of medicine development and production, robotics as well as radio electronics.

There is still potential for cooperation in such traditional sectors as agriculture, food industry, timber industry, engineering, consumer goods production, metal, and construction materials, he added.

“It should be noted that the comprehensive development of strategic cooperation between Russia and China corresponds to the interests of both countries,” Manturov said.

Tourism enters fast lane at Beibu Gulf in southern China

Chen Qicai, the Party secretary of Tanxi Village, is extremely busy during weekends and holidays as he and his fellow villagers have to receive tourists who come to visit the beaches of the Beibu Gulf.

Chen lives in Tanxi village on the coast of Beibu Gulf in southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

“The village remained undeveloped for a long time and more than 2,800 villagers lived by fishing,” Tan said.

Construction of the Bailang (White Wave) Beach in this village began in the 1990s and now it has become a 4A-level scenic spot.

“We have seen an increasing number of visitors as tourist infrastructure has developed. The number of visitors to Bailang Beach grows by 15 percent annually,” he said.

Besides Bailang Beach, more than 20 scenic spots have sprung up around Beibu Gulf, where efforts are underway to transform it into an international tourist resort.

Last year, six cities around the gulf, including Fangchenggang, Qinzhou, and Beihai, received 324 million tourists, up 28.1 percent year on year. Total spending reached 344 billion yuan (around 49.9 billion US dollars), up 33.2 percent year on year.

“The outstanding ecological advantage helps this region stand out as an international destination,” said Luo Zhen, a vice mayor of Fangchenggang.

Several years ago, the construction of a large shipyard was planned at the Sanniang Gulf in Qinzhou. The plan was later dropped to protect the habitat of Chinese white dolphins.

According to the long-term observation and calculation by Pan Wenshi, a professor from the School of Life Sciences under Peking University, the number of Chinese white dolphins was on the rise from 2013 to 2016, increasing by four to six dolphins per year.

Environmental protection efforts in Qinzhou have paid off. The number of tourists and total tourism consumption in the city have more than doubled in the last three years.

The neighboring city of Beihai has also taken measures to conserve the coastal environment. At Yin Tan, or the Silver Beach, authorities have expanded planting trees and issued a special regulation on the protection of the beach.

“Construction of non-public welfare permanent buildings within 300 meters from the coast is strictly prohibited. Land reclamation, enclosure of beaches and mangroves are also not allowed,” said Han Yunfei, deputy director of Beihai Tourism, Culture and Sports Bureau.

According to local authorities, a cruise terminal with a capacity of 100,000 tonnes is under construction in Beihai to further boost the tourism sector.

US-India trade war is more myth than realityUS President Trump seems busy opening multiple war fronts as he moves closer to the 2020 presidential election while hoping to cash in on his brand of virulent jingoism that has kept him in the eye of a storm of global contention.

President Trump ended preferential trade treatment for NATO-ally Turkey effective May 17 and threatened a 5 percent tariff on goods from NAFTA-partner Mexico starting June 10. India is the latest addition to Trump’s list of nations targeted for his “maximum pressure” strategy.

Does this mean India will forever lose its designation as a beneficiary developing nation?

Prima facie, the increasingly aggressive approach of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has just returned to power with a larger mandate than his historic victory in 2014, could turn Trump’s move into a red-line violation. The response could be goaded by Modi’s ambitious “Make in India” vision and his dreams of India becoming a $5 trillion economy during his second term.

There are reasons why any US-India trade war would be symbolic rather than substantive with any systemic implications. First, compared to the US annual imports of $558 billion from China, its imports from India stand at over $83 billion.

This hardly makes a US-India trade war transformative, and it could avoid global headlines. Moreover, Trump’s decision on US imports from India would involve no more than $5 billion compared to its $83.2 billion in global imports that qualify for US tariff-exemptions.

India has chosen a strategy of asymmetric accommodation rather than confrontation, with visible dividends. Purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems last year by India is just one example. The US didn’t slap sanctions on India due to the military deal. India is also a major defense partner that has ordered over $15 billion in US weapons systems in the last 10 years. As a result of India’s diplomacy, Modi remains one of the few world leaders having escaped Trump’s fiery tirades, tweets, and temper.

The first day of Modi’s second term began with an accusation from the US that India had yet to give it “equitable and reasonable access to its markets.” But this was again a modest expression of Trump’s displeasure that merely justified stripping India of the exemption that had allowed an extended one year period for select nations when Trump announced wide-ranging tariffs.

In addition to the increased tariffs on steel and aluminum, pulling the exemption will impact Indian exports like jewelry, textiles, washing machines, auto parts, agriculture products, and even solar panels.

In maintaining its accommodating tone, the first response from the Modi government described the move as “unfortunate,” accepting it as the result of failed negotiations. India’s “development imperatives and concerns” were also cited as its “people also aspire better standards of living,” making it difficult to comply with US demands.

By creating space for US concessions, India announced it would impose tariffs worth $240 million on US almonds, apples, and metal products, but has postponed doing so on multiple occasions.

At the same time, India has quietly resisted increasing US pressure to open markets for their dairy products, medical devices, and other goods, while raising tariffs on premium products like Harley Davidson motorcycles.

The key to the emerging trajectories of US-India trade tensions is rooted in their emerging geopolitical irritations. The US has not been appreciative of India’s assertions of “strategic autonomy” especially when it comes to regime change strategies using stifling sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, India’s third and fourth largest suppliers.

The first two years of the Trump administration saw him positioning India at the center of his South Asia policy and his “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” rhetoric.

Last year, Modi began propagating the inclusion of China and Russia within the Indo-Pacific discourse and ensuring the Quad (US, Japan, Australia, India) would not be allowed to “militarize” or become an “exclusive” club of anti-China powers.

It is within this framework that India’s changing regulations and its proposed Personal Data Protection Bill 2018 have not found favor with US e-commerce companies like Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart Group.

As Trump will be distracted or restrained during next year’s US presidential race, this piecemeal simmering of US-India tension will not likely experience any tremors.

Cherishing stability

Safety and stability are normal in China, but for some other countries, safety and stability are not that easy to achieve.

Stability is the most fundamental condition for a country to develop and improve itself, and this kind of thinking is shared by many Chinese youth.

“When the country [China] makes achievements, we feel proud and happy; when it makes mistakes, we also want to help it to correct them. But the most important thing is stability,” said Tang.

“I haven’t experienced the period of instability or chaos, but I know nobody wants to see that happen, so for young people like us, we just focus on our own jobs and don’t make trouble for the country,” he said.

Gao said that “looking at countries like Syria, Ukraine and Libya, you will understand how important stability is. The youths of those countries once gave up stability and thought the West could help them solve their problems, but the fact is they have continued to suffer from internal conflicts.”

Zhang Weiwei, 61, director of the China Institute at Fudan University, told the Global Times that if the Chinese leaders at that time did not made tough decisions to safeguard the stability of the country 30 years ago, “China would have followed the way of the Soviet Union and collapsed,” and China wouldn’t have the development and achievements it has gained in the past three decades.

Optimism in the future

Stability will normally be damaged by unemployment. Due to the slowing economic growth, China is also facing the serious pressure of unemployment.

Data from the Ministry of Education shows that in 2018, the labor force increased by more than 15 million, and 8.2 million of them were college graduates.

The most profitable industries like finance and real estate have reduced recruitment, but many young people are still optimistic. Fortunately, Chinese society was able to control the pressure.

Wu Fei, 23, a deliveryman at a major Chinese logistics company who works in Beijing, has a big plan. Wu is from a village in Northeast China’s Liaoning Province, and he started his job in October 2018 and can earn about 12,000 yuan ($1,739) a month, which is higher than the average income in Beijing of 7,800 yuan. But he needs to work more than 10 hours a day, sometimes even 12 hours.

He wants to invite more fellow villagers to join him so he can soon become a team leader.

Major Chinese cities like Beijing have a huge demand for deliverymen like Wu due to the fast-growing logistics industry fueled by the development of e-commerce in China.

Sherry Shi, 23, who recently graduated from a Beijing-based university, said she is not rushing to get a job since the economic situation is not very good.

“Applying for a master’s degree overseas is in my plan. After I finish my studies, the trade war with the US and tough economic situation will probably end, and the Chinese economy will continue to grow, and I will probably have even more opportunities,” she said.

There are millions of young people like Shi and Wu. They feel the pressure and understand the reality, but they are also working hard and remain optimistic in the future, in themselves, and in the Party which is responsible for leading and protecting the country’s development.

The travel alert is among the raft of strong warnings and countermeasures China has issued to fight back against the US clampdown on China.

It comes one day after China’s Ministry of Education issued an alert over studying in the US. It called on students and academics to “enhance their risk assessment” after an increase in visa delays and denials for those who have applied to study in the US.

When asked what signal the series of warnings is sending, Geng Shuang, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a routine briefing on Tuesday that it was forced by circumstances.

“China wouldn’t do it if it were not necessary,” Geng said.

Issuing the warning is what a responsible government should do under such circumstances, Geng stressed.

China is still positive in its attitude toward normal people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, but these exchanges should be based on mutual respect, Geng said.

Most Chinese people go to the US for study or leisure, and they had brought the US resources and benefits. The US setting obstacles for them shows the country’s ignorance and is destroying its reputation as a country that welcomes openness, Wang Yiwei, a professor at the Renmin University of China’s School of International Relations, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Judging from recent US actions, it aims to cut off as many possible connections with China as it can, which leaves China with no choice but to fight back with countermeasures to protect its national security, companies and citizens, Wang said.

For about a year and a half, China has conducted 11 rounds of high-level trade talks with the US, based on the principle of mutual trust and reciprocity, hoping to achieve positive results. However, the US has been flip-flopping all along by raising tariffs.

China’s approach has always been principled and it has been forced to fight back.

“But we made our attitude clear at the very beginning that we are not afraid to fight. We will fight with every card we have if necessary,” Bai said.

The warnings from China’s cultural and education authorities came days after the Ministry of Commerce announced it would draft an entity list to counter US companies’ restrictive measures on either their Chinese partners or competitors that are made out of non-commercial purposes.

The countermeasures do not mean that China will become a stingy country as the US has. On the contrary, China will continue its policy of opening-up. “While the door in the US is closed, our door remains open,” said Wang.

Technological security management list system is a move to counter US suppression

China’s National Development and Reform Commission is mulling over establishing a national technological security management list system, Xinhua reported. The detailed measures will be unveiled in the near future.

This plan is clearly related to the recent announcement by the Ministry of Commerce of a non-reliable entity list. It not only is an initiative for China to strengthen its long-term institutional construction of economic security, but also has practical significance for countering the US technical restrictions and supply cut-off to some Chinese high-tech enterprises.

Although details have not yet been released, the act can be expected to protect Chinese high-tech enterprises and will provide the legal basis for technology exports management. Since 2018, the US has repeatedly drawn on its domestic law to exert pressure on Chinese high-tech enterprises. China’s countermeasures against the US require more legal weapons.

China has some relevant laws and regulations, such as the National Security Law, but the enforcement was relatively weak in the past. Establishing a national technological security management list system not only helps refine relevant regulations, but also strengthens the implementation.

The industrial structure of today’s world is a complex supply chain system. The US does control high-end technology in many fields, but China is the world’s largest manufacturing base, which has mastered and innovated various practical technologies. The global supply chain cannot operate without China. China is capable of impacting the US supply chain through certain technical controls.

China recently indicated a probable cut-off of rare-earth products to the US. Although the US may take various measures to alleviate such a shock, it will be messy. China not only is the world’s largest producer and exporter of rare earths, but also masters rare-earth refining technology ahead of the world.

The US claims that some foreign-funded enterprises will leave China and move to Southeast Asian countries, an oversimplified view. Making Southeast Asian countries the US barrier to contain China is against the will of those countries. It is not only technically difficult, but will never be allowed by China. China has the sufficient capacity and means to upset such plan of the US. China will establish a non-reliable entity list and a national technological security management list system, but China will not abuse them to arbitrarily suppress cooperative foreign companies. China cherishes the environment provided by reform and opening-up and protects the interests of all enterprises cooperating normally with China. China’s newly established mechanisms will be strictly limited to safeguarding China’s national security. Only foreign companies that have harmed China’s high-tech enterprise security and national security by actual actions will be the targets.

Some may think that such regulations create ambiguity and leave space for “selective law enforcement.” There are vague areas in all regulations, and any country’s judicial machine can selectively enforce laws. But has China “selectively” punished a single foreign company in all these years? It is the US that has been providing the most obvious examples of unfair and selective law enforcement.

It has been observed that US judicial tools are arbitrarily used to maintain its global hegemony and implement various long-arm jurisdictions. The US national security and hegemony are equated. China has neither such ambitions nor the willingness to abuse long-arm jurisdiction. China’s national security is in line with the understanding of all countries. The world should now guard against the US, the country which recklessly disrupts the global supply chain, rather than China, which has to adopt strategic defenses and carry out some key counterattacks.