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nd information technology, had confirmed at the Boao Fo

oao Forum for Asia, that China will grant 5G licenses this year, but didn’t disclose a specific date.

“5G, industrial internet and the internet of vehicles are among the country’s top development priorities

in the telecommunications industry,” Zhang Feng, chief engineer of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, sa

id on Friday during the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day.

Zhang called for accelerated efforts to set standards in key areas, including 5G, to expedite the com

mercialization of this forefront technology and bolster the nation’s core competitiveness.

Major Chinese smartphone maker Huawei Technologies Co has already unveiled its first 5G chip and first 5G fold

able smartphone, the Mate X, which is expected to hit the market in June, despite challenges involving the United States.

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Now that it has reached middle-income status, China’s eco

nomic strategy will focus on creating a highly competitive domestic market that forces com

panies to produce high-value goods so they can pay high wages to highly skilled people.

Because of its long experience in manufacturing, much of tha

t push will be focused on higher value-added production, using the new technologies of r

obotics, artificial intelligence, the internet of things and 5G. This is the only way to avoid the middle-income trap.

The reform and opening-up policies are exactly the kinds of market-driven reforms

needed to make this happen. The Chinese government is investing heavily in research and development, but it sho

uld be noted that the R&D spending as a percentage of GDP is still lower than that of the US.

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The meeting on Sunday decided on further steps to

 identify unwarranted certification items for abolition and list all certification items deemed ne

cessary. At the same time, work to establish a pre-commitment qualification system will be intensified.

“The reform of the qualification system is part and parcel of our efforts to build a credit-based society. Without a fully fledg

ed credit-based society, our business environment will not see significant improvements,” Li said.

It was decided at the meeting that the practice of pre-commitment of qualification will be piloted in 13 pro

vinces and municipalities, including Tianjin, Liaoning, Shanghai, Guangdong, Sichuan and Shaanxi, and in five mi

nistries-the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Justice, the Minist

ry of Human Resources and Social Security, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Transport.

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She added that Nepal sticks to the one-China policy an

 and will not allow any forces to use its territory to conduct any anti-China activities.

The two leaders witnessed the signing of bilateral cooperation documents after the meeting.

hinese tech giant Huawei reported a 149 percent rise in research and development spendin

g from 2014 to 2018, faster than its counterparts Apple and Samsung, according to a Bloomberg report released last Friday.

The company’s R&D expenditure increase was just behind Amazon, which rose 210 percent during the 5-year period.

China is now Nepal’s biggest source of foreign investment

, second-largest trade partner and second-largest source of foreign tourists.

Ahead of the First Belt and Road Forum for International Coopera

tion, China and Nepal signed a memorandum on Belt and Road cooperation in May 2017.

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Pledges at forum draw overseas experts’ praise

The international community has hailed President Xi Jinping’s call on Friday to ease market

access for foreign capital and increase imports so that opening-up reaches a higher level.

Xi said in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the S

econd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing that the purpose of buil

ding the Belt and Road is to achieve win-win cooperation and common development.

China will increase its imports of goods and services and will further lower its tariff rates, Xi said.

Francis Chua, chairman emeritus of the Philippine Chamber of Commer

ce and Industry, noted Xi’s emphasis on quality imports and state-of-the-art products.

“China will keep its commitments,” said Chua, who was attending the forum as a member of the Philippine business delegation.

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Govt plans slew of policies to boost consumption

A slew of new policies aimed at encouraging consumption

in key sectors will be unveiled soon, China Securities Journal reported.

China’s retail sales of consumer goods rose 8.3 pe

rcent year-on-year to 9.78 trillion yuan ($1.46 trillion) in the January-M

arch period, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). In March alone, retail sales went up 8.7 pe

rcent to 3.17 trillion yuan, quickening from the 8.2-percent rise seen in the first two months.

In recent years, the government has, on the one hand, frequently intro

duced policies to promote opening-up, increase import and improve consumer welfare. On

the other hand, it has reduced and scrapped import tariffs on some consumer goo

ds. This has played an active role in consumption, Lian Ping, chief economist at Bank of Comm

unication said, adding that consumption still is the key driver for economic growth.

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A large number of Chinese cultural heritage sites are b

eing restored as well. We have no room for even the slightest error,” Song said.

Liu Qingzhu, a cultural heritage expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said, “In anci

ent times, thunderstorms were the biggest threats for wooden architecture. They became much safer after l

ighting rods were widely installed. However, the use of electricity in restorations has created a new problem.”

Unlike the stone structures of much ancient architecture in the W

est, wood was the primary building material in ancient China. “If a fire similar to the one at Notre

Dame in Paris happened at a Chinese building, the whole building would probably burn down,” Liu said.

Hours after the fire in Paris, the Palace Museum in

Beijing, China’s former imperial palace from 1420 to 1911 and also known as the Forbidden City, held an eme

rgency meeting to go over its fire-prevention efforts. It is the world’s biggest architectural complex made of wood.

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Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the State Council’s Taiw

wan Affairs Office, said in a statement on Tuesday that the exercise aimed to protect national sover

eignty and territorial integrity, as well as protect the common interests of people from both sides of the straits.

Taiwan’s administration, led by the Democratic Progressive Party, used the drill as an opport

unity to “deceive and mislead the residents of Taiwan and to provoke and escalate a cross-Straits confrontation,” Ma said.

“Its goal of undermining cross-Straits relations and the peace and security of the region will not succeed,” Ma said. “Nobo

dy should underestimate our adamant resolve and ability to protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

On Tuesday, Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen said she will not be intimidated by the military d

rill, calling the exercise “a threat to Taiwan” and an act of “coercion”, the island’s media reported.

Tsai also thanked the United States for considering a deal with Taiwan to renew a $500

million training program in the US for Taiwan F-16 pilots and maintenance crews.

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He noted that since the first Belt and Road Forum for

 International Cooperation two years ago, more countries and inter

national organizations have joined in the construction of the Belt and Road.

So far, 125 countries and 29 international organiz

ations have signed BRI cooperation documents with China, according to Lu.

Among them are 16 Central and Eastern European countries and Gr

eece. Italy and Luxembourg signed cooperation agreements with China last month to join

tly build the Belt and Road. Jamaica also signed similar agreements on Thursday.

During Premier Li Keqiang’s European visit last week, both sides agreed to seek greate

r synergy between the BRI and the European Union’s strategy for connecting with Asia.

Yang Jiechi, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Comm

unist Party of China Central Committee, said last month that representatives of more than 100 coun

tries, including about 40 foreign leaders, have confirmed their attendance at the Beijing forum.

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Urgency rises for tackling hazardous wastesipate after

The deadly blast at a chemical plant in Jiangsu province last month that left 78 dead clearly hig

hlights the urgent need to properly handle hazardous waste management in the country.

As central authorities tighten management by revising laws and issuing detailed

policies to support hazardous waste treatment, experts are calling for mandating

that facilities to process such waste be built in all chemical industry parks nationwide.

The explosion occurred on March 21 in Xiangshui county, Yanch

eng, at a Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical Co Ltd plant. The accident also injured more than 600.

The State Council, China’s Cabinet, set up an investigation

group and the probe into the cause of the blast is ongoing.

Multiple sources have suggested that the casual handling of hazard

ous chemical waste produced by the company could be a cause of the deadly blast.

China Chemical Industry News reported that the blast originated at

the company’s hazardous waste storage facility, citing a source close to the investigation group.

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