Philippines' response to evidence of ecological destruction in S.China Sea 'weak and untenable,' reflects nervousness, experts say

Following the evidences released by China that reveal the Philippine illegally grounded warship as the main cause of damage to the coral system of Ren'ai Jiao, the Philippines has chosen to ignore the facts and said that the "Chinese experts" are spreading falsehoods in a statement on Tuesday. Experts called the response "weak and untenable" as it shifted blame, deflected attention and made baseless accusations against China, showing their desperation after being caught in their destructive actions by scientific evidence.

"China has the right to conduct environmental investigations and take corresponding measures, whether it is about safeguarding territorial sovereignty or protecting the marine environment of their own country," said Ding Duo, a deputy director of the Institute of Maritime Law and Policy at the China Institute for South China Sea Studies.

Faced with China's authoritative and credible report, the Philippines is unable to defend themselves and can only resort to mudslinging, Ding said. The Philippines cannot even provide a single example in their statement of how they have safely disposed of the daily accumulation of waste and garbage from their personnel stationed on the grounded vessel on Ren'ai Jiao (also known as Ren'ai Reef) year after year.

In its statement by the Philippine National Task Force, the Philippines, however, turns the tables, laying the blame on China for building a large artificial island on Meiji Jiao (also known as Meiji Reef) that inflicts harm on the coral habitat.

"The construction of islands and reefs in the South China Sea falls within China's sovereignty and is deemed lawful, reasonable and justified. The Chinese government has emphasized that this development is not directed at any specific country, will not impede the freedom of navigation and overflight guaranteed to all nations in the South China Sea under the international law, and will not harm the marine ecological environment of the region," said Yang Xiao, a deputy director of the Institute of Maritime Strategy Studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, in an interview with the Global Times.

Furthermore, Yang highlighted that strict environmental standards and monitoring requirements are being implemented throughout the construction process, ensuring minimal impact on the marine ecosystem.

As a contracting party to a series of international treaties related to marine environmental protection, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the London Convention, and the Ramsar Convention, China has consistently adhered to the stipulations of these raccords and fulfilled its international responsibilities.

The Philippines' statement sidestepped the facts presented by China and shifted the focus to other islands in the South China Sea, Yang said. "By that logic, could China also bring up the well-known pollution issues plaguing the Philippine Islands?" Yang questioned.

Yang criticized the Philippine military's statement for lacking professionalism and appearing to be a form of cognitive warfare. He questioned how the military's actions reflected on the Philippine government, suggesting that if military authorities were issuing statements on environmental issues, it could be seen as the government being run or represented by the military.

The Philippines smeared Chinese fishermen in the statement for their harvesting of endangered sea turtles, coral and giant clams in the South China Sea.

However, China's Sansha city, which oversees the Xisha, Zhongsha, and Nansha island groups and surrounding waters, has made significant efforts to protect sea turtles in recent years. A 24-hour monitoring and protection system has been implemented on sea turtles laying eggs on the shores. Official data show that due to these conservation efforts, a total of 1,734 nests with green sea turtle eggs had been discovered in the Xisha Islands from 2017 to 2023.

During an investigation in the Philippines in late March, reporters from the Global Times found that there are illegal sales of rare species such as giant clams in the black market. Additionally, endangered humphead wrasse from the South China Sea are readily available for purchase at a fish market in Manila.

The Philippines' request for a third-party marine scientific assessment in the South China Sea, as stated in their recent statement, is misleading the public. According to Ding, under the guidance of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, China and ASEAN countries have established numerous cooperative mechanisms and made significant progress in environmental protection and conservation of biological resources in the region.

"Despite the provocative actions of the Ferdinand Marcos government in the Philippines last year, China has demonstrated patience, goodwill and proposed cooperation on fisheries, marine environmental protection and marine plastic waste management. This can be seen as a sincere and benevolent gesture towards fostering positive relations between the two countries," he noted.

Turkey does not subscribe to anti-China rhetoric, hopes to enhance economic cooperation with Beijing: Ambassador

Editor's Note:

The China-Turkey strategic cooperative relationship has witnessed a sound momentum of development under the strategic guidance of the two heads of state. As a major developing country and member of the Global South, Turkey is now actively applying for a BRICS membership. What motivates Turkey to apply for the BRICS membership and how does it view its relations with the EU? What kind of cooperation does Turkey want to conduct with China? Global Times reporter Xie Wenting (GT) interviewed Turkish Ambassador to China Dr İsmail Hakkı Musa (Musa) on these topics as well as his opinions on the "China's overcapacity" and "de-risking" rhetoric.
GT: How would you describe the current state of bilateral relations between Turkey and China? What role do relations with China play in Turkey's foreign policy?

Musa: This year we will celebrate the 53rd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and China. Our bilateral relations were elevated to the level of strategic cooperative relationship in 2010.

In recent years there has been high momentum in the bilateral relations between our countries. In 2024, the number of mutual high-level visits increased and we are working on activating a number of additional bilateral cooperation mechanisms this year.

Under the political will and guidance of our leaders, our bilateral relations are developing in all areas, such as trade and investment, renewable energy, nuclear energy, electrical vehicles, technology exchange, culture, tourism, and education.

There is a huge potential for further cooperation at both the bilateral and multilateral levels. In today's world, Turkey and China hold a similar stance in many international emergency situations. Turkey and China are two countries who have the capacity to promote peace and stability both in their respective region and around the world. This gives us the opportunity to work in collaboration both on regional and global matters.

In conclusion, I can say that day by day we are elevating Turkey-China relations to new heights.

GT: Turkey is currently applying for a BRICS membership. What role does Turkey hope to play within the BRICS?

Musa: Since its foundation in 2006 and with the recent memberships of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Iran and Ethiopia, BRICS has evolved into a greater platform for dialogue and economic cooperation.

Our talks with BRICS member countries are ongoing. Turkey values its cooperation with BRICS countries and sees the organization as an alternative for developing economic cooperation. We seek to defend our interests and closely watch alternative economic platforms. Turkey is already a member of the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation, D-8 and Economic Cooperation Organization and is in close dialogue with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

As such, we also see BRICS primarily as an economic platform. This is why we try to maintain good relations with BRICS member countries. In fact, Turkey already maintains good bilateral economic relations with BRICS members and China and Russia are among Turkey's most important trade partners.

We see all these platforms not as an alternative to one another, but rather complementary to each other. We believe that diversity in BRICS members can be an important tool for increasing global and regional development and stability.

Turkey is an influential country in global and regional politics and is also one of the biggest and most vibrant economies in the world. We believe that Turkey's participation in any such platform will contribute to dialogue and economic cooperation serving global efforts for peace, stability and development. Turkey's potential inclusion could enhance BRICS' global influence and boost trade and investment opportunities within the BRICS framework.

GT: Some Western media outlets have questioned Turkey's decision to prioritize BRICS over the EU. What is your response to this?

Musa: We are not establishing a kind of precedence between the two organizations. In fact, they are very different by nature.

For Turkey, an EU membership remains a strategic priority. Therefore, Turkey's possible membership to the BRICS would not alter its vision regarding the EU. But we are realistic. We are carefully considering and observing global events and developments. We have been waiting for more than five decades. And our European partners are not ready to see us as a full member.

I don't know if this time things may change. If we look at it from a very realistic point of view, this will not be the case in a foreseeable future.

I want to expand a little bit more on the very nature of these two organizations. The EU is, geographically speaking, a limited union on the European continent. The nature of the members is very well known. They belong to the same cultural world. Maybe this is the reason why Turkey is not yet a member of this union.

From a legal standpoint, the EU is, as I qualify it, a post-national gathering community. This is not an international organization and is far from being a confederation. BRICS is instead an international organization.

BRICS embraces many different cultures. The organization now has China, Russia, India, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, and etc. Bearing all this in mind and given its current economic and geopolitical role and position, it's just natural that Turkey is interested in joining BRICS.

I'm sure that within BRICS, what is put forward is the economic nature for cooperation. Turkey aims to broaden its regional and global economic interactions, access new markets and enhance trade relations with major emerging economies. Additionally, Turkey bids for a more stable and inclusive international order.

We submitted our request for membership at the beginning of this year. The term presidency is assumed by Russia. So, the letter signed by our foreign minister was sent to his Russian counterpart.

GT: In what areas does Turkey hope to further enhance cooperation with China under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)?

Musa: As two great civilizations, Turkey and China have developed deep-rooted relations that go back centuries. Commercial and economic relations are at the heart of our exchanges.

Turkey supported the BRI from the very beginning. Indeed, President Erdogan attended the first Belt and Road forum in 2017 and many cooperation agreements were signed on this occasion.

This initiative strives to build stronger connectivity enabling economic integration and greater cooperation. Under the BRI we wish to establish a close and fruitful collaboration with China in a variety of areas.

China is currently our largest trading partner in Asia and the third largest in the world. With better connectivity under the BRI, we hope to increase our bilateral trade with China in a balanced manner. Within the scope of the BRI, energy, transportation infrastructure, and nuclear power emerge are potential collaboration areas. The recently constructed Sinovac vaccine center in Ankara is also an important investment by China which further expands our cooperation in the health sector.

We expect more Chinese companies to invest in Turkey, especially in strategic sectors such as solar and nuclear energy, high-tech infrastructure, EVs and AI.

Cultural exchange is another area in which the two countries can enhance their cooperation under the BRI. We hope that with more cultural events being organized in Turkey and China, our people can gain a much better understanding of each other and see many similarities of our cultures and traditions.

GT: How will the Middle Corridor Initiative be connected with the BRI?

Musa: Enabling greater and wider connectivity is at the core of the BRI. Turkey also attaches paramount importance to connectivity. We believe that increased connectivity and economic cooperation are significant for ensuring peace, stability and sustainable development. With this mindset, Turkey put forth the Middle Corridor Initiative.

The Middle Corridor starts from Turkey in the West, and after crossing the Caucasus, the Caspian Sea and the Central Asian steppe, reaches China. This initiative is in natural harmony with the BRI. Together with the BRI, the Middle Corridor provides China and Central Asian countries uninterrupted, quick and increased access to the Black Sea and Mediterranean basins, as well as to Europe, Middle East and Africa. Additionally, it offers 2,000-kilometer shorter land route between Europe and Asia. On sea routes, it offers 15 days shorter time for transportation.

Most recently, on June 28, another freight train with 110 containers carrying household products departed from Jiangsu and through the Middle Corridor it will reach Europe.

GT: Some Western countries have hyped up the so-called "China's overcapacity" and the "decoupling from China" rhetoric. What's your take on it?

Musa: This is an important question. What we have been witnessing for several years, and especially in recent months, some circles created new terminology: overcapacity, decoupling, and de-risking.

If they begin to accuse you by saying that you have an overcapacity, they should reconsider their own capacities. This means that they have an under-capacity when it comes to competing with you. The overcapacity rhetoric is used to hide the difficulties of some countries. Those who cannot compete with China are raising the issue of overcapacity.

Second, when it comes to these two other notions that were invented during the recent years - "decoupling" and "de-risking", I have been very outspoken about them. These two notions, I think, were invented to some extent to contain China by economic and trade means. This is not a sustainable stance. Decoupling for what purpose? De-risking for what reason? This is not realistic. This is not compatible with the reality of the economic and trade cooperation relationship between China and other countries.

And our country, Turkey, doesn't share these kind of rhetoric. We are very clear on that. We maintain that the development of China is beneficial for everybody. We do not share nor support this kind of unrealistic concepts as they do not relate to the reality of current affairs.

US puts 3 sectors in Xinjiang in crosshairs to 'strangle China in global supply chain'

The US Department of Homeland Security has put three more industries - aluminum, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and seafood - in its crosshairs as it ramps up enforcement of the so-called Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA).

This "infamous bill" enacted in 2021, and numerous actions stemming from it share a malicious purpose of smearing China's Xinjiang policy and strangling China in the global supply chain, analysts said on Wednesday. 

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) claims these industries have been identified as high priority sectors for enforcement due to risks of so-called forced labor or state labor transfer, according to the department's website on Tuesday. It also continues to designate apparel, cotton and cotton products, silica-based products including polysilicon, and tomatoes and downstream products as high priority sectors.

The UFLPA was signed into law in December 2021, with a problematic presumption that any product made with materials sourced from Xinjiang region involves forced labor unless a company can prove otherwise. 

Leading a cross-department Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (FLETF), the DHS originally published its strategy on the enforcement of the law in June 2022. 

Before the updated strategy released on Tuesday, the DHS added three Chinese companies in newly targeted sectors to an entity list in June, broadening the blacklist to 68 companies whose goods are restricted from entering the US. 

The three "priority sectors" in the crosshairs of Washington are key industries in Xinjiang's economic structure, analysts said, adding that aluminum is related to automobile production, while PVC manufacturing is part of petrochemical engineering, another pillar of Xinjiang's industry. 

Seafood is a sector developing at a fast pace in Xinjiang, with its salty underground water and lakes providing an environment similar to the ocean. Official data show that aquatic produce in Xinjiang increased 6.3 percent to 184,000 tons. 

Other "sectors of advantage" in Xinjiang region, namely cotton, textiles and photovoltaic components, have been targeted since the beginning. 

According to the US DHS, entities in designated sectors will be prioritized for review by the FLETF for a variety of enforcement actions: inclusion on the UFLPA Entity List, export limitations, economic sanctions and visa restrictions. 

Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times the US' real intention is to curb Xinjiang's development and economic opportunities, and using the Xinjiang region to smear China's international image and contain economic growth.

The continuous expansion of the US suppression under the excuse of "preventing forced labor" is aimed at disrupting and restructuring the global industrial chain, attempting to eliminate or marginalize China, and maintaining all core elements of globalization under US control, Li said.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry previously revealed that the UFLPA does not prevent "forced labor," but creates "forced unemployment." The act does not protect human rights, but undermines the right to subsistence, employment and development of people in Xinjiang in the name of human rights. 

China achieves localization of core high-density connectivity module for quantum computing

China has realized domestic production of a core component for the nation's self-developed quantum computer named "Origin Wukong," breaking foreign monopoly and further cementing China's leading position in global quantum computing research and development.

The high-density microwave connectivity module, the core component, is used for data transmission between quantum chips and external receiving devices in an extremely low-temperature environment of -273.12 C or even lower.

However, a vital wire of the module was once monopolized by Japan, resulting in high purchase costs.

The domestically-made module can provide a stable transmission channel of microwave signal for 100+ quantum chip in extremely low temperature, according to the official social media account of Origin Quantum, the developer of "Origin Wukong", noting that the module enables the quantum chip to exert a more powerful computing capability and effectivity.

Currently, China's Origin Wukong quantum computer, equipped with domestically-made microwave connectivity module, has completed more than 183,000 quantum computing missions for about 8.58 times requests from 120 countries all over the world, said the Origin Quantum.

Origin Wukong is the third-generation superconducting quantum computer launched in January this year. It was based on China's first quantum chip production line, first quantum computer operating system, and first quantum computing measurement and control system. It also marked China's first realization of automated batch testing of quantum chips.

China has established a homegrown and independent industry chain for superconducting quantum computing, and it's one of the very few countries that can independently produce quantum computers, which are believed to be critical for future economic development, industry observers noted.

What makes China’s treasury bonds 'special' as nation eyes quality growth?

The issuance of China's ultra-long special treasury bonds has given those concerned about the nation's economy a glimpse of the country's pursuit of Chinese modernization through high-quality development.

Yet regrettably, opportunistic individuals on the outside seized the opportunity to chant about the "collapse of the Chinese economy." Such allegations are ridiculous. 

China's plan to issue the first batch of 1 trillion yuan ($140 billion) in ultra-long-term treasury bonds starting on Friday will help shore up investment and spur consumption, but this doesn't mean the Chinese economy is facing numerous difficulties and challenges that require serious measures to stimulate growth.

Some Western commentators claim that China's 2024 growth target of about 5 percent has put pressure on the nation to unleash more stimulus. Such a misreading reflects Western elites' serious lack of understanding of China's economic development.

China's GDP grew by 5.3 percent in the first quarter of 2024, well above market expectations. Steady growth lays a solid foundation for the economy to achieve the target of growing by about 5 percent for the whole year.

China's 5.3 percent growth in the first quarter was much higher than what many Western economies achieved in the same period. It's a little bit ironic that while Western elites said "the Chinese economy is on the verge of collapse," an indisputable fact is that China remains a major driving force for economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region and the world. 

That is not to say China faces no challenges and risks at all. Countries as large as China - and the entire world, for that matter - face mounting challenges and risks such as increasing geopolitical tensions, lower demand in developed countries, an uptick in trade restrictions and elongated supply chains.

In the face of challenges, China is actually making honest efforts to tackle them. As the world's second-largest economy, China has been able to maintain economic stability.

There is no doubt that the issuance of China's ultra-long special treasury bonds will help stabilize market expectations, elevate market confidence and inject new momentum into the Chinese economy, but this is not the whole story. The bonds are designed to be used to "support the implementation of major national strategies," which makes them different from previous special treasury bonds.

To build a modern socialist country in all respects, we must, first and foremost, pursue high-quality development. The economy is undergoing a transition from old to new growth drivers, in which the optimization of structure, and the robust development of new quality productive forces, provide limitless possibilities.

Policies to encourage economic development are different in different eras of history. With the continuous growth of the Chinese economy, it is imperative to enhance and improve macroeconomic regulation with innovative tools and ideas to support long-term high-quality development. The issuance of China's ultra-long special treasury bonds is an attempt to adapt to an optimized and upgraded economic structure and economic needs of the country.

The Government Work Report of 2024, which was approved during the two sessions earlier this year, stated that in order to "systematically address funding shortages facing some major projects for building a great country and advancing national rejuvenation," it was proposed that, starting this year and over each of the next several years, ultra-long special treasury bonds be issued. 

"These bonds will be used to implement major national strategies and build up security capacity in key areas," the report said.

China has turned to special treasury bonds before, in 1998, 2007 and 2020.

This issuance of China's new ultra-long special treasury bonds is different from previous bond issuances, because the funds raised through the new bond sales are reportedly set to support scientific and technological innovation, integrated urban-rural development, coordinated regional development, food and energy security, and the high-quality development of the population.

The plan to issue new ultra-long special treasury bonds from 2024 is a proactive approach to pursue high-quality development and develop new quality productive forces, instead of forced measures to stimulate a "stagnant economy."

China's FX reserves decline within controllable range, underpinned by strong economic fundamentals: expert

China's foreign exchange (forex) reserves totaled $3.201 trillion as of the end of April, down by $44.8 billion, or 1.38 percent, from the end of March, according to data released on Tuesday by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE).

The largely stable results, announced as some Asian countries posted the largest declines in their forex reserves in months, underscored the general stability of China's forex reserves, which are supported by the strong fundamentals of the Chinese economy and the resilience of its recovery.

In February and March, China's forex reserves continued to rise for two consecutive months, with the end-March figure totaling $3.2457 trillion.

The SAFE said that the economy has a solid foundation, multiple advantages, strong resilience and vast potential, adding that these traits are conducive to keeping the scale of forex reserves generally stable.

Amid changes in macroeconomic data of major economies and varying expectations on different countries' monetary policies, the US Dollar Index rallied in April and global financial asset prices fell.

The SAFE attributed the drop in the scale of the country's forex reserves to the combined effects of currency translation and changes in asset prices.

Experts said that the drop in the reserves in April was moderate, and its prospects remain upbeat due to China's solid economic fundamentals, effective policy regulation and the resilience of the yuan.

"April foreign exchange reserves data was in part dragged down by a strong dollar performance in the period, but the adjustment was within a controllable range, while the overall data stabilized at levels above $3.2 trillion," Zhou Maohua, a macroeconomist at China Everbright Bank, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Despite the uncertain prospects of overseas assets and price fluctuations of global financial assets, the outlook for China's forex reserves remains steady with positive factors amassing, Zhou said. She predicted that the resilient economic recovery will continue to support a reserve level of more than $3 trillion in the coming months.

A resilient performance in foreign trade and the country's attractiveness to foreign capital seeking gains are factors offering support, said Zhou.

As multiple Asian currencies including the Japanese yen, the South Korean won and Indian rupee continue to depreciate against the US dollar, mainly due to the US Federal Reserve's policy, some countries have had to slash their dollar holdings to shore up their weakened currencies.

South Korea's foreign exchange reserves dropped in April by the biggest amount in 19 months as the country's central bank intervened to curb weakness in the won, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

However, underpinned by China's strong economic recovery, the yuan maintained a stable rate against the US dollar and even strengthened by a notch during the past week, alleviating the pressure for the People's Bank of China, the central bank, to intervene.

The central parity rate of the yuan weakened 8 pips to 7.1002 against the US dollar on Tuesday, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System. The yuan's exchange rate has been largely unchanged year-to-date.

The Chinese economy got off to a good start in 2024, with first-quarter GDP exceeding estimates to grow at 5.3 percent year-on-year. 

The country also posted brisk tourism trips, spending data and box-office revenue during the just-ended five-day May Day holidays, reflecting growing momentum in the country's economic recovery.

Xi's visit to France, Serbia and Hungary charts course for future: Wang Yi

Chinese President Xi Jinping returned to Beijing on Saturday morning after wrapping up state visits to France, Serbia and Hungary. Wang Yi, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and foreign minister, referred to Xi's Europe trip as a journey to carry forward friendship, enhance mutual trust, boost confidence and chart the course for the future during a press briefing.

Over the course of five days and six nights, the president visited three countries and four regions, participating in more than 30 events that seamlessly coupled bilateral and multilateral engagements, covering political, economic, and cultural activities. The trip includes formal state events as well as informal interactions, Wang said. 

He noted that during Xi's state visit to France, the Chinese president proposed to uphold independence and jointly prevent a new Cold War or bloc confrontation; adhere to mutual understanding and jointly promote harmonious coexistence ; commit to proceeding from a long-term perspective to jointly push for an equal and orderly multipolar world; and uphold mutual benefit while jointly opposing "de-coupling."

The heads of state of China and France reached a number of areas of consensuses on further developing bilateral relations, agreeing  to consolidate the strategic stability of bilateral ties, tapping into the broad potential of mutually beneficial cooperation, accelerate people-to-people exchanges, and build greater consensus on global cooperation, Wang added.

The two sides issued four joint statements on the situation in the Middle East, artificial intelligence and global governance, biodiversity and oceans, and agricultural exchanges and cooperation, as well as signed nearly 20 cooperation agreements.

During the visit to Serbia, President Xi and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic agreed to form  a China-Serbia community with a shared future in the new era, and Xi also announced China's initial practical measures to support the building of the community.

Noting the decision marks a breakthrough in the building of a community with a shared future in Europe, Wang said it will surely become a new milestone in the history of China-Serbia relations and help the two countries speed up their respective modernization process.

During the visit to Hungary, Xi expressed willingness to take the opportunity to establish a China-Hungary all-weather comprehensive strategic partnership for the new era to inject new and strong impetus into bilateral cooperation, and Hungary is welcomed to be China's companion on its path to Chinese modernization.

China is willing to work with Hungary to take Xi's visit as an opportunity to write new story of China-Hungary all-weather comprehensive strategic partnership for the new era, and open a new chapter of mutually beneficial cooperation in a Golden Voyage.

In a trilateral meeting in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Xi said there is neither geopolitical conflict nor fundamental conflict of interests between China and the EU.

Xi pointed out that this relationship does not target any third party, nor should it be dependent on or dictated by any third party, and that China and the EU should continue to see each other as partners, and remain committed to dialogue and cooperation.

In response to the so-called "China's overcapacity" narrative, Xi noted that China's new energy enterprises have not only enriched global supply and alleviated the pressure of global inflation, but also contributed significantly to global climate response and green transition.

Xi stressed that whether viewed from the perspective of comparative advantage or global market demand, there is no such thing as "overcapacity."

On the Ukraine crisis, Xi clarified that China did not create the Ukraine crisis, nor is it a party to it, but rather, China has been working vigorously to facilitate talks for peace  since the conflict first broke out.

China has the sincerity, positive actions and principled position, and China does not accept any remarks or actions that use the crisis to discredit China and incite a new Cold War.

During Xi's visit to France, China and France agreed to treat the Paris Olympic Games as an opportunity to advocate for a global ceasefire and cessation of hostilities during the Games, to speak out for the peaceful settlement of hotspot issues, and to contribute to the construction of a world of lasting peace and universal security.

On the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Xi said China supports the convening of a more broad-based, more authoritative and more effective international peace conference as soon as possible to promote the comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question at an early date. 

This visit further solidified the positive aspects of the China-EU relations, Cui Hongjian, a professor with the Academy of Regional and Global Governance with Beijing Foreign Studies University, told the Global Times on Saturday.

Cui noted the depth of exchanges between Chinese leaders and leaders of European countries is beyond expectations, for example, they touched on tricky issues related to overcapacity, adding that  a China-France joint statement was released on the situation in the Middle East. 

Strategic balance and stability between China and Europe would strengthen the fundamental stability of the global landscape, Cui said.

Flood-relief headquarters warn of severe flooding in middle, lower reaches of the Yangtze River

Three provinces - Central China's Hubei, Hunan and East China's Jiangxi - are expected to experience heavy flooding during this year's flood season and are key flood control areas in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, according to State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters. 

As a response measure to recent heavy downpours, the command center led an on-site inspection team to examine local flood-relief efforts. "The three provinces' flood control and drought relief system still have some weak links, flood control and drought relief situation remains complicated and severe," according to the team.

Led by Vice Minister of Water Resources Chen Min, the team visited key sections of the Yangtze River and its important tributaries in Hubei, Hunan, and Jiangxi between April 23 and 27. 

The team also examined local flood preparation at reservoirs, ongoing river-related projects, hydrological monitoring stations, pre-flood preparations in flood-prone areas, and readiness in flood storage and detention areas, according to a statement released by Ministry of Emergency Management on Monday.

Additionally, in an effort to monitor local governments' efforts and responsibilities in flood-relief, including whether hidden risks in flood season are plugged and readiness in stockpiling of flood prevention materials, the headquarters dispatched covert expert teams. 

Amidst a recent wave of heavy downpours in central and southern part of China, Guangdong Province railway authorities decided to suspend the operation of 62 trains on Beijing-Guangzhou line from Monday to Wednesday, several high-speed train services will also experience delays as well.  

The National Meteorological Center (NMC) continued to issue yellow warnings for heavy rain and severe convection weather on Monday morning.

It is expected that from 14:00 on Monday to 14:00 on Tuesday, there will be heavy rain in central and northern Chongqing, eastern Guizhou, most of regions south of the Yangtze River, central and northern South China, the NMC said.

Among them, there will be heavy rain between 100 and 200 millimeters in southern Hunan, central Jiangxi, northwestern Fujian, northeastern Guangxi and northern Guangdong. 

During the period, the NMC said that heavy rainfall would sweep central and northern parts of Hunan, including Changsha, and many parts of Hunan would encounter strong convection weather. In Changsha, capital city of Hunan, a wave of wind and rain swept many parts of the city Monday noon, with visibility decreased significantly, as if night had fallen.  

Parts of central and southern Hunan, Jiangxi, southwestern Fujian, central and eastern Guizhou, northeastern Guangxi, and central-northern Guangdong are expected to experience thunderstorms with fresh gale or above level, or hail. In some areas, it will experience whole gale or storm. 

In Guangdong, according to the monitoring and forecast of meteorological and hydrological departments, heavy rainfall will continue in the province in the next few days. Local departments also warned of subsequent geological disasters. 

Xi meets Blinken, says China hopes US can view its development in a positive light

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday in Beijing. Xi said China is willing to cooperate with the US, but cooperation should be a two-way street.

China is happy to see a confident, open, prosperous and thriving US, and hopes the US can also look at China's development in a positive light, Xi said.

"This is a fundamental issue that must be addressed, just like the first button of a shirt that must be put right, in order for the China-US relationship to truly stabilize, improve and move forward," Xi said.

China is willing to cooperate with the US, but cooperation should be a two-way street, Xi noted. "China is not afraid of competition, but competition should be about common progress, not a zero-sum game."

Xi said China is committed to non-alignment, and the US should not form small circles, adding that both sides can have their own friends and partners and should refrain from targeting, opposing or damaging each other.

The diplomatic teams of the two sides also reached five points of consensus on Friday including to maintain high-level exchange and contact at all levels, continue military exchanges and further advance cooperation between China and the US in drug prohibition, climate change, and artificial intelligence.

Some Chinese experts said President Xi's meeting with Blinken can be described as a top-level reception, and the US should realize the inaccuracies, biases, and misconceptions prevalent in America's foreign policy toward China.

This also helps the West to view China more accurately and assists China in gaining a more accurate understanding of US policy toward China and its overall foreign policy, experts said.

For a certain period of time, China has been concerned with the US' approach of "saying nice things while continuing harmful actions," Diao Daming, a professor at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times on Friday.

The US should adhere to its words with actions, ensuring promises lead to results, and not say one thing while doing another, and the trust should be the foundation to protect mutual interests and foster the development of the bilateral relations, Diao said.

During the meeting, Blinken said during his visit, he found that Americans from various sectors in China also hoped to see an improvement in bilateral relations.

The US is not seeking a "new Cold War," does not aim to change China's system, does not seek to contain China's development, and does not intend to oppose China through alliances, nor does it intend to enter into conflict with China, the US diplomat said.

The US adheres to the one-China policy and hopes to maintain communication with China, seriously implement the San Francisco consensus reached between the two leaders, seek further cooperation, avoid misunderstandings and miscalculations, responsibly manage differences, and promote stable development in the bilateral relations, Blinken said during the meeting, according to a readout released by China's Foreign Ministry.

The latest communication can also be described as a process of mutual reassurance, Li Haidong, a professor from the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Friday.

"In the new environment, China and the US need to ensure the establishment of a stable, coordinated, mutually beneficial, equal, and cooperative relationship. Both sides have this willingness, and our actions are very clear, but the US has not kept pace," the expert said.

Therefore, we emphasize that this reassurance process should be pragmatically advanced, enabling China-US relations to withstand various turbulences and endure the impacts of international situations, which is also very important, Li added.

Although the consensus between the two sides on effectively managing their relationship seems to have been largely reached throughout the latest high-level interactions between China and the US, some experts are concerned whether the US can guarantee that it will effectively manage differences and expanding cooperation through action, especially when Biden are currently in the midst of elections.

"If the US is unable to follow the consensus and fulfill its promises, and even further seeks to contain China due to election politics, encircle China, tarnish China's image, and interfere in China's internal affairs, it is very likely to have a negative impact on the future trajectory of China-US relations," Diao said.

The US' negative moves, such as arms sales to Taiwan, the attempted ban of TikTok, and the smear campaign targeting China's human rights and governance in Xinjiang, have been ongoing. Therefore, if the relationship between the two sides is to overcome uncertainty, the main source of uncertainty still lies with the US, Li said.

The overall trend in the bilateral relations this year may also be stable, but there are significant risks. These risks primarily stem from the strong domestic political constraints on the White House in handling issues related to China policy, the expert noted.