High-level visits from Pakistan highlight investment, bilateral ties

Pakistan's newly appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mohammad Ishaq Dar is visiting Beijing this week. He has a busy schedule of meetings with officials and business leaders in a bid to attract Chinese investment and further improve bilateral relations between China and Pakistan.   

From Monday to Thursday, at the invitation of Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, Dar is paying an official visit to China. On Wednesday, Wang and Dar held the fifth round of the China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers' Strategic Dialogue.

Wang told the media after the strategic dialogue on Wednesday that following his assumption of office as Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Dar chose China as the first country to visit officially, this highlighted Pakistan's special emphasis on China-Pakistani relations. 

Wang mentioned that he had engaged in in-depth strategic communication with Dar on bilateral relations, cooperation in various fields, and international regional issues of common concern, leading to a broad consensus. 

"We both agree that China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners, and the ironclad friendship between our two countries has stood the test of time, remaining as solid as a rock and as heavy as Mount Tai," Wang said. "In a world of turmoil and change, a healthy, stable, and strong China-Pakistan relationship is of great significance for regional peace and prosperity," he noted.

According to Pakistani state media, during his visit to China, Dar also invited Chinese companies to invest, set up their manufacturing and process units in Pakistan and benefit from the government's investor-friendly policies. 

Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan's Federal Minister of Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives, also visited China last week as part of the high-level interactions between China and Pakistan.

Analysts pointed out that the visits of high-level officials from Pakistan since Pakistan's new government came to power showed the country's willingness to further develop cooperation with China under the framework of China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), especially in the high-quality development of the CPEC, a flagship project of the BRI.

Launched in 2013, the CPEC is a corridor linking the Gwadar port in southwestern Pakistan with Kashi in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which highlights energy, transport, and industrial cooperation. 

According to materials sent to the Global Times by the Pakistani Embassy in Beijing, during the visit, Dar had a tight schedule as he is busy with meeting both government officials and business communities in Beijing during the four-day trip. 

During his visit, he has emphasized opportunities for collaboration in various sectors, including infrastructure, renewable energy, textiles, agriculture, IT, and mining.

He has reaffirmed Pakistan's firm support to China on its core issues and expressed the country's willingness to accelerate progress on all CPEC projects including ML-I upgradation, the Gwadar port, and KKH realignment. 

"The first decade of the CPEC has laid important ground for fast-tracking development," Pakistani Ambassador to China Khalil-ur-Rahman Hashmi told the Global Times in a previous interview. 

"Over 73 years, the Pakistan-China relationship has become very solid and assumed unique characteristics in terms of inter-state relations. Ours is a relationship that is not affected by internal developments in either country or regional and international events. That is why we refer to it as an ironclad relationship that has stood the test of time," he said in the interview. 

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."

Beijing Auto Show 2024 wraps up with a bang, as 892,000 visitors chase new technologies

The 2024 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, or Beijing Auto Show 2024, put down its curtain on Saturday after a 10-day-long run across a vast exhibition area of 22,000 square meters, attracting more than 892,000 visitors to the event, including 28,000 international attendees from all over the world.

The auto show witnessed 117 new vehicles making their debuts, with global premieres of up to 30 car models from international brands, which is a manifestation of the growing importance of Chinese customers and the country's huge market.

Chinese auto brands are evolving rapidly and they make many traditional car brands look old and lose market share, indicative of the brighter future of Chinese automotive industry, a visitor from the UK attending the event told the Global Times. 

From its humble beginning in 1990 with merely 20,000 square meters of exhibition space, the Beijing Auto Show has grown exponentially in the past three decades. Its 18th version this year witnessed China's remarkable journey in auto exploration and development, as verified by the nation's leadership in new energy vehicle (NEV) manufacturing and its growing market competitiveness in the world.

NEVs in spotlight

During this year's show, the spotlight was undoubtedly on NEVs, which accounted for more than 80 percent of the 117 new vehicle models debuted at the event. In total, 278 models of both NEVs or with internal combustion engines were put on display, marking a 74 percent increase from the previous auto show. 

Notably, as many as 20 new NEV brands made their first appearance there, showcasing the latest development trend in the sector.

This year's Beijing Auto Show demonstrates that NEVs are the future of China's automotive industry. Chinese brands have made significant strides in manufacturing of batteries and electric vehicle technology innovation and development, setting a solid foundation for the country's edge in the mid-to-high-end electric vehicle market, Cui Dongshu, secretary general of the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA), told the Global Times in an interview on Sunday.

In addition to automakers, numerous companies in the NEV supply chain participated in the gala event. Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Limited (CATL), the world's leading battery manufacturer and technology provider revealed the company's latest Shenxing PLUS battery, which is the world's first LFP battery that enables 1,000-km range ride per charge. Along with innovative products like millimeter-wave radar from Cheng-Tech, and high-voltage water heater from Jiangsu Chaoli Co, Chinese companies showcased their latest development at the auto show, leading the global development of NEVs.

"We use batteries from CATL factory in Germany," said Porsche CEO Oliver Blume at the auto show, emphasizing the luxury carmaker's commitment to the Chinese market. During the show, Porsche unveiled its latest Taycan 4 model tailored specifically for the Chinese market, along with its first all-electric SUV model, the Macan.

The rapid development of China's new energy vehicle industry is reflected in its increasing sales volume and global market penetration. In March, Chinese NEV retail sales reached 709,000 units, up 29.5 percent year-on-year, pushing China's share in the global NEV market to 62.5 percent, according to official data.

Smart tech on display 

Smarter automotive technologies on display form a key highlight of the Beijing Auto Show 2024, spanning from artificial intelligence (AI) to autonomous driving. 

During the auto show, China's leading technology company Tencent unveiled its "global intelligence" solution for the auto industry, covering various core scenarios such as R&D, production, marketing, services, and corporate collaboration. The company also announced plans related to smart vehicle-use clouds and cockpits, offering autonomous driving cloud services to leading carmakers in the sector.

"We are actively exploring all innovative uses and applications of our cutting-edge technologies, such as AI solutions in various use scenarios," said Tang Daosheng, a senior executive vice president of Tencent.

Increasingly smarter solutions have become a critical component of AI evolution in China, noted He Xiaopeng, chairman of XPeng Motors, one of China's major electric vehicle brands. At the auto show, XPeng announced the incorporation of AI systems in its new models, enabling customized AI travel and enhanced safety features.

Applying AI technology in automobiles will facilitate the rapid advancement to Level 3 autonomous driving, enhancing the driving experience and ramping up ride safety, Jia Xinguang, a veteran auto industry observer, told the Global Times on Sunday.

In addition to automakers and related companies in the auto industry chain, Tmall Auto made its debut to the event as an auto industry platform exhibitor, aiming to stimulate online marketing and transaction for various customized auto brands, and facilitate both new and used vehicle sales, aided with Alibaba Group's advanced platforms and software solutions.

Huge market for clean cars

The introduction of numerous new car models at the Beijing Auto Show reflected the future trend of increasingly diversified and upgraded consumption in the Chinese market, said Cui from the China Passenger Car Association.

With the government's launch of an action plan to promote a nationwide large-scale equipment renewal and trade-in for big consumer goods, coupled with policies from various departments including the Ministry of Commerce that provides incentives for ordinary consumers replacing outdated vehicles with clean, renewable energy powered vehicles, China's auto consumption market is expected to witness further growth in the coming five to 10 years, Cui said.

China's NEV market has experienced remarkable growth rates in the past several years, and with the government's new trade-in policy, it is widely anticipated that stronger consumer enthusiasm for buying cleaner new-energy vehicles will come. The trade-in policy could potentially bring 2 million additional NEV sales in 2024, Cui added.

According to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, China produced 6.606 million vehicles from January to March this year, representing a year-on-year growth of 6.4 percent. The country also saw 6.72 million vehicles sales in the first quarter of 2024, up 10.6 percent, indicating a flourishing trend of auto shipments.

In contrast, some international auto shows, such as the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung and Japan Mobility Show, are struggling to achieve breakthroughs due to global automakers' business restructuring and the shrinking consumer demand there. Nevertheless, the Beijing Auto Show is demonstrating unprecedented vitality, reflecting the bright future of China's automotive manufacturing and its huge market size, Jia Xinguang said. 

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.

Driving a prosperous world: Chinese NEV manufacturers create jobs, improve people's livelihood overseas

Editor's Note:

As China's new-energy industries rise to global prominence, US officials have started a smear campaign based on false "overcapacity" claims. The rise of China's new-energy industries is due to innovation, rather than subsidies, and is beneficial for the world, instead of posing threats to other countries. To illustrate this, the Global Times is publishing a multi-part series under the theme of "New Energy, New Opportunities." This story focuses on how the Chinese electric vehicles (EV) industry draws its competitiveness from competition, debunking the groundless narrative that the Chinese EV industry's strengths came from government subsidies.
While the US has kept hyping up "overcapacity" in China's new-energy vehicle (NEV) industry to smear the latter's technology edge in new energy production, many Chinese NEV companies are actively promoting globalization with an increasingly open attitude to provide high-quality and clean cars to global consumers, and moving to share development dividends with their global partners.

During recent years, a growing number of Chinese NEV makers and battery manufacturers such as BYD and CATL are investing in setting up plants overseas including the ASEAN, Europe, Middle East and South America. By extending their reach through overseas establishments and joint ventures, China's NEV sector has become a source of growth and catalyst for job creation globally, reinforcing the resilience of the global supply chain.

Industry analysts note that Chinese NEV companies aspire to seek win-win cooperation and mutual benefit in the process of their going global, and they attach importance to contributing to the economic and social development of the countries where they have businesses. With technological innovation and quality developed through competition in the global market, Chinese NEV makers continue to make greater contributions to global green transition and technological advance.

Rapid industry growth

Chinese NEV companies are flocking to Thailand after the pandemic came to an end and have played a vital part in the Thai government's strategy to boost up foreign investment as a way to speed up domestic economic growth, Xu Genluo, vice president of Thailand-based Amata Corp, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Reflecting China's NEV manufacturing advantages, at least 10 Chinese NEV brands have come to Thailand to invest during the past two years, Xu said. He said Chinese companies have brought along good posts in technical, sales and management for local Thais.

The arrival of Chinese EV companies has contributed to the realization of the Thai government's ambition to scale up the country's domestic industrial and value chain, restructure its industrial capacity, and fulfil its climate and emission control goals, Xu said, noting that the Thai government has awarded global companies, including Chinese NEV companies, with favorable policies.

As Thailand has a long automotive heritage and world-class manufacturing capability, Chinese leading NEV maker BYD has chosen the Southeast Asian country to build its first passenger car plant outside China. With BYD's advantages in whole industrial chain and its owning core technologies, the company would contribute to the popularity of NEVs in Thailand.

Chinese lithium-ion battery giant CATL announced a decision in 2022 to invest 7.34 billion euros ($7.9 billion) to build a 100 GWh battery plant in Debrecen of east Hungary, its second battery plant in Europe.

Investment will generate substantial tax revenues, create new jobs, and become a new driver for local economy, CATL said. It said the project will attract both upstream and downstream partners across the electric vehicle value chain to Hungary, injecting vitality into the country's sustainable development.

In February this year, the company signed a cooperation agreement with a Vocational Training Center in the city in order to train prepared and highly motivated professionals.

As some Chinese NEV players have consolidated their lead in electric vehicle and battery technologies, more global auto giants are seeking cooperation with leading Chinese automakers to learn their know-how.

In February, German carmaker Volkswagen agreed to carry out a strategic technical collaboration project with Chinese automaker XPeng to develop two intelligent connected vehicle models.

Stellantis, a multinational auto company headquartered in Amsterdam, also announced in October 2023 a plan to invest 1.5 billion euros to acquire approximately 20 percent of China's EV start-up Leapmotor, underlining the competitiveness of China's EV manufacturing.

"Overcapacity should indicate an imbalance between demand and supply, but it is often misused. If we look at the global demand for clean new energy, we actually have an under-capacity," Claudio Celani, economic editor of news magazine Executive Intelligence Review, told the Global Times in a recent interview.

In Africa, some of its 1.4 billion people currently lack access to a power grid. Most of them are located in Sub-Saharan Africa, in countries which, even if they want to, have neither the financial nor physical means to satisfy that demand. It is obvious that the technology must be brought in from countries like China and other industrial nations, Celani said.

Celani attributed China's competitive advantage in NEV and other industrial products to two main factors, namely technological progress and economy of scale.

Globally competitive

"Across the world, only China has mastered core NEV technologies. The entry of Chinese NEV makers to overseas markets will not only drive investment and create jobs but also help these countries rapidly build up their NEV production capacity and gain international competitiveness after a while," Zhang Xiang, director of the Digital Automotive International Cooperation Research Center of the World Digital Economy Forum, told the Global Times.

Compared with traditional automobile powerhouses, China's development of NEVs was relatively early and therefore has already achieved a degree of technological accumulation.

"As a result, China-made NEVs are internationally competitive with lower production costs and good performance, which make them popular in overseas markets," Zhang said.

The US' "overcapacity" narrative cannot impede the ongoing transformation and upgrade momentum of China's traditional industries, Zhang said, noting that China's new energy products will play an increasingly important role in driving the global low-carbon transition.

China's vehicle market got off to a good start in the first quarter of 2024, with production and sales both exceeding 6.6 million units, according to the latest data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. The market share of NEVs remained above 30 percent in the first three months, official data showed.

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.