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. 

Manila violating commitments, denying previous agreement and abandoning understandings escalate Ren’ai Jiao tensions: Chinese FM

If the Philippines truly wants to ease tensions at Ren’ai Jiao through dialogue and communication, it needs to honor the commitments and understandings and stop provocations, spokesperson of Chinese Foreign Ministry Mao Ning said at a press conference on Thursday.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday called on China to talk to prevent more incidents like ramming vessels and the use of water cannons in the South China Sea, Voice of America reported.

The Philippines continues to talk with China, and is exhausting all options to speak to Chinese leadership so as not to heat up tensions in the waterway, Marcos claimed, according to media report.

In response, Mao reiterated on Thursday China's indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands, Ren’ai Jiao included, and their surrounding waters.

She stressed that China has always been committed to managing the on-site situation of Ren'ai Jiao through dialogue and consultation with the Philippines.

Mao reiterated that on how to deal with the current situation at Ren’ai Jiao, China’s position is clear-cut. First, by keeping its warship grounded at Ren’ai Jiao for decades running, the Philippines has been violating China’s sovereignty and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), especially Article 5 which says refraining from action of inhabiting on the presently uninhabited islands and reefs. We demand that the Philippines tow away the warship at once and restore the Ren’ai Jiao’s state of hosting zero personnel and facilities.

Second, before the warship is towed away, if the Philippines needs to send living necessities, out of humanitarianism, China is willing to allow it if the Philippines informs China in advance and after on-site verification is conducted. China will monitor the whole process.

Third, if the Philippines sends large amount of construction materials to the warship and attempts to build fixed facilities and permanent outpost, China will not accept it and will resolutely stop it in accordance with law and regulations to uphold China’s sovereignty and the sanctity of the DOC.

The recent attempts by the Philippines to permanently occupy Ren'ai Jiao and Tiexian Jiao (Tiexian Reef) have seriously violated Article 5 of the DOC, said Lei Xiaolu, a professor of law with China Institute of Boundary and Ocean Studies, Wuhan University.

In 1999, the Philippines illegally grounded the “BRP Sierra Madre” warship on Ren'ai Jiao under the pretext of “mechanical failure” and promised to tow it away. However, in recent years, the Philippines has acted in bad faith, claiming to build permanent facilities on Ren'ai Jiao.

The Philippines believes the South China Sea arbitration case gives it a legal basis for the illegal occupation of Ren'ai Jiao, but in fact, the arbitral tribunal in the South China Sea arbitration case has no jurisdiction to handle sovereignty disputes over Ren'ai Jiao as part of the Nansha Islands. Tiexian Jiao is an uninhabited high-tide feature within 12 nautical miles of Zhubi Jiao (Zhubi Reef) and is part of the Nansha Islands, according to Lei.

If the Philippines' activities are tolerated, the dispute settlement mechanism established in Article 5 of the DOC will be weakened, potentially reopening the "Pandora's Box" of new round of island occupation by some countries, which will have a negative impact on regional peace and stability, Lei noted.

China and the Philippines established several channels of communication on the South China Sea issue, the most important one being the Bilateral Consultative Mechanism (BCM) established in 2016, noted Yan Yan, Direct of Research Center for Oceans Law and Policy, National Institute for South China Sea Studies.

The hotline between China and the Philippines coast guards was established after then Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with China on cooperation between the two countries' coast guard in 2016 and is the most direct means of communication between the maritime law enforcement agencies of the two countries. In August 2023, Philippine Coast Guard spokesman Jay Tarriela announced the abandonment of this hotline mechanism, saying they will no longer be communicating directly with their Chinese counterpart.

In January of this year, the 8th meeting of the BCM was held in Shanghai. China and the Philippines agreed to "further improve the sea-related communication mechanism, continue to properly manage sea-related conflicts and differences through friendly consultations, and deal with maritime emergencies."

However, the Philippines' actions on Huangyan Dao and Ren’ai Jiao have not been curtailed despite the consultation. It seems that the Philippines’ strategy is to use action instead of words and dialogue, to show its presence and attempt to change the status quo in the South China Sea, Yan stressed.

China and ASEAN Foreign Ministers signed the DOC in November, 2002.

For the past 22 years, the DOC has served as a crucial political consensus and cornerstone for maintaining peace in the region. China and ASEAN countries have successfully engaged in various constructive maritime cooperation, including marine environmental protection, scientific research, safety of navigation and communication at sea, search and rescue operations, and combating transnational crime, in accordance with Article 6 which allows for cooperative activities pending a comprehensive settlement of disputes, said Yang Xiao, Deputy director of Institute of Maritime Strategy Studies at China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

Article 6 regulates cooperative activities among the parties concerned. These may include the following: marine environmental protection; marine scientific research; safety of navigation and communication at sea; search and rescue operation; and combating transnational crime, including but not limited to trafficking of illicit drugs, piracy and armed robbery at sea, and illegal traffic in arms.

However, beyond the positive momentum of promoting cooperation between China and most ASEAN countries, there has been some sort of noise off and on for some time, especially the Philippines which has repeatedly violated its commitments and obligations, Yang pointed out.

There is no doubt that “cooperation” is the most approved axiom paved by DOC for peace and development in the South China Sea … Any actions or intentions that undermine these commitments and cooperation should be firmly opposed by all parties to DOC and by nations dedicated to peace and prosperity, Yang noted.

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.