Archive for ‘belt and road plan’

08/07/2019

China expert lays out trillion yuan nuclear path for belt and road plan

  • Senior industry official Wang Shoujun predicts up to 30 reactors could be built over next decade
  • Calls for more financial and policy support for sector to optimise export trade
A Hualong One ZH-65 steam generator, part of China’s home-grown nuclear technology which it is hoping to export as part of its Belt and Road Initiative. Photo: Xinhua
A Hualong One ZH-65 steam generator, part of China’s home-grown nuclear technology which it is hoping to export as part of its Belt and Road Initiative. Photo: Xinhua
As many as 30 nuclear reactors could be built by China over the next decade as part of the Belt and Road Initiative, a senior industry official told a meeting of the country’s top political advisory body this week.
Wang Shoujun, a standing committee member of the China People’s Political Consultative Conference, told delegates on Wednesday that China needed to take full advantage of the opportunities provided by the belt and road plan and give more financial and policy support to its nuclear sector.
China-built reactors may have advantage over foreign competitors
“‘Going out’ with nuclear power has already become a state strategy, and nuclear exports will help optimise our export trade and free up domestic high-end manufacturing capacity,” he said, according to a report on the CPPCC’s official website.
Wang said China needed to improve research and development, localise the production of key nuclear components, and grow both the domestic and foreign nuclear markets to give full play to the country’s “comprehensive advantages” in costs and technology.

Wang, also the former chairman of the state-owned China National Nuclear Corp, said nuclear projects under the belt and road plan could earn Chinese firms as much as 1 trillion yuan (US$145.52 billion) by 2030, according to more details of his speech published by BJX.com.cn, a Chinese power industry news portal.

He said 41 nations taking part in the belt and road plan already had nuclear power programmes or were planning to develop them, and China only needed to secure a 20 per cent market share to create five million new jobs in the sector, according to the news portal.

The CPPCC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

China is in the middle of a reactor building programme which it hopes will serve as a shop window to promote its home-grown designs and technologies overseas, especially its own third-generation reactor design known as Hualong One.

But the pace of construction at home has slowed amid technological problems and delays at some key projects, as well as a suspension of new approvals that lasted more than three years.

Wang, according to BJX.com.cn, said there was overcapacity among local nuclear manufacturers, but the domestic market value for nuclear equipment could reach more than 48 billion yuan a year within two years. He did not say how much it was worth currently.

Source: SCMP

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27/06/2019

UN’s environment chief urges China to keep belt and road projects green and clean

  • Joyce Msuya of the UN Environment Programme is full of praise for Beijing’s success in tackling air pollution but says there is work still to be done
  • Commitment to environmental protection seen at home must be extended to infrastructure projects developed overseas, she says
Joyce Msuya, acting head of the UN Environment Programme, says bad infrastructure can have a negative environmental impact. Photo: Simon Song
Joyce Msuya, acting head of the UN Environment Programme, says bad infrastructure can have a negative environmental impact. Photo: Simon Song
The United Nations’ environment chief has appealed to China to apply the same environmental standards to infrastructure projects it develops overseas under its Belt and Road Initiative as it does to those built on its own soil.
“We know from history, bad infrastructure can lead to negative environmental impact,” said Joyce Msuya, acting executive director of the UN Environment Programme. “Given China’s record on and interest in environmental protection, we hope and expect they will apply the same spirit as they invest in developing countries.”
While acknowledging the value of infrastructure building in developing nations, Msuya said it was equally important to consider the environmental implications of 
belt and road

schemes.

“We are interested in working with member countries that have been beneficiaries [of Chinese investment] to see what concerns, if any, what risks, if any, they see,” she said in an interview on the sidelines of an event in Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang province, to mark World Environment Day, which fell on Wednesday.
Scores of countries are involved in Beijing’s multibillion-dollar belt and road plan in one way or another, but as it has expanded so too have the concerns over its environmental impact.
In late 2017, the WWF issued a report claiming that the development of two motorway projects in Myanmar would have a negative environmental impact on about half of its population.
China ‘facing uphill struggle’ in fight against pollution

On China’s efforts to tackle pollution at home, Msuya said that although the move towards a greener economy might require communities to make sacrifices in the short term, these would be outweighed by the long-term benefits.

China has been fighting a “war on pollution” since 2013 but as 

economic pressures

have grown so too have concerns that industry unfriendly environmental efforts might be relegated to the back burner. The nation’s gross domestic product grew by just 6.6 per cent in 2018, its slowest rate since 1990, and for the past year it has been embroiled in a stinging trade war with the United States.

China has been fighting a “war on pollution” since 2013. Photo: Simon Song
China has been fighting a “war on pollution” since 2013. Photo: Simon Song

Msuya said that while Beijing had done a good job in improving air quality, it still had some way to go on issues like water, soil and noise pollution.

“China is quite diverse, with many provinces … so the scale of the challenge of dealing with pollution is more complex,” she said. “[But] by building on its experience of cleaning the air, I have full confidence in the Chinese government.”

Pollution in northern China up 16 per cent in January as industrial activity spikes

According to a report issued by Beijing on Wednesday, average levels of PM2.5 – the tiny airborne particles that are particularly harmful to health – in more than 70 cities across

China fell by an average of 42 per cent in the five years through 2018.

Smog levels in the Chinese capital fell 43 per cent in the period, but the average reading in the city last year was still more than five times the World Health Organisation’s recommended safe level.

Air quality was the main theme of the Hangzhou event.

Msuya has first-hand experience of Beijing’s air quality having worked in the city as the World Bank Group’s regional coordinator for East Asia and the Pacific between 2011 and 2014.

“When I moved to Beijing in 2011, I honestly didn’t know how bad the air pollution was.

My son was six at the time and I always made sure he wore a mask when he went out to play,” she said.

“Fast forward to now, and China has shown us that the problem of air pollution can be tackled if everyone participates.”

Source: SCMP

27/04/2019

Cherish the love: China and France should avoid causing unnecessary upset, Beijing says

  • Foreign Minister Wang Yi tells French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian the two sides should ensure ties ‘continue to develop in a healthy way’
  • Meeting comes after Paris angers Beijing by sending a warship through the sensitive Taiwan Strait
Paris upset Beijing earlier this month by sending its frigate Vendémiaire through the Taiwan Strait. Photo: Reuters
Paris upset Beijing earlier this month by sending its frigate Vendémiaire through the Taiwan Strait. Photo: Reuters
France and China should value their strong relationship and not take actions that disrupt it, China’s foreign minister told his French counterpart on Thursday, just days after 
Beijing expressed its upset

at Paris for sending a warship through the Taiwan Strait earlier this month.

Speaking at a meeting on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, Wang Yi told Jean-Yves Le Drian that the two nations “should cherish their hard-won and good relations”.
“[We should] avoid unnecessary disruptions and ensure that bilateral relations continue to develop in a healthy and progressive way,” he was quoted as saying in a statement issued on Friday by the Chinese foreign ministry.

Le Drian responded by saying France was willing to cooperate with China to “maintain the growth momentum of bilateral relations”, according to the statement.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi that Paris was willing to cooperate with Beijing. Photo: Xinhua
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi that Paris was willing to cooperate with Beijing. Photo: Xinhua
The

French frigate Vendémiaire

passed through the Taiwan Strait on April 6. It had been expected to take part in a naval parade on Tuesday to celebrate the 70th anniversary of China’s navy, but Beijing withdrew the invitation in response to the action.

The defence ministry in Paris said this week it had been “in close contact with the Chinese authorities” about the incident.
EU’s connectivity plan ‘more sustainable’ than belt and road

A spokesman for the European Union said the trading bloc was committed to a rules-based maritime order based on international law, including freedom of navigation, and that it was in regular contact with the member states.

Chinese academics said that after the transit by the French warship it was likely that more Western countries would make their presence known in the region and that Beijing should remain vigilant.

“France wants to show that as a great power it has a broader concern in Asia-Pacific beyond trade and other ‘soft’ fields,” said Shi Yinhong, an international relations professor at Renmin University of China in Beijing.

“And it will exert its right to free navigation in any international waters regardless of China’s position or sensitivities.”

The Taiwan Strait is about 160km (100 miles) wide and divides mainland China from Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a breakaway province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary. The US, meanwhile, is bound by law to help the self-ruled defend itself and frequently sends warships through the strait in a show of support.

Shi said that US President Donald Trump’s Indo-Pacific strategy, which regards China as a “strategic competitor”, might draw “opportunistic associates” – like France and Britain – into the region.

“Some other states could be encouraged by the French action to do the same,” he said. “But [they] may also be deterred by China’s probable military and diplomatic responses, which would be determined on a case-by-case basis.”

Putin gets behind Xi’s belt and road plan in face of US hostility

Zhu Feng, a professor of international relations at Nanjing University, said France’s conduct was intended to show the “shared concern of Western allies” regarding the security aspect of cross-strait relations.

“China must be vigilant to the new tendency [for nations] to internationalise the Taiwan Strait issue,” he said, though added that the transit of the French warship was “more of a symbolic gesture than actual action”.

Philippe Le Corre, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington and former special assistant for international affairs to the French defence minister, said the Taiwan Strait did not belong to any one nation and, therefore, ships were within their rights to sail through it without prior authorisation.

“From Paris’s point of view, like the rest of the EU, the principles of freedom of navigation are critical to the world economy and trade, therefore there is no reason why European navies or even commercial ships should not be allowed to cross the Taiwan Strait,” he said.

“This is EU policy, not just France or the UK. It has nothing to do with the US, it is international law.”

Source: SCMP

27/04/2019

Europe wants to deal with China as a group – German minister

BEIJING (Reuters) – Major European Union countries want to deal with China as a group rather than sign bilateral agreements as individual states, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on Friday, attending a summit in Beijing on China’s Belt and Road plan.

European countries have generally signalled their willingness to participate in China’s programme to re-create the old Silk Road joining China with Asia and Europe.

But key states like France and Germany have said China must in turn improve access and fair competition for foreign firms.

Italy in March became the first major Western government to back China’s initiative, even as some EU leaders cautioned Rome against rushing into the arms of Beijing.

 

“In the big EU states we have agreed that we don’t want to sign any bilateral memorandums but together make necessary arrangements between the greater European Economic Area and the economic area of Greater China,” Altmaier said when asked if he could see Germany signing a similar bilateral agreement to Italy.

A spokesman for Altmaier’s office later said he was talking about general arrangements and not specifically the Belt and Road.

The minister said he was encouraged by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s pledge to pursue free trade, multilateralism and sustainability as part of Belt and Road.

“We will take this promise seriously” and make suggestions on how to achieve these goals in both Asia and Europe, he said.

China is a partner and a competitor at the same time and the EU must define its interests, Altmaier said.

“And for that we need an industry strategy. For that we need our own connectivity strategy,” he added.

Source: Reuters

13/04/2019

Premier Li proposes multiple measures for future China-CEEC cooperation

CROATIA-DUBROVNIK-LI KEQIANG-CHINA-CEEC-MEETING

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (front) attends the eighth leaders’ meeting of China and Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) in Dubrovnik, Croatia, April 12, 2019. (Xinhua/Shen Hong)

DUBROVNIK, Croatia, April 12 (Xinhua) — Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Friday proposed a series of measures to promote cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs).

Li made the proposal when addressing the eighth China-CEEC leaders’ meeting in the Croatian city of Dubrovnik.

Li noted that Chinese President Xi Jinping recently made successful visits to three European countries, injecting new impetus into deepening development of the China-European Union (EU) comprehensive strategic partnership.

As part of the China-EU relations, the China-CEEC cooperation mechanism has been conducive to promoting European integration process and advancing the China-EU ties, the premier said.

Members of the mechanism stick to the principles of mutual respect and equal treatment, uphold the spirit of openness and inclusiveness, follow international rules and EU laws and regulations, and respect the responsibilities and obligations that EU members among the 16 CEECs need to fulfill, Li said.

The cooperation mechanism attaches equal importance to trade and investment, and combines economic cooperation with people-to-people exchanges, having not only promoted common development but also facilitated Europe’s balanced development, said Li.

The mechanism has become a major pillar for China-EU comprehensive cooperation, he added.

Noting that the leaders’ meeting takes “Building new bridges through openness, innovation and partnership” as its theme, Li called for making the bridge of openness broader, the bridge of innovation clearer, and the bridge of partnership more solid.

On future development of the China-CEEC cooperation, Li called for jointly defending multilateral trade system, upholding such basic principle as openness, transparency, inclusiveness and non-discrimination, and sticking to the direction of trade liberalization.

On expanding trade volume, Li said China is willing to import more high-quality agricultural products from the CEECs and make it easier for such products to be exported to China.

Calling for joint efforts to build the Belt and Road, the premier said China is willing to enhance the alignment between its development strategies and those of the CEECs, stick to the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and better draw on complementary advantages, so as to achieve win-win results and common prosperity.

Urging greater efforts to boost innovation cooperation, Li said China is willing to work with the 16 countries to conduct joint research, expand scientific and technological exchanges, and cultivate growth points through innovation cooperation.

The premier also stressed the importance of jointly safeguarding a fair, just and non-discriminatory market environment.

Li also called for continued efforts to promote cooperation in the fields of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and industrial park building, adding that China and the CEECs have held cross-border matching events of SMEs, and launched a website for the SMEs coordination mechanism.

Calling for stepped-up efforts to conduct people-to-people exchanges, Li said China and the CEECs should take the Year of Education and Youth Exchange as an opportunity to enhance exchanges and cooperation among universities and colleges and promote mutual understanding and friendship between young people.

Announcing that China will host the ninth China-CEEC leaders’ meeting in 2020, Li said he expects CEEC leaders to attend the meeting and jointly sketch out a new blueprint for the China-CEEC cooperation.

On their part, CEEC leaders said, after the launch of the cooperation mechanism, the CEECs and China have seen their pragmatic cooperation bearing remarkable fruits, political mutual trust continuously strengthened, trade and investment rapidly growing, and cooperation in fields including education, tourism and culture continuously deepened.

The cooperation mechanism has continuously shown new vigor and vitality and become an important cross-region cooperation platform featuring openness, inclusiveness, mutual benefits and win-win results, they said.

The mechanism has not only boosted economic growth of each country and enhanced the wellbeing of their people, but also effectively promoted the overall EU-China relations, they said.

All sides are ready to take this meeting as an opportunity to fully support the implementation of CEEC-China cooperation projects, further promote connectivity and infrastructure building, actively participate in the joint building of the Belt and Road, continuously expand trade volume, jointly safeguard multilateralism and free trade, increase personnel exchanges, and expand exchanges and cooperation at local levels and in fields including tourism, health, sports, and think tanks, the CEEC leaders said.

After the meeting, China and the CEECs jointly published The Dubrovnik Guidelines for Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries, and the leaders witnessed the signing of more than 10 cooperation agreements.

Greece was accepted as a full member of the China-CEEC cooperation mechanism, according to a decision made by the meeting.

Later on Friday, Li and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic met the press after the leaders’ meeting.

Both leaders spoke highly of the new progress made in the China-CEEC cooperation and called the meeting efficient, pragmatic, fruitful and successful.

Speaking to reporters, Li said, faced with the current complicated international situations, all sides should work to safeguard multilateralism and free trade.

As a cross-regional cooperation platform, the China-CEEC cooperation mechanism now serves as an important part of and a beneficial supplement to the China-EU cooperation, Li said.

Source: Xinhua

07/04/2019

Greece says EU’s China concerns must not harm its economic interests

  • Deputy prime minister Yannis Dragasakis hopes ‘logic will prevail’ ahead of EU-China summit
  • Affirms Greek support for Beijing’s belt and road plan for global trade
Greece’s deputy prime minister Yannis Dragasakis says the European Union’s suspicion about China is in danger of becoming a “self-fulfilling prophecy”. Photo: Alamy
Greece’s deputy prime minister Yannis Dragasakis says the European Union’s suspicion about China is in danger of becoming a “self-fulfilling prophecy”. Photo: Alamy
The deputy prime minister of Greece has warned that European Union suspicion of China is in danger of becoming a “self-fulfilling prophecy” while reaffirming his country’s support for Beijing’s controversial “Belt and Road Initiative”.
In an exclusive interview with theSouth China Morning Post in Athens on Monday, Yannis Dragasakis said he hoped logic would prevail in the EU’s relationship with the world’s second-largest economy.
“We would like to see the EU having good relations with China,” he said.
“Seriously, we should start [the discussion about China] from the opposite end, which is, what are the needs and problems that we can work on with China?”
Dragasakis was speaking ahead of the annual summit between the EU and China in Brussels on Wednesday, which this year will take place against a backdrop of suspicion among some EU countries over Beijing’s political and commercial ambitions in the region.
Europe has been divided over whether to work with China’s enormous belt and road plan, which aims to link China by sea and land with southeast and central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa, through an infrastructure network along the lines of the old Silk Road.
Italy becomes first G7 nation to sign up for China’s belt and road plan

Washington has criticised the scheme as a “vanity project”, and the EU looks set to refer to China as a “strategic rival”, with some European leaders fearing Beijing’s diplomatic manoeuvres could derail unity among member states.

Last month Italy, which is grappling with its third recession in a decade, became the first G7 nation to join the belt and road programme, in a bid to boost exports and upgrade its port facilities.

Last year Greece – ranked second lowest in economic competitiveness within the EU by the World Economic Forum in 2018 – signed up to the scheme, after years of relying on China to help it through its own financial crisis.

Chinese state-owned shipping company Cosco bought a 51 per cent stake in Pireaus Port, Greece’s most important infrastructure hub in 2016 with an option to buy another 16 per cent after five years.

China aims to make the port the “dragon head” of its belt and road programme, serving as a gateway for its cargo to Europe and North Africa.

Will Greece be China’s bridge to the rest of Europe?

With its warming relationship with Beijing, Athens has, at times, departed from EU positions on China.

In 2016, Greece helped stop the EU from issuing a unified statement against Chinese aggression in the South China Sea. The following year, Athens stopped the bloc from condemning China’s human rights record. Days later, it opposed tougher screening on China’s investments in Europe.

Dragasakis was clear that the EU should not devise any policies that may hinder Greece’s ability to revive its economy.

“Greece badly needs investment. We hope logic will prevail at the end of the day, which means we should take advantage of all opportunities and build on these prospects to further our collaboration,” he said.

“Greece will keep following a multidimensional policy, an inclusive policy, without excluding anyone.”

Dragasakis hit back at France and Germany for treating China as a geopolitical rival, while simultaneously signing up to trade agreements with Beijing.

Days before receiving Chinese President Xi Jinping in France last month, President Emmanuel Macron declared that the “time of European naivety” towards China was over – a remark the Greek deputy prime minister described as “interesting” during the interview.

“It’s so interesting, yes. Mr Macron, despite his statement, actually signed very large-scale agreements with China,” he said, adding: “Germany, the same”.

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Elysee Palace in Paris last month. Photo: AFP
French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Elysee Palace in Paris last month. Photo: AFP

Macron invited German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to his meeting in Paris with Xi, where the four sought to reassure each other over economic cooperation between the European trading bloc and China.

Dragasakis said Greece’s relations with China were based on “very solid ground” with the two countries sharing complementary interests, particularly through the belt and road plan.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is understood to be considering joining Foreign Minister George Katrougalos at the belt and road summit in Beijing, which will be hosted by Xi later this month.

More than 40 heads of state are expected to attend the summit, with China’s foreign ministry recently saying that Europe had started to see the value of the scheme.

If confirmed, Tsipras’ presence at the summit will be interpreted as an attempt by Greece to consolidate Chinese support in the wake of Italy’s joining of the scheme.

He will also need to mend ties with Beijing, following a recent decision by Greece’s archaeological body to block a plan by Cosco to upgrade facilities at the Piraeus port, throwing the future of the multimillion euro privatisation deal into uncertainty.

Portugal’s support for China’s belt and road plan ‘bad news’ for EU

Dragasakis said there were strong prospects for the future relationship between Greece and China because of the two countries’ reciprocal interest.

Relations with other Asian countries, while not yet as close as Greek ties with China, would continue to be developed, he said.

Dragasakis said Athens would not adopt discriminatory policies against any country as it looked to shore up foreign investments to boost its economy.

India, for instance, has set its sights on Greece as a potential business partner, with President Ram Nath Kovind becoming its first titular head of state to visit Greece last year.

“Relations with India are lagging behind – they are not at the same level as with China, but of course we are mulling further developments with India,” Dragasakis said, adding that Greece would also work more closely with Japan, South Korea and Vietnam.

EU leaders hold out olive branch to Chinese ‘rival’ by saying they want active role in Belt and Road Initiative

EU leaders hold out olive branch to China over belt and road

Read more

China will not divide Europe, senior diplomat says

China will not divide Europe, senior diplomat says

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Beijing calls for ‘objective’ assessment of human rights record.


Source: SCMP

15/02/2019

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi holds talks in Thailand ahead of general election

  • Official will meet his opposite number Don Pramudwinai in Chiang Mai
  • Wang likely to discuss investment projects under Beijing’s ‘belt and road’ plan
PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 February, 2019, 7:17pm
UPDATED : Friday, 15 February, 2019, 7:17pm

9 Feb 2019

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in Thailand on Friday for high-level talks likely aimed at reassuring Beijing about its investments in the Southeast Asian country ahead of a long-delayed general election, analysts said.

During his two-day trip to the northern city of Chiang Mai, Wang will meet his counterpart Don Pramudwinai, Thailand’s ministry of foreign affairs said on its website.

Zhang Mingliang, a Southeast Asian affairs specialist at Jinan University, said China was concerned the upcoming poll might have an impact on its interests.

“The recent events regarding the sudden changes to Thailand’s prime ministerial candidate could affect the country’s political stability and affect its relationship with China,” he said.

He was referring to the fact that on Wednesday, Thailand’s Election Commission asked the constitutional court to dissolve the Thai Raksa Chart, a political party allied with the powerful Shinawatra clan, for putting forward Princess Ubolratan as candidate for prime minister.

The move came just days after Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn, Ubolratan’s younger brother, issued a royal decree denying her bid to become prime minister hours after her name was submitted.
Zhang said that only by ensuring the political stability of Thailand could China’s interests in the country and Southeast Asia as a whole be protected.

“In the past, political instability meant Thailand’s leaders were unable to attend foreign events such as meetings with Asean and China,” he said.

“If there is political stability in Thailand … that can aid its contribution to Asean and its ties with China.

“China’s relationship with Thailand is the best among the Asean nations, with the least conflict of interests,” he said.

Concerns over China’s overseas investments are growing and there have been accusations that Beijing is using them to gain political leverage.

China and Thailand reached an agreement in 2017 for the construction of Thailand’s first high-speed rail line. Once completed it will run from Bangkok to Nong Khai on the Thai border with Laos.

The line is seen as a key project under the “Belt and Road Initiative”, Beijing’s plan to connect China with countries across Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Elections in Southeast Asia have proved troublesome for the initiative, however. Soon after being re-elected as prime minister of Malaysia last year, Mahathir Mohamad’s government cancelled the China-funded US$20 billion East Coast Rail Link. Officials later backtracked on the decision, leaving its future in the air.

Xu Liping, a specialist in Southeast Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that Thailand, as this year’s chair of Association of Southeast Asian Nations, has a crucial role to play in promoting China’s relationship with other members of the group.

“Ensuring the continuity of China-Thailand ties after the elections in March will also be on the agenda in Wang’s meeting,” he said.

Meanwhile, China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi, a member of the Communist Party Politburo, travelled to Germany on Friday to attend the Munich Security Conference, which runs until Sunday.

Source: SCMP

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