We support the BRI globally because it’s a big project wi

ith so many applications in different parts of industry and the economy, and we want agreements, project by project.”

Raffarin was appointed special envoy on China affairs by French President Emmanuel Mac

ron. He pointed out that it is not pragmatic to have an agreement about every industrial sector, because, as sovereig

n states, both countries need to protect the interests of their own businesses and industries.

“It’s easier to go project by project, and, after some experience, we can add a larger vision,” Raffarin said.

His comments came after Italy signed a BRI memorandum of understanding with China during

Xi’s visit to Rome last week to become the first G7 country to join the global infrastructure plan.

According to China’s Ministry of Commerce, from January to November 2018, China’s direct investment in France reached $330 mil

lion. China’s growing investment in Europe has prompted concerns in the West, which Raffarin thinks are misplaced.

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France pays high attention to the Belt and Road Initiative

regards China as an important strategic cooperation partner, and appreciates China’s im

portant role in and contribution to climate change and other international affairs, Macron said.

The French president pledged to further strengthen strategic communication and collaboration

with China, and bring into full play the leading role of the France-China comprehensive strategic part

nership, so as to jointly safeguard multilateralism and promote world peace and prosperity.

France is the last leg of Xi’s three-nation Europe tour that has taken him to Italy and Monaco.

his year marks the 40th anniversary of the Joint Communiqué on the Estab

lishment of Diplomatic Relations signed by Beijing and Washington that acknowledges t

here is only one China and Taiwan is part of China. It is also the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act the US Congress passed to permit u

nofficial relations with Taipei to continue and the US to sell arms and military equipment to the island.

For 40 years, US administrations have frequently used the Act as a political card to influence Sino-US ties and interfere in China’s internal aff

airs, as well as to provide “spiritual” support for the island authorities that seek “security” guarantees from the US.

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But by allowing Tsai Ing-wen, the island’s “pro-independe

ence” leader, to stop over in Hawaii on her way back to the island after an eight-day tour of thr

ee Pacific island nations this week, Washington is breaching all established protocols and violating the 1979

Joint Communiqué. Beijing lodged “stern representations” with Washington on Thursday against Tsai’s transit in Hawaii.

“We have consistently and resolutely opposed the United States or other countries which

have diplomatic relations with China arranging this kind of transit,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ge

ng Shuang said in Beijing. Beijing has urged Washington not to send “Taiwan independence forces any wrong signal”, Geng said.

The method behind fluctuating policy of US

When the US intends to maintain good relations with the mainland, it significantly reduces the

use of or even refrains from mentioning the Taiwan Relations Act. But when Washington wants to put pressure on Beijing to fina

lize a deal or sign a trade agreement in its favor, it promptly resorts to using the Act. At times, even the island’s a

uthorities stir up trouble, prompting the US to use the Act to try and browbeat or incite the mainland.

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effort in loss to Thailand sparks plenty of reaction from frustra

Winning the opening match of the China Cup proved to be a mission impossible for the ho

st national team, which fell 1-0 to Thailand on Thursday night in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

While spectators at the sold-out 60,000-seat Guangxi Sports Center loudly vented their anger a

s the home squad left the pitch, within minutes hundreds of millions of netizens expressed their dis

appointment online, making the loss one of the hottest topics trending on Chinese social media.

By Friday morning, related topics had been viewed more than 10

0 million times on Weibo, generating waves of criticism from fans and media.

“Team China was suppressed by the Thailand squad throughou

t the whole match,” said Han Qiaosheng, a well-known sports commentator and TV anchor.

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In the second half of 2018, total deal number and value

?in all sectors fell back to low levels, and PE/VC investors turned more cautious. Although TMT secto

rs saw a big drop in deal numbers and value compared with the first half amid the lackluster PE/VC inves

tment market, they remained the leaders among all sectors,” Gao Jianbin, PwC China TMT leader said.

The report also said similar to the first half of 2018, the num

ber of PE/VC deals involving startups was the biggest among all categories in the second half, while compan

ies in the expansionary period received the largest investment in terms of deal value. Investors adopted a strate

gy to avoid risks by mainly investing in mature projects that had survived market competition and were in stable development.

“As China officially launched an innovation initiative for the integrated circuit industry an

d a government IC industry fund raised 150 billion yuan ($22.4 billion) in second-phase financing, a number of IC inn

ovation enterprises have been established in the second half of 2018,” said Charline Ni, PwC China technology leader.

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A total of 36 IC-related companies received funding, up

percent from the first half of 2018, and three of them each obtained more than $100 million in investment. Cloud computi

ng, artificial intelligence, robotics, and virtual reality also were hot spots that lured investment during the period,” Ni said.

Ni added although the technology industry is rapidly expanding under favorable polic

es, internet and mobile internet are still the attractive sectors in the TMT industry. Internet finance, ian

ternet-based education, fragmented entertainment and content sharing were hotly pursued by investors.

“The setup of the science and technology innovation board will improv

e the inclusiveness of the domestic capital market towards emerging enterprises, and o

pen a new financing and exit channel. The board offers a new platform for high-tech emerging enterprises, and tech

nology companies are expected to kick off a new wave of IPOs,” Janson Yang, PwC China assurance partner, said.

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The 10 percent deduction rate, which applies to buyers of ag

ricultural goods, will be cut to 9 percent, said the statement.

“The VAT reform is not simply lowering the tax rate, but focusing on the integration with the overall tax reform. It has continued to ma

ke progress toward the long-term goal of establishing a modern VAT system, and it also leaves room for cutting the number of VAT brac

kets from three to two in the future,” said Wang Jianfan, director of the department of taxation under the Ministry of Finance.

To implement the statutory taxation principle, China will also accelerate legislation to deepen VAT reform, Wang said.

The joint statement came after Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday that China will imp

lement a series of measures to cut VAT rates and ease the tax burden in almost all industries.

Earlier this month, Li said in his 2019 Government Work Repo

rt that VAT reform was key to improving the tax system and achieving better income distribution.

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The office was established after Kim and South Korean Preside

  nt Moon Jae-in met at the DMZ for an historic summit last year, which was follow

ed by a meeting between Kim and US President Donald Trump in Singapore.

  Pyongyang said it would notify Seoul regarding “further practical matters in the future.”

  In the statement, the Unification Ministry said South Korea regrets the decisi

on, and urged the North to return soon and continue the work being done at the liaison office towards a full peace settlement.

  ”We regard such a withdrawal as very sad and unfortunate (and) we hop

e that the North will return shortly and hope that the liaison contact office will operate nor

mally as soon as possible,” Vice Minister of Unification Chun Hae-sung said at a press conference in Seoul Friday.

  ”We believe that we should take some time to judge (the situation).”

  North Korea’s pull-out Friday from the Kaesong Liason Office has been on cards since Hanoi, given recent

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And while it was perhaps the most blatant attempt by the

  ministration to wade into a foreign contest, it was not the only time the President or his tea

m has weighed in on the domestic politics of other countries. From undercutting British Prime Minis

ter Theresa May during a visit to the United Kingdom to calling attention to protests against French President Emm

anuel Macron, Trump has repeatedly sought to influence the internal affairs of the US’s closest allies — in full public view.

  ”It’s not without precedent that United States leaders have said things that affect politics in other countries, but it is without prece

dent for them to do it as brazenly as Trump has done,” said Joseph Nye, the former dean of Harvard Uni

versity’s Kennedy School of Government. “His style and the degree to which he intervenes are both unprecedented.”

  American administrations have long sought to quietly sway the domestic politics of other countries, whether throu

gh covert influence campaigns or military support. But rarely has a US president so eagerly voiced his opinions or

taken steps to influence another country’s internal affairs, particularly among close US allies.

  Instead — even when an administration’s preferred outcome was widely known or assumed — the White Hou

se maintained an officially neutral stance. A country’s internal affairs were off-limits, at least as a matter of stated position.

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I would have done it much differently. I actually told

  Theresa May how to do it, but she didn’t listen to me,” Trump told the tabloid. “The deal she is striking is a much different deal than the one people voted on.”

  Trump apologized in private to May, one of the rare times he‘s admitted wrong. And tho

ugh he’s expressed a desire to remain diplomatically impartial — “I think we will stay right in our lane,” he sa

id last week when questioned about Brexit — he has nevertheless bemoaned May’s handling of the issue over and over.

  ”I’m surprised at how badly it’s all gone from the standpoint of a negotiation,” he said in the Oval Office last week, mome

nts after suggesting he wouldn’t offer an opinion on the issue. “I gave the prime minister my ideas on how to n

egotiate it. And I think you would’ve been successful. She didn’t listen to that, and that’s fine.”

  A few weeks before, Trump spoke briefly with one of the UK’s most visible pro-Brexit campaig

ners, Nigel Farage, on the sidelines of a conservative conference outside Washington. And he’s ma

intained close ties to the hardline conservatives who have bemoaned May’s handling of the matter.

  Trump wasn’t alone in his criticism. Two of his top confidants — son Donald Trump Jr. and national security adviser John

Bolton — both offered critical views this week of May and her plan to try and delay Britain’s exit from Europe.

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