he premier attached great importance to such measur

asures as reducing the rate of the value-added tax, increasing the

tax exemption for research costs and reforming individual income tax.

The measures should not only ease the tax burden for manufacturing com

panies but also reduce taxes for construction enterprises, which provide a great num

ber of jobs, Li said, adding that all industries should be covered by the benefits of tax cuts.

Li pledged more efforts to urge government departments and State-owned e

nterprises to pay off their debts so that the effects of tax reduction are not diminished.

The government will take further measures to deepen reform and opening-up, en

courage innovation and entrepreneurship and promote fair competition, Li said, adding that com

panies should also seize the opportunity to promote high-quality growth.

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The legislation states that Washington should condu

ct “regular sales” of “defense articles” to Taiwan and back its participation in international organizations.

“We urge the US side to keep its promise, abide by the one-­China policy a

nd the three joint communiques, and block the bill’s progress,” Geng said.

He urged the US to “appropriately handle the Taiwan question to avoid serious da

mage to Sino-US cooperation in key areas, and the peace and security of the region”.

Experts said the bill will further damage Sino-US relations, and the confr

ontational approach taken by the US against China will damage regional peace and security.

Yuan Zheng, director of US foreign relations research at the Institute of American Studies under the Chinese Academy of

Social Sciences, said the recent passage of US naval vessels through the Taiwan Straits, arms sales and

political support to Taiwan are meant to help Taiwan separatists and pressure Beijing.

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President hails Nepal’s participation in BRIing holds a w

China and Nepal should strengthen cooperation on infrastr

ucture construction and continue to promote the construction of the China-Nepal c

ross-border economic cooperation zone, President Xi Jinping said in Beijing on Monday.

Xi made the remark during his meeting with his Nepali counterpart, Bidhya Devi Bhandari, who is on a nine-day state visit to China.

China greatly values its ties with Nepal, and supports Nepal in maintaining its national independence, state sovereignty and te

rritorial integrity as well as exploring a path of development that suits its national conditions, Xi said.

Also, China appreciates Nepal’s firm and long-standing support over issues related to China’s core inte

rests and major concerns and its active participation in jointly building the Belt and Road, Xi s

aid. He added that China will continue to support Nepal’s economic and social development.

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investment in environment-friendly urban mas

 transit. According to NBS preliminary estimates, the share of consumption of clean energy such as natural gas, hydropo

wer, nuclear power and wind power in total energy consumption in the first quarter was 1.5 percentage points hi

gher than that of the same period last year. Energy consumption per unit of GDP went down by 2.7 percent year-on-year.

Total investment in fixed aassets grew by 6.3 percent, with private invest

ment growing at 6.4 percent, slightly faster than the overall number. This is es

pecially significant in the light of last year’s fears that private investment in the econo

my might collapse. So, the government’s efforts to strengthen the private sector appear to have borne fruit.

Investment in high-tech manufacturing rose by 11.4 percent and investme

nt in high-tech services rose 19.3 percent, both far higher than overall investment gro]

wth. This shows that the shift toward advanced manufacturing and services is well underway.

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They maintained that Belt and Road construction wi

l make positive contributions in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations.

The leaders also pledged to pursue trade and investment liberalization

and facilitation, reject protectionism and unilateralism and uphold the rule-based mul

tilateral system with the World Trade Organization at the center, according to the communique.

Xi told reporters that the consensus reached by the leaders has set the right course for the development of the BRI.

Our shared goal is that we work together to make the interconnectivity among various countries more efficient, foster mo

re robust economic growth, develop even closer international cooperation and enable people to live a better life, he said.

Xi also said BRI cooperation projects will be market-based. To ensure s

ustainable development, the leaders agreed to promote a level playing field for business com

munities and create a nondiscriminatory business environment, he said.

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Regarding the second Belt and Road Forum for Intern

ational Cooperation, to be held in Beijing on Thursday through Saturday, S

ong said the ministry will help deepen economic and trade cooperation with other coun

tries. “China will build more free trade zones with countries that are willing to do so,” Song added.

“As for the existing free trade zones, we will reduce administrative barriers in trade

and investment and push the formation of a big Belt and Road marketplace.”

While some critics have argued that the initiative will lead countries i

nto debt traps, Song said debt can be solved through joint efforts to promote the devel

opment of BRI economies. “Even though some countries may have high debt levels, as their pace of indus

trialization, urbanization and modernization accelerates, their debts will gradually decrease.”

Joe Kaeser, president and CEO of Siemens AG, said, “If an initiative like the BRI unifies more than two-thirds of the global

population, it will create massive infrastructure and economic movement that will build its own rules.”

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He said seeing is believing and he welcomes the stude

nts to visit China in the future.Kendra Le, a Niles North freshman, was thrilled about Xi’s response letter, the Chicago Tribune reported.

“I was surprised, very surprised,” Le was quoted in the report as say

ing. “It was an honor to receive a letter from him. It was really nice getting a letter from him.”

The report also said that Zhao Jian, the Chinese consul general in Chicago, personally

delivered the letter to a gathering of students enrolled in Chinese classes at Niles North on April 3.

Serena Meyers, a Niles North senior taking her first year of Chinese after thr

ee terms of Spanish, was not only happy to receive the response, but also ple

ased at how the Chinese leader made an effort to answer the questions her classmates posed.

“I was absolutely surprised,” she told the Chicago Tribune. “He has a lot to do and it was a

n honor he wrote back to us.”The Niles North High School began offering Mandarin courses in 2008.

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Taylor said the US will ultimately “pay the price for

this”, in the form of an incomplete and inaccurate understanding of China by barring scholars wh

o have great familiarity with US politics and policymaking and have the ear of Chinese officials.

Douglas H. Paal, vice-president of the Asia Program at the Carn

egie Endowment for International Peace, said it appears that the scholars who best unders

tand the US and communicate well with China’s leaders are being denied visas or threatened with denial.

“I don’t see how this is in America’s interest,” Paal said.

Some US media have mentioned that China also denies visas to

US academics, but Taylor and Paal said that has not been

their experience when applying for Chinese visas to visit China for academic exchanges.

In a news conference on Thursday, when asked if China rejected a visa application fr

om an adviser to US President Donald Trump, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang

said Chinese embassies and consulates overseas always handle visa applications according to law.

China welcomes cultural exchanges between China and the US an

d will actively promote mutual understanding between the two countries, Lu said.

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Bolstering high-end sectors part of capital’s plan to see

After 40 years of high-speed growth, China’s economy ha

s entered a high-quality development phase. Starting today, China Daily will feature a series of reports to sh

ow the new landscape across the country. This is the first installment of the series.

Beijing’s municipal government has been making efforts to develop high-end industries suc

h as 5G, artificial intelligence and the industrial internet in order to build the city into the nation’s scientific and innova

tion center, which is a core strategy of the capital’s high-quality growth plan, a senior officials said recently.

Lin Keqing, executive vice-mayor of Beijing, said the city is aimin

g to make new information technology and medical health twin drivers of the municipality’s growth.

“Beijing will make better use of resources to develop the biomedical indus

try and extend its value chain,” Lin said. “We have unveiled an international medical-use ro

botics innovation center in Zhongguancun, China’s Silicon Valley, and a group of companies in the sector.”

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What really matters is what the initiative is all about and

 how the cooperation it has been bringing about can benefit those countries and regions involved and the world economy at large.

Being proposed by China, it is natural that China should have taken the lead in advancing the

Belt and Road, but it has always sought to make clear that the initiative is open and inclusive.

With more countries and international organizations getting involved, the initiative will undoubted

ly become a bigger and more diversified platform with increasing opportunities for multilateral cooperation.

Those who continue to speak ill of it, rather than presenting an obst

acle to it, actually do it a service by highlighting its possible shortcomings and the diffi

culties it may encounter ahead, which will better help the participants address them.

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