Other commonly used disaggregated growth meas

ures are consistent with the top-line measured GDP growth number. For example, production and

supply of electricity, thermal power, gas and water increased by 7.1 percent in the quarter. Pl

us, value-added index of transport, storage and post increased by 7.3 percent.

A closer look at the highest growth sectors shows that the economy is moving toward the long-term goal of shif

ting away from a development strategy based on heavy investment in industry and

infrastructure to one based on services and domestic consumption. Also, more productive industries that tur

n out higher-value added goods are growing at a much faster rate than traditional heavy industry.

Among large companies, State-owned enterprises grew 4.5 percent yea

r-on-year while shareholding enterprises grew almost twice as fast, at 7.8 percent. So, stro

ng progress is being made toward the goal of promoting private enterprise, which was re

inforced by many policies announced at last month’s meeting of the National People’s Congress.

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Medical experts said bills for patients requiring 29

of the 55 rare disease medicines available on the Chinese mainland

have been partly or fully covered by the country’s medical insurance system.

The average medical bill for rare disease patients is 200,000 yuan ($

29,700) a year and more than 40 percent of patients have received no medical tre

atment due to the high prices, according to Li Linkang, China Alliance of Rate Diseases executive director.

Biogen, the United Sates-based pharmaceutical compa

ny that developed the drug, said that it is talking to the C

hinese government, the medical and patient communities, and charitable orga

nizations in a bid to establish a co-payment system to make the drug available to more patients.

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Relevant government departments have begun inves

igations into the source of the vaccines to find out whether they were fake vaccines or smuggled in from overseas.

The HPV 9-valent vaccine, only officially available at Boao Super Hospital in the Boao Lech

eng International Medical Tourism Pilot Zone in Hainan since May last year, was developed for women bet

ween the ages of 16 and 26 to deal with diseases like cervical cancer caused by nine types of HPV.

The Boao pilot zone is the first place on the Chinese mainlan

d allowed to import HPV 9-valent vaccines and other drugs without ne

eding central government permission, in line with the nine preferential polices granted to it by the Stat

e in 2013, such as special permissions in importing medical technology, medical equipment and medicine.

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China welcomes financial institutions around the worl

 to participate in financing Belt and Road projects, Xi said, adding that multiple participants will bring common benefits.

Xi announced that China will support 5,000 people from innovative sectors in Belt and Road

countries in conducting exchanges, training programs and joint research in the next five years.

Xi called for joint efforts to facilitate trade and investment and oppose protectio

nism, saying that the flow of products, funds, technology and people can propel forces for economic growth.

According to Xi, more than 150 countries and internat

ional organizations have signed cooperation documents to jointly build the Belt and Road.

The BRI has opened new space for global economic growth and

built a new platform for international trade and investment, Xi said.

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Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the Singapore Institut

e of International Affairs, noted Xi’s emphasis on high-quality development, free t

rade and people-to-people bonds, “all of which are sorely needed around the world”.

“The shift toward high-quality development is a natural extension of what China has been doing for the past few ye

ars. Now that the BRI is five years old, it’s about time to upgrade quality joint development,” he said.

“China is trying to address the concerns that have been raised sinc

e the last Belt and Road Forum two years ago. One of these concerns is the need for infr

astructure projects to be more responsive to the local circumstances of BRI member countries.”

Duncan Freeman, a research fellow at the EU-China Research Centre at t

he College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium, said infrastructure is important for economic gro

wth, so building infrastructure and building connectivity and efficient infrastructure are important.

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China to support 5,000 people for BRI innovation excha

China will support 5,000 people from innovation sector in Belt and Road countries i

n conducting exchanges, training programs and joint researches in the next five years.

Sustainable development under BRI stressed

China will work with other parties to promote a coalition of sustainab

le cities and an international coalition for green development under the Belt and Road Initiative.

China to invite 10,000 representatives of political parties, think tanks, NGOs from B&R countries

A total of 10,000 representatives of political parties, think ta

nks and non-governmental organizations from count

ries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative will be invited to China for exchanges in the next five years.

China to allow foreign businesses in more sectors with controlling or full stake

China will allow foreign investors to operate businesses in more sec

tors with controlling or full stake. China will roll out a new batch of pilot free trade zones.

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Yi pledged to use more market-based commercial fund

 He also said improving transparency for projects’ financing is needed, especially for green

financing, and using local currencies in BRI investments to curb exchange rate risks. “The opening of local curr

ency-denominated bond markets will effectively attract long-term funds and reduce risks of currency mismatches,” he said.

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fu

nd, said at the forum that China’s increased focus on the long-term success of BRI projects and the

BRI debt sustainability framework “are very welcome steps in the right direction”.

The further opening-up of China’s financial sector, such as the b

ond market, will enable diversification and foster renminbi internationalization, she said.

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The book includes 42 articles drawn from speeches an

 public remarks made by Xi from September 2013 to July 2018.

Since Xi proposed the BRI in 2013, he has spoken about the initiative on many occasions.

The discourses have provided guidance for the country to develop international cooperation, i

mprove global economic governance and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Russia – There is no alternative to the peaceful solution of nuclear and

other issues on the Korean Peninsula, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday, follow

ing a meeting with top leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong-un.

Russia, for its part, is ready to continue cooperation to reduce tensions on the peninsu

a, and to strengthen security in Northeast Asia as a whole, said Putin at a reception in honor of Kim.

Putin said he was convinced that with active participation of the international community and all inte

rested states, the goal of ensuring lasting peace, stability and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula can be achieved.

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The reception followed a meeting of Russian and DPRK

delegations, which was preceded by a one-on-one meeting between Putin and Kim.

Kim arrived here in his train on Wednesday for his first meeting with Putin.

The meeting came at a time when tensions were growing between the DPRK and t

he United States.At the end of 2018, Australia became another “surveillance state” with the passing of the T

elecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment Bill or the Assistance and Access Bill 2018.

Last week, the DPRK test-fired a new tactical guided weapon and requested Washi

ngton to exclude U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from future negotiations.

In response, Pompeo swept aside Pyongyang’s demand ab

out replacing him by someone “more careful and mature” to deal with the talks.

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Some facts may be twisted and distorted to sensatio

nal proportions. But nothing can obliterate the tangible benefits the development initiative has brought. In less than six

years, the nascent Belt and Road are already changing development landscapes in multiple places and dime

nsions. Thanks to the initiative, East Africa has seen its first expressway, the Maldives its first cross-sea bridge, Belar

us its own car-manufacturing enterprise, and landlocked Kazakhstan finally has access to the sea.

And while China-Cambodia trade may not look to be in perfect balan

ce at this point, Belt and Road cooperation between the two neighbors is laying a solid fo

undation for the latter’s future progress. Take the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone for instance. An exem

plary project under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, it is expected to host 300 enterprises, create 100,0

00 industrial jobs, and serve as a resident-friendly new community housing 200,000 people.

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