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Investment from China’s basic pension funds yields about $1.26 billion in 2017

By People’s Daily

China had seen a rate of return on investment of 5.23 percent from its investment of basic pension funds in 2017, and earned an income of about 8.78 billion yuan (about $1.26 billion), the China Securities Journal reported on Monday.

Seniors practice Yoga in Haikou, Hainan province. (Hainan Daily/Zhang Jie)

Investments by pension funds had yielded an accumulative total of 8.82 billion yuan by the end of 2017. The country started to use its basic pension funds for investment in December 2016, according to China’s National Council for Social Security Fund (NCSSF).

By the end of 2017, nine provincial-level regions including Beijing, Henan Province and Shanxi Province had signed contracts with the NCSSF, entrusting a total of 430 billion yuan of basic pension funds for investment.

China’s basic pension funds totaled about 315.5 billion yuan by the end of 2017, among which 29.62 percent of the funds were used for direct investment, while 70.38 percent were entrusted for investment.

According to Lu Aihong, spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, by this September, China had seen 15 provincial-level regions entrust basic pension funds to the NCSSF for investment, with a contract value amounting to 715 billion yuan.

The funds entrusted to the NCSSF have been used for direct investment and entrusted investment, said an executive of the NCSSF, explaining that direct investment mainly comprises bank deposit and equity investment handled directly by the NCSSF, while entrusted investment is run by investment managers entrusted by the NCSSF and usually consists of investment in such areas as domestic stocks, bonds, stock index futures, and treasury bond futures.

“The present market-oriented investment of pension funds in China has shown a tendency for short-term products, both in assessment and investment concepts, which is not good for the preservation and appreciation of funds,” said Dong Keyong, secretary-general of the China Aging Finance Forum, suggesting that the country should seek long-term investment via innovation of financial products for old-age care management and pension funds.

China should gradually allow pension funds to be invested in ports and encourage the research and development of various types of financial products for pension funds such as asset securitization products and real restate investment trusts when conditions permit, said Feng Liying, president of CCB Pension Management Company, China’s first professional pension management company.

Feng also advised that relevant organizations should create more diversified financial products for pension funds, so as to attract customers of different ages and preferences.

China, Panama to cultivate more envoys of friendship

By Zhu Dongjun, Chen Xiaowei (People’s Daily)

  Students at the Instituto Cultural are learning Chinese at a class offered by the Confucius Institute at the University of Panama. (Photo by Zhu Dongjun from People’s Daily)

Instituto Cultural, a school in Panama established nearly 60 years ago, is the first school in the country adopting bi-lingual education in Spanish and English, and also the first one introducing computers and internet. Now, it is taking lead again in Chinese language teaching.

“We planned to launch Mandarin course three years ago. Due to the rising international influence of China, students need to learn Chinese for better development,” said the Katyae Cheverria, principal of the school.

She introduced that the school was distressed since it was hard to find Chinese teachers at the beginning, but the situation was relieved by the building of Confucius Institute after the China and Panama established diplomatic relations.

“Thank all Chinese teachers,” said Cheverria. “We finally had Mandarin classes.”

It is quite surprising that students at the school can speak good Chinese. “At the beginning, some concerned that Chinese language would be too difficult that it might discourage students from learning it. Therefore, we decided to arouse students’ interest by not including the scores of Chinese in their school report,” explained the principal.

Preschool students at the Instituto Cultural play diabolos. (Photo by Zhu Dongjun from People’s Daily)

“But now, students are all fond of Chinese classes and are making outstanding performances,” she added.

“We not only teach Chinese but also Chinese culture. Cultural exchanges will build a heart-to-heart bridge for people from Panama and China. We hope to cultivate more envoys of bilateral friendship,” said Cheverria.

When Yu Xin, a Chinese teacher from the Confucius Institute at the University of Panama brought two diabolos to the classroom, students all showed great enthusiasm. Over 10 children soon crowded around Yu, wearing high expectations and excitement on their faces.

In June 2017, China established diplomatic relations with Panama. Three months after that, the Confucius Institute at the University of Panama was inaugurated. Currently, the institute educates nearly 400 students.

Panama was celebrating two important festivals in early November. But the students maintained high enthusiasm for learning Chinese and requested to continue Chinese classes during the holiday leaves, Wu Junhui, Panamanian Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Panama, told People’s Daily proudly.

Gamboa, a 65-year-old architectural engineer, is the eldest student at the class for beginners at the Confucius Institute. He felt pressured because he was busy with work and learnt slowly, but he never gave up learning Chinese.

“China is developing so fast. I want to go there and have a look. That’s the direct driver of learning Chinese,” said the engineer, who also helped his wife, a Chinese culture lover, with her Chinese.

“I’ve made up my mind that no matter how hard it will be, I’ll always try my best to learn Chinese well,” said Gamboa.

An increasing number of Panamanians from all sectors have started learning Chinese since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations.

“Departments of the Panamanian government, such as tourism, foreign affairs, and commerce, have contacted the Confucius Institute and expressed their hope of starting Chinese classes with the help of the Institute”, Dong Yang, Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Panama.

Highlights of this year’s Singles Day shopping festival in China

A staff member works at the distribution center of an express company in Yinchuan, northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Nov. 12, 2018. (Photo/Xinhua)

The recently concluded Chinese shopping spree known as “Singles Day” or “Double 11″, which takes place on Nov. 11 each year, created record sales of 300 billion yuan (about $43.2 billion), signaled new trends within China’s consumption market.

Besides verifying the fact that consumption is replacing investment and export as the primary driving force of China’s economic growth, the record-breaking sales volume also signaled consumption upgrading across the country.

Statistics show that although products such as clothing, shoes, and bags have always been primary categories of spending, their proportion in the total figure declined from 2013 to 2017, while during the same period more money was spent on digital products, home improvement, beauty and skin care products.

Intelligent technology was popular during this year’s shopping spree, with a cleaning robot, selling for a minimum of 2,000 yuan, seeing a sales growth of 420 percent year-on-year, and products such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and noise-canceling headphones appearing on the shopping lists of younger people, as shown in data released by Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com.

With various companies deepening the integration of their online and offline channels, new retail has provided consumers from across the country with a more accessible shopping experience, boosting development and attracting more consumers from small cities and rural areas.

As indicated by data from China’s Ministry of Commerce, this year, new online users were predominantly young people and residents of China’s third and fourth-tier cities. Statistics also indicate that the post-90s generation has outnumbered the post-80s to become the leading commercial force for the first time.

New retail was put into full-scale operation this year for the first time, according to Tmall.com, initiator of the Double 11 shopping festival, and a B-C shopping website run by the Alibaba Group.

All of Alibaba’s channels and outlets took part in this year’s shopping spree. JD.com also helped get 600,000 offline retail stores involved in the event, whereas Suning, one of the largest retailers in China, made sure that all online and offline outlets fully engaged in the festival.

The Double 11 shopping festival has been transformed from a low price promotion into a shopping spree driven by quality since it began in 2009, and has developed into an experience-driven and service-driven shopping festival, said Hong Kai, vice president of e-commerce research at the global marketing research company Nielsen Corporation.

China’s new economy value increases 13 trillion yuan in 2017

By Lu Ya’nan (People’s Daily)

The value-added output of new industries, new types of business and new business models was about 12.96 trillion yuan (about $1.87 trillion) in 2017, accounting for 15.7 percent of China’s GDP, up 0.4 percentage points from 2016, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Thursday.

In current prices, China’s new economy grew 14.1 percent in 2017, outpacing the GDP growth in current price by 2.9 percentage points, according to the NBS.

New economy refers to new industries, new types of business and new business models emerged in the economic activities. And the value-added output of new economy is the final result of the new economy-related activities of all resident units in a certain period of time in a country (or region).

Last year, the output of new industries, business types, and models in the primary and secondary industries reached 599.8 billion yuan and 5.43 trillion yuan, accounting for 0.7 percent and 6.6 percent of the country’s GDP respectively.

The value-added output of the service sector was 6.93 trillion yuan, accounting for 8.4 percent of the country’s GDP last year, up 0.4 percentage points from 2016. New economic output in the service sector expanded 17 percent in current prices in 2017.

What is the prime power behind China’s development?

By Ding Gang (People’s Daily)

Not long ago, I met a young man named Jili Amu at Amador Convention Center in Panama. He is a Yi nationality, one of the China’s ethnic minorities, in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China’s Sichuan province.

Jili was sent on recommendation to a graduate program after receiving his bachelor’s degree, and got his master’s degree ahead of schedule. Upon graduation, Jili was hired by China Construction America (CCA), a subsidiary of China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC).

And the day when I met him was not long after he came to Panama for work.

Jili’s hometown Liangshan is one of the most indigent places in China, which is also among the areas where China endeavors to alleviate poverty. Back at home, Jili has two younger sisters in his family, both of whom are in college. In order to provide good education for the three kids, their parents, who are both migrant workers, have been working very hard for the 20-plus years.

In recent years, Jili’s hometown is on the way to free itself from poverty, thanks to the increasingly enhanced efforts of the local government to fight poverty.

The anti-poverty campaign launched by Chinese government is like a great bridge that links the poverty stricken areas with the outside world, enabling numerous outstanding young people like Jili to find their way out of the mountains and realize their dreams in the bigger world.

Amador Convention Center, which is under construction, is one of the projects undertaken by CCA in recent years. Since the Chinese company entered the United States market over thirty years ago, CSCEC has been moving steadily with its solid foundation and enterprise spirits cultivated in China.

The company, from adjusting itself painstakingly to the new environment to competing with American enterprises for a share of the same market, has made contributions to the development of the American construction industry.

Just like Jili Amu, CSCEC always believes that the future is full of hope as long as it strives to win it.

There was a time when some Americans claimed that China’s development were nothing but the result of “stealing”, and that China was only a “copy machine”.

About two months ago, the Chinese website of the British newspaper Financial Times published an article titled “Young Chinese and Young China: Observations by an American Post-90s”. I think there’s a passage in the article that has responded to such prejudice to China’s development already.

I would like to quote here, as the passage reads, “We stress the importance of ‘comprehensive development’. When we are playing outside, spending the nights away from home, swimming or playing basketball during weekends, our Chinese peers are learning.”

Chinese people’s diligence can be better proven by big data. According to statistics from the World Bank, China’s average labor force participation rate between 1990 and 2017 stood at 74.5 percent, ranking the highest in the world. The figure hit 79.1 percent at most during that period.

If the politicians in Washington are willing to look a little bit further to see China’s new generation represented by Jili Amu and his two younger sisters and the hard-working older generation, they will have a better understanding on why China has made such remarkable achievements and their own problems as well.

The success of Chinese people and Chinese enterprises in the world, and the extraordinary capabilities showcased by them in traditional western cultures, are an outcome of their diligent study and hard work.

“Happiness can only be earned by filling one’s life with endeavors”, and “The process of working hard for one’s dream is already a kind of happiness”. These simple truths that Chinese people believe in are worth the attention from the world, because they carry the power for China’s development.

(The author Ding Gang is a senior researcher at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China)

Foreigners working in China: The prosperous country offering us unlimited opportunities

Berenice Zandonai in the Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayan Pagoda), an ancient building and a holy place for Buddhists in Xi’an. (Photo/Xinhua)

The extensive and profound Chinese culture, continuously optimized investment environment, ever-growing job opportunities; China has become increasingly attractive to foreigners with a Chinese dream, Xinhuanet.com reported on Nov. 20.

With the country’s continuous efforts to open its market up to the world over the past 40 years of reform and opening up, China has invited more and more foreigners to work, study and live in the country, providing those who come with great prospects.

Berenice Zandonai is a French woman who fell in love with a Chinese man named Huang Zhen when he moved to Toulouse, France to study. Following Huang, Berenice Zandonai came to China soon after graduation, and got a job in a French apparel company in Shanghai, staying there for seven years between 2007 and 2014.

In 2014, the couple returned to Huang’s hometown Xi’an, capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi province, and co-founded a studio to provide customers with creative cultural products. They use a variety of methods such as hand drawing, illustration, We Media, and the development of original cultural products.

They are also focused on publicizing traditional Chinese culture and promoting cultural exchanges between China and France, launching a number of GIFs featuring the intangible cultural heritage projects of Shaanxi, publishing many bilingual audiobooks for children, and translating and editing French subtitles for many Chinese movies and stage plays.

Berenice Zandonai and her husband Huang Zhen check out their products. (Photo/Xinhua)

Alexandra plays violin in front of the National Centre for the Performing Arts. (Photo/Xinhua)

Majoring in violin performance in a Polish conservatory of music, Alexandra worked as a violinist for an orchestra in Guiyang, capital of southwest China’s Guizhou province, from 2014 to 2017.

After passing the exam, Alexandra became a violinist for the orchestra of the National Centre for the Performing Arts, China’s top theater of performing arts. Alexandra said working in the theatre has great benefits, explaining that she not only gets the opportunity to play with outstanding musicians from around the world, but she is also exposed to various musical forms and instruments.

Alexandra walks by the National Centre for the Performing Arts. (Photo/Xinhua)

Alexandra in a rehearsal with other members of the orchestra. (Photo/Xinhua)

Stephen exchanges ideas with his colleague in the NETZSCH workshop. (Photo/Xinhua)

Stephen, 48, is from Germany and has lived in Lanzhou, capital of northwest China’s Gansu province, for over ten years. He first came to Lanzhou on a business exchange in 2005, and was deeply attracted to the unique culture of the city, which is located on the Yellow River.

In 2006, Stephen was again dispatched to the city, this time by the head office of NETZSCH Group, a world famous German machinery manufacturing company, to become its marketing manager. Today, Stephen is the international sales manager of NETZSCH (Lanzhou) Pumps Co., Ltd, NETZSCH Group’s first wholly-owned enterprise in China.

In 2009, Stephen fell in love with a woman from Lanzhou, got married and settled down in China. He has traveled to a dozen Chinese cities with his wife, experiencing local customs and making new friends.

He goes to work like everyone else, enjoys Chinese food cooked by his wife after work, and gets together with friends at the weekend. Stephan noted that China is a great place to live and work.

“I love China,” said Stephen, adding that China is now his home. From his perspective, China’s rapid development is attracting more and more foreigners to the country, not only executives of multinational enterprises, but also junior staff in various industries.

Stephen and his wife. (Photo/Xinhua)

Wei Guo takes a selfie in the pedestrian street of Huaqiangbei. (Photo/Xinhua)

Wei Guo (Chinese name), a Dutch designer of LED panels, came to Shenzhen, one of the four first-tier cities of China, to supervise production seven years ago. Finding the local conditions and customs fascinating, he said, “After a month in Shenzhen, I knew I would stay here.”

A few years ago, Wei Guo set up a team of his own called Trouble Maker, with employees from several countries including the US, Norway and Finland, and started to design and make intelligent hardware prototypes for foreign-funded companies.

In July 2016, Trouble Maker entered the Hua Qiang Bei International Maker Center, a comprehensive platform providing a one-stop service for innovators and entrepreneurs in Shenzhen’s Huaqiangbei, a sub-district which is home to China’s largest electronics market.

According to Wei Guo, Shenzhen is an excellent location for his company, as it only takes a few months to create their basic product designs and put them into mass production, whereas the designs could have taken up to two years to finish in his home country.

Wei Guo talks with an American physics scholar in Hua Qiang Bei International Maker Center. (Photo/Xinhua)

Pragmatic cooperation benefiting Filipinos and Chinese

By Ding Zi, Wang Fang, Zhang Zhiwen (People’s Daily Online)

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the Philippines will enhance mutual trust, improve bilateral relations, and create bright prospects for China-Philippines cooperation, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Philippine House of Representatives Speaker and former Philippine President, said in an interview with People’s Daily.

Arroyo, 71, was the President of the Philippines from 2001 to 2010, and was elected as the Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives this July.

“The relationship between China and the Philippines is very important for the Philippines”, said Arroyo, adding that cooperation between the two countries in various areas has brought benefits to both peoples.

Impressed by China’s achievements in development during the last four decades since reform and opening up, Arroyo used the word “breathtaking” to describe China’s transformation.

Rather than a competitor, China has proven to be a partner in development. It is a market for developing countries, a donor, a provider of capital and technology, said Arroyo, recalling her years as an official in the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry when she wondered if China would become the Philippines’ chief competitor in the world market.

There is much for the Philippines to learn from China on national governance and development, expressed Arroyo, citing that China has applied four principles in governing the country, such as long term planning, strong discipline in implementing strategies while eyeing the collective good, the use of state-of-the-art technology, and strengthening in infrastructure.

Arroyo expressed that China’s development has had a positive influence on regional development, and that she is glad to see the pragmatic cooperation between China and the Philippines is benefiting the two peoples.

She noted that the bilateral ties between China and the Philippines will develop further, while the prospects for growth in the Philippines will be enhanced by the economic momentum generated by China in the region.

Infrastructure will be very important for the Philippines in the coming years, and there is no country in the world that matches China’s recent track record and capability in this area, Arroyo told People’s Daily.

Arroyo said China’s Belt and Road Initiative has profound significance.

She explained that the development of the world economy requires not only trade and investment, but also good infrastructure.

The Belt and Road Initiative has injected strong impetus to infrastructure construction in countries along the route, including the Philippines, and promoted the prosperity of trade and investment, expressed Arroyo, adding that China and countries along the route have made breakthroughs in the co-construction of various projects.

Under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, China and the Philippines enjoy broad prospects for bilateral cooperation, Arroyo pointed out, adding that nothing builds mutual trust and cooperation better than having actual projects that can be worked on jointly.

She expressed hope that more Filipinos join the efforts to promote Philippines-China people-to-people exchanges, and those who up to now have only heard of the tremendous economic progress of China could have the opportunity to actually visit China and see for themselves the result of China’s economic miracle in past 40 years.

Pen artist illustrates 600-year-old residential area before demolition

Pen artist illustrates 600-year-old residential area before demolition

“The resemblance is amazing,” “this looks exactly like my old house,” “these are not paintings, but memories of my life here.”

These are the comments on the work of a Chinese pen artist who has spent over ten years illustrating old buildings and streets before demolition, according to the official Wechat account of Chinanews.com.

Wang Xiangjun, the artist, managed to “move” buildings and streets in Suochengli, a 600-year-old residential area in Yantai city, east China’s Shandong province, on to paper before they were demolished and rebuilt.

In 2004, Wang heard that the residential area Suochengli, the birthplace of Yantai city, and also the place he grew up, was about to be destroyed. However, as a then senior college student, Wang couldn’t do much about it.

During an internship after he graduated, Wang encountered ultra-realistic pen drawing, and found himself attracted to the unique characteristics of the art form. As soon as he mastered the techniques, he went to the old town and started to draw what was in front of him with a fountain pen, adding the old houses and walls as he went.

Over time, Wang penned many old residential areas, not only around Suochengli, but in many other old towns in the city. With precision, he reproduced typical scenes that would evoke nostalgia among residents, such as people walking to buy breakfast in the hutong, a small yard with clothes hanging out in the sunshine and the cicadas singing in the old streets.

“Snow was the most difficult thing to draw,” Wang said, disclosing that he didn’t dare to draw the snowy winter at first. However, the artist couldn’t bear to see the houses in front of him disappear forever, so he kept practicing.

After practicing for eight winters, Wang finally managed to bring the snow to life in his illustrations, often spending two hours out in the cold to get it right.

Over the last few years, Wang has produced enough illustrations to cover the whole floor of a room, and emptied so many ink bottles that they can now be piled up like a mountain. It hasn’t always been easy, Wang disclosed, explaining that he spent eight years being supported by his parents while staying at home, drawing for 16 hours a day. However, after finishing his pieces before the buildings within them were torn down, Wang felt accomplished.

In 2015, Wang made his paintings into postcards, and started to create products while painting more of the city, hoping to introduce Yantai to more people.

Some said that there is a magic to Wang’s paintings, as they allow the observer to take a peek behind the curtain of life on the streets of Yantai. You may see a wall, but you get to feel the vitality of life inside the yard, and you come to know the life of the kids and their parents who lived there.

(Photos courtesy of Wang Xiangjun)

Pen artist illustrates 600-year-old residential area before demolition

Pen artist illustrates 600-year-old residential area before demolition

Pen artist illustrates 600-year-old residential area before demolition

Pen artist illustrates 600-year-old residential area before demolition

Pen artist illustrates 600-year-old residential area before demolition

Pen artist illustrates 600-year-old residential area before demolition

Pen artist illustrates 600-year-old residential area before demolition

Pen artist illustrates 600-year-old residential area before demolition

Pen artist illustrates 600-year-old residential area before demolition

Pen artist illustrates 600-year-old residential area before demolition

Beautiful stories highlight China-Brunei ties

By Yang Jian (People’s Daily)

Photo taken in northeast of Brunei’s capital Bandar Seri Begawan, on Nov. 17, 2018, shows the construction site of the Phase 1 of Zhejiang Hengyi Petrochemical Project on Pulau Muara Besar (PMB). Undertaken by China’s Hengyi Petrochemical Co. Ltd, the future modern petrochemical industrial base is expected to become a strong driving force for Brunei’s industrial upgrading, and help the country free itself from the dependence on resources export. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)

Brunei Darussalam, located in northern part of the Kalimantan Island, has long been praised as the “abode of peace”, and often referred to as “the pearl of Borneo”.

According to scholars, the exchanges between China and Brunei could date back to China’s Western Han Dynasty, which is over 2,000 years from now. And trade contacts between the two countries have sprung up since China’s Song Dynasty in over 1,000 years ago.

Several hundred years later in China’s Ming Dynasty, Chinese navigator Zheng He, well-known for his seven maritime expeditions, visited Brunei with his fleet.

Since the year 1991 when the two nations officially established diplomatic relations, China and Brunei have witnessed frequent high-level contacts and rapid development in bilateral ties.

In 2013, the two countries upgraded the China-Brunei ties to a strategic cooperative relationship. With the care of leaders from both countries, China-Brunei ties have become a model of relations between big and small countries featuring equal treatment, mutual benefit, win-win cooperation, and common development.

Five years ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the important Belt and Road Initiative, injecting unprecedented strong impetus to a deepened cooperation between China and Brunei.

Since Brunei, together with other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as a founding member, economic and trade cooperation between China and Brunei has ridden the wave of momentum for a dramatic growth.

China is now Brunei’s largest source of imports. More and more Chinese enterprises are attracted to Brunei, whether for investment or expanding businesses.

The Zhejiang Hengyi Petrochemical Project on Pulau Muara Besar (PMB), the largest joint venture project between China and Brunei, is now under construction in full swing. Once put into operation next year, the project will generate substantial economic and social benefits and boost local employment.

At the same time, the Guangxi-Brunei Economic Corridor, another flagship project of China and Brunei, is under accelerated construction, thanks to which bilateral cooperation in such fields as harbor operation, sea farming, spices processing, and trade has moved forward steadily.

Their cultural and people-to-people exchanges have been intensified as well. In 2003, China granted the visa-free access to Bruneian citizens, and since 2016, Brunei has offered convenience to Chinese residents with the visa-on-arrival rule.

A growing number of direct flights have also been launched between their cities in recent years. Last year, 52,000 Chinese tourists visited Brunei, a record-breaking number that made China the largest source of international tourists to Brunei.

Their increasingly dynamic exchanges in education, culture, media, youth, and sister cities have also drawn the peoples of two countries closer and closer day by day.

Sharing a wide range of common interests in international and regional affairs, China and Brunei have understood and supported each other on issues involving each other’s core interests and major concerns, and have pushed China-ASEAN relations for steady development.

Moreover, China and Brunei have jointly safeguarded the peace and stability of the South China Sea by sticking to the “dual-track” approach in dealing with the issue.

Geographically located in the central area of the ASEAN, Brunei is the core of the East ASEAN Growth Area (Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area, also referred to as “BIMP-EAGA” for short) and also an important partner of China in jointly building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road with the ASEAN and other parties.

President Xi’s state visit to Brunei, the first one by a Chinese President in thirteen years, is of milestone significance in lifting the China-Brunei relations in the new period.

I believe that this visit will bring China-Brunei relations to a new historical point, starting from which they will usher their peoples into a brighter future and make new contributions to regional prosperity and stability.

(The author Yang Jian is the Chinese Ambassador to Brunei.)

To jointly create a golden age of China-Philippines relations

By Zhao Jianhua (People’s Daily)

As neighbors separated by only a strip of water, China and the Philippines enjoy a long history of traditional friendship.

With the wise decisions and under the correct leadership of the two countries, China and the Philippines have realized a comprehensive turnaround in bilateral relations, and have continuously consolidated, deepened, and moved which to a fast track of acceleration and upgrading since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s state visit to China in October 2016.

China and the Philippines have witnessed increasingly frequent and close high-level exchanges and constantly deepened strategic mutual trust over the years.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte have held five important meetings on bilateral and multilateral occasions, which have effectively charted the course for the development of mutually beneficial and win-win bilateral relations.

China and the Philippines attach importance to intensifying exchanges between the ruling parties of the two countries on national governance, actively held bilateral dialogues in fields including diplomacy and defense, and enjoyed ever-closer coordination in international and regional affairs.

The two countries have held many meetings of the China-Philippines Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea (BCM) and meetings of the Joint Coast Guard Committee on Maritime Cooperation (JCGC) and carried out mutually beneficial cooperation on such fields as fishery, maritime affairs, joint search and rescue, marine science research, and environmental protection.

Moreover, rich fruits have also been constantly yielded from the China-Philippines cooperation in areas including drug control, counter-terrorism, and military.

With the potential of economy and trade of both countries being unleashed rapidly and vigorously, China and the Philippines have seen remarkable achievements in bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

In 2017, trade volume between China and the Philippines exceeded $50 billion for the first time, while Chinese direct investment in the Philippines totaled $53.84 million, up 67 percent over the previous year.

China has become the largest trading partner, the biggest source of imports, and the fourth largest export destination of the Philippines. The two countries have carried out effective bilateral dialogues in areas including economy and trade, agriculture and fishery, science and technology, and energy, leading to the signing of over 40 cooperation documents.

China attaches great importance to the integration of China’s Belt and Road Initiative with the Philippines’ Ambisyon Natin 2040 development strategy and the massive infrastructure program “Build Build Build”.

The construction of the bridges across the Pasig River in the Philippine capital Manila, drug rehabilitation centers in Mindanao, and Chico River Pump Irrigation Project in northern Philippines, all funded by China, has started, and the construction of other major infrastructure projects financed by China such as Kaliwa Dam, Philippine National Railways South Long-Haul Line, Safe Philippines Project, as well as the Chinese industrial park in the Philippines is expected to begin as soon as possible.

Besides, China has also vigorously supported the economic and social development of the southern Philippines’ Mindanao region, actively taken part in the post-war reconstruction in Marawi, and helped Davao with its endeavor to pursue people’s welfare.

In Davao, China has funded and helped the city with the construction of a variety of infrastructure projects including roads, bridges, markets, a water pumping station, and schoolhouses, which demonstrates China’s endeavor to help the Philippines improve people’s livelihood, reduce poverty, and achieve sustainable development.

China is the second largest source of international tourists of the Philippines. During the first three quarters of this year, a total of 972,000 Chinese tourists have visited the Philippines, an increase of 34.9 percent year-on-year.

It is expected that the total figure of Chinese tourists to the Philippines for the whole year will probably exceed 1.5 million, which will bring 32 billion pesos (about $610 million) in revenue for the Philippines.

Major Philippine cities including Manila and Cebu have launched flights to multiple Chinese cities and ports. Meanwhile, China and the Philippines have also witnessed growing dynamism in bilateral exchanges in sister cities, science and education, culture, media, think tanks, and youth.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the Philippines is the first state visit to the Philippines by a Chinese head of state in thirteen years. We have every reason to believe that this visit will greatly promote the China-Philippines relations in the new period and help make the relations the model for the building of new type of international relations and a community of common destiny for mankind.

Zhao Jianhua is the Chinese ambassador to the Philippines.