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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Wang, the Chinese think tank member, said many of

nternational relations scholars of his generation think of the US

as an example of the value of “freedom, democracy, fairness and human rights”.

“But those words are no longer applicable to describe the US today,” he said.

Wang said that for him, cancellation of the visa is nothing m

ore than a short-term absence from US academic activities, and “it is the US’ loss, not ours”.

He also said the decision would not affect the Chinese think tank he leads in continuing aca

demic exchanges with the US, and he suggests that China should not take countermeasures over such matters.

“No matter how petty the US becomes, China should still stick to its open attitude rather compete for who’s worse,” he said.

The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative is not a geopolitical tool or a debt trap for particip

ating countries, but a platform for cooperation, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Friday.

Wang made the remark at a press conference ahead of the second Belt and Road F

orum on International Cooperation, which will be held in Beijing next week.

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Much work remains in Sino-US trade negotiations

China and the United States have made new progress in negotiating the text of an econom

ic and trade deal, but much work remains to be done, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.

Negotiating teams from the two countries are hashing out the text of the deal, including

an enforcement mechanism, on the basis of mutual respect and benefit, said Gao Feng, ministry spokesman.

The remarks came as the world’s two biggest economies have been i

ntensifying their consultations and aiming to break the deadlock in a timely manner.

In the most recent round of trade consultations, the negotiators discussed technolo

gy transfers, protection of intellectual property rights, nontariff measures, the service sector, agriculture, tra

de imbalances and enforcement mechanisms, according to earlier reports.

The American Chamber of Commerce in China said in a recent white paper that the US business commu

nity in China, long an advocate of good bilateral relations, can no longer be relied on to be a positive anchor.

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The situation is very much like the ceiling of a roo

m in which airborne particulate matter is present. The lower the ceilin

g is, the higher the density of pollutants which then mix with the cleaner air.

With a low mixing layer, Taihang mountain range to the west and the Yanshan mountai

n range to the north serve as walls that form a semi-closed “room” in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei cluster.

The high level of emissions is the major reason for air pollution in th

e greater Beijing area, and meteorological conditions also play a key role as an exte

rnal factor, said Xu Xiangde, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences.

Zhang Xiaoye, Xu’s colleague, said the “marked effect” of continuous pollutant accu

mulation on meteorological conditions could make overall pollution even worse.

“After the accumulation reaches a certain level, it will further wor

sen the meteorological conditions, which then will further affect air quality, causing explosive

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Top economic planner bullish on reaching annual growth

China’s economy, despite headwinds, has enjoyed a good start in the first quarter of 2019, and the country has the confide

nce to achieve the annual projected growth goal, said the country’s top economic planner.

“The first quarter’s stable economic development has laid a solid foundation for the an

nual growth,” said Yuan Da, spokesperson with the National Development and Reform Commission.

“The economy has stayed on the track of steady growth. We have the confidence, conditio

ns and capability to meet the projected targets for economic and social development this year.”

Yuan made the remarks at the NDRC press conference on Thursday in Beijing.

According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, China’s economy expanded at a faster-than-expected 6.4 perce

nt year-on-year in the first quarter. The growth was unchanged from that in the fourth quarter in 2018.

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Last month, China has set its GDP growth target for this

year at a range of 6 to 6.5 percent, according to the 2019 Government Work Report.

A further 3.24 million new urban jobs were added in the first quarter, and the survey

ed unemployment rate remained at a comparatively low level of 5.2 percent in

March. Consumer price registered a moderate rise by 1.8 percent in the first three months this year.

A basic equilibrium in the balance of payments was m

aintained, and China’s foreign exchange reserves remain more than $3 trillion.

Economic structure further improved during the same period. Value-added high-tech se

ctor’s output rose by 7.8 percent, higher than the country’s value-added industrial output.

In the first quarter, NDRC has approved 50 fixed asset investment projects, mainly i

n the fields of energy, transportation and high-tech sectors. The total investment hit 370.3 bill

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The most recent incident was Saturday in Jinjiang, Fujian

when the late Qing Dynasty residence of Wu Lu, the province’s last zhuangyuan (top scorer on imperial examinations), was damaged.

Fire this year also destroyed a bridge dating from four centuries ago in Nanping, Fuji

an, a Qing Dynasty residence in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, and an office structure from the 1930s in Fuzhou, Jiangxi.

The operators of the sites hit by fire will be responsible for the dam

age, said the heritage administration. “Electrical faults and loose supervision over the use of fire

during renovation are the main reasons” for the damage, the administration’s statement said.

Though the fire at Notre Dame is under investigation, Frenc

h officials said they suspect its source might have been related to restoration work on the cathedral.

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Military drill near Taiwan ‘necessary’sman for the State Coun

Mainland slams response by island’s leader, who called exercise ‘a threat’

A spokesman for the Chinese mainland said a military drill by Chinese bombers and warships around Taiwan on Monday was routin

e and slammed the island’s administration for misleading the Taiwan people and hyping tensions.

On Monday, various warships, bombers and reconnaissance aircr

aft of the People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command conducted “necessary train

ing” around Taiwan as a means to test the joint assault capability between different branches of the military, Senior Colone

l Zhang Chunhui, the theater command’s spokesman, said in a statement on Monday.

The exercise took place in waters east of Taiwan and was part of a scheduled PLA exercise, he said.

“It is completely within the normal legal rights of a sovereign cou

ntry, and it’s beneficial for maintaining peace and security in the Taiwan Straits,” Zhang said.

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In early April, the US increased military interactions

with the island by officially acknowledging that military personnel have been posted in the Taipei office of the American Institute in Taiwan since 2005.

US weapons manufacturer Raytheon was also granted a $9 million contract to upgrade Taiwan’s Patriot missile defense system.

Senior Colonel Liang Fang, a professor at PLA National Defense Universit

y, said the recent drill will test and enhance the PLA’s joint operating capabilities.

“It will increase the PLA’s ability to protect national sovereignty, and warn thos

e who are trying to undermine it to abandon their illusions,” she said. “Similar drills

will be more common in the future, with increasingly sophisticated equipment and training methods.”

Xiu Chunping, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social

Sciences’ Institute of Taiwan Studies, said the recent drill serves to warn the US and separati

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We will rebuild this cathedral all together and it is un

tedly part of the French destiny and the project we will have for the coming years … a national subscription will be launched, and well beyon

d our borders we will appeal to the greatest talent, and there are many who will come to contribute and rebuild,” Macron said.

We will rebuild Notre Dame, because that’s what French people e

xpect, because it’s what our history deserves and because it’s our deep destiny,” he added.

Already, two of France’s wealthiest men have pledged large donations. Billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of the Ke

ring group, which owns fashion brands including Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga, pledged 100 m

illion euros ($113 million) toward rebuilding Notre Dame, Agence France-Presse reported.

Bernard Arnault, chief executive of the LVMH group, which owns fa

shion labels including Louis Vuitton and Bulgari, said he would donate 200 million euros.

Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, Notre Dame, which has rece

ived about 13 million visitors each year-more than the Eiffel Tower-is regard

ed as one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture and sits at the heart of the nation’s history.

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