spoke of the things that remain unchanged in the face

found changes in the international situation and bilateral relations.

He said the importance China attaches to its relations with France has not changed. China has always regar

ded France as a priority partner of cooperation, and the two peoples keep a special friendship, he added.

“This is a valuable asset that we must inherit and carry forward to keep China-France relations at the forefront of the times,” Xi said.

 went on to say that the common pursuit for peace, development, fairness and justice has not changed.

He said both China and France uphold the basic norms governing international relations underpinned by the purposes and

principles of the UN Charter while practicing multilateralism and opposing protectionism and unilateralism in international affairs.

Both countries are committed to building an open world economy and working together to meet th

e common challenges facing humanity, Xi said, adding that China and France have cooperated su

ccessfully on many occasions in the field of climate change, playing a positive leading role in the world.

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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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The two countries should work together to promote free

 trade and facilitate investment, continue to enhance communication on major global issues, help push reform of the Worl

d Trade Organization, fight climate change, safeguard global governance and jointly uphold multilateralism, Xi said.

Conte called Xi’s visit to Italy highly significant, and said it would bring the bilateral relationship to a higher level.

He said Italy firmly supports multilateralism and free trade, and his country would like to enhance commu

nication and coordination with China to promote the healthy and stable development of EU-China relations.

During his Italy visit, Xi also had separate meetings with Itali

an Chamber of Deputies member Roberto Fico and Italian Senate President Maria Elisabetta Alb

erti Casellati, and pledged to strengthen legislative exchanges and cooperation between the two sides.

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PICC president Liu Hong under investigationhou, Guangdong prov

Liu Hong, Party secretary and president of the People’s Insurance Company of China (PICC), is being investigated for suspected v

iolations of Party disciplinary rules and laws, according to an announcement of the top anti-graft agency on Friday.

He is being investigated by the discipline inspection and supervision team of the China Cent

ral Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission, according to the announcement.

Liu, 56, was appointed Party secretary, director and president of the PICC since October

A total of 1,883 private equity and venture capital deals were compl

eted in China’s telecommunications, media and technology industry in the second half of last

year, accounting for 46 percent of total PE/VC investment, a record number since 2016, according to a PwC report.

The report showed that 1,290 PE/VC deals were clinched in the third quarter of 2018, while in th

e fourth quarter, the number of PE/VC deals in TMT sectors dipped to below 600, as overall PE/VC investments plunged.

In the second half of 2018, there were 54 large-size deals with a single deal value over $100 million, and these large-size deals

had a total value of $21.3 billion, making up 76 percent of the total in TMT sectors in the second half.

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Our moves to cut tax on this occasion aim at an accommo

dative effect to strengthen the basis for sustained growth while also considering the need to ensu

re fiscal sustainability. It is a major decision taken at the macro policy level in support of the efforts to en

sure stable economic growth, employment, and structural adjustments,” Li said in the report.

Value-added tax-a major type of corporate tax der

ived from the sale of goods and services-reductions will benefit most of the companies, said Yang We

iyong, an associate professor at the Beijing-based University of International Business and Economics.

“The VAT reductions can effectively lighten the tax burden of en

terprises, thereby increasing the investment by ent

erprises, boosting demand and improving the economic structure,” Yang added.

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year-old woman arrested after elementary school student

  Swiss police have arrested a 75-year-old woman in connection with the fatal stabbing of a seven-year-old boy on his way home from school.

  The child, who has not been named, was attacked while walking alone in the north

ern city of Basel around midday local time on Thursday, police said in a statement.

  The boy’s class teacher, who was passing on a bicycle, found him lying seriously injured on the sidewalk and call

ed for an ambulance. The boy died shortly after emergency surgery in hospital, the statement added.

  Soon after the stabbing, a 75-year-old woman turned herself in to the police. She admitt

ed attacking the boy and was arrested, police said, but did not explain the motive for the attack.

  Police said investigations were continuing and appealed for witnesses.

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From Israel to Brexit to France: Trump dips into allies’ politics

  He’s trashed the British Prime Minister. He’s cheered protesters in France. And now he’s handed Israel’s embattled leader a win days before a re-elect

ion. When it comes to other countries’ domestic politics, President Donald Trump hasn’t hesitated to put his thumb on the scale.

  When he first met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office weeks after his inau

guration, Trump heard out the Israeli prime minister’s appeal to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

  But Trump didn’t immediately deliver. Instead, he waited until less than three weeks before the most consequential election of Netanyahu’s polit

ical career to announce “it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.”

  Combined with the warm embrace Trump will offer Netany

ahu in Washington next week and the White House’s silence on the timing of the annou

ncement, experts quickly identified Trump’s recognition of the Golan Heights as a brazen attempt to boost Netanyahu’s re-el

ection chances, giving him a foreign policy achievement to tout in the final stretch of the campaign.

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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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Xi added that he is glad that US President Donald Trump

also voiced his support for bilateral exchanges and cooperation in education during their meeting at the G20 Summit in Argentina in December.

The rising level of education has been a major contributor to

China’s rapid development in its 40 years of reform and opening-up, he said.

China remains committed to advancing the modernization of its education, making

itself an education powerhouse and developing education that people are satisfied with, he added.

During this process, China is willing to conduct broader exchanges and cooper

ation with education and research institutions including Harvard University, he said.

Bacow, who last year became the 29th president of Harvard U

niversity, said he is glad to make China his first overseas stop since his inauguration.

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