Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the State Council’s Taiw

wan Affairs Office, said in a statement on Tuesday that the exercise aimed to protect national sover

eignty and territorial integrity, as well as protect the common interests of people from both sides of the straits.

Taiwan’s administration, led by the Democratic Progressive Party, used the drill as an opport

unity to “deceive and mislead the residents of Taiwan and to provoke and escalate a cross-Straits confrontation,” Ma said.

“Its goal of undermining cross-Straits relations and the peace and security of the region will not succeed,” Ma said. “Nobo

dy should underestimate our adamant resolve and ability to protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

On Tuesday, Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen said she will not be intimidated by the military d

rill, calling the exercise “a threat to Taiwan” and an act of “coercion”, the island’s media reported.

Tsai also thanked the United States for considering a deal with Taiwan to renew a $500

million training program in the US for Taiwan F-16 pilots and maintenance crews.

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He noted that since the first Belt and Road Forum for

 International Cooperation two years ago, more countries and inter

national organizations have joined in the construction of the Belt and Road.

So far, 125 countries and 29 international organiz

ations have signed BRI cooperation documents with China, according to Lu.

Among them are 16 Central and Eastern European countries and Gr

eece. Italy and Luxembourg signed cooperation agreements with China last month to join

tly build the Belt and Road. Jamaica also signed similar agreements on Thursday.

During Premier Li Keqiang’s European visit last week, both sides agreed to seek greate

r synergy between the BRI and the European Union’s strategy for connecting with Asia.

Yang Jiechi, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Comm

unist Party of China Central Committee, said last month that representatives of more than 100 coun

tries, including about 40 foreign leaders, have confirmed their attendance at the Beijing forum.

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Inside Beijing’s must-attend April eventbassador to

Guests like Austrian ambassador to China Friedrich Stift, p

erformances from the Strauss Festival Orchestra Vienna, and reality TV star Allen Wu as

host have made the event the most talked-about on Beijing’s April social calendar.

The dapperly attendees and the venue at the Kempinski Hotel Beijing Lufthansa Center, a lux

ury hotel in downtown Beijing, will make April 13 a night of waltz, high fashion and haute cuisine.

With tickets priced 1,500 yuan ($224), the ball has sold out every ye

ar during its five-year history in Beijing, according to organizer, the Kempinski Hotel.

In this video interview with China Daily’s website, both the ambassador and Brice Péan, mana

ging director of the Kempinski Hotel, give a preview of what to expect at this year’s ball.

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He called on both countries to fully carry out consen

nsuses that have been reached to make new progr

ess in their all-around partnership of friendship and cooperation.

China is willing to import more high-value-added Belgian produ

cts that cater to demand in the Chinese market, and Bel

gium is welcome to participate in the second China International Import Expo this year, Li said.

In the meantime, the world’s second-largest economy will work with Belgium to fully implement t

heir memorandum of understanding for third-party market cooperation to enhance their cooperation in Africa, the premier added.

Michel said Belgium has attached great importance to its relations with China and will d

eepen bilateral cooperation in trade, agriculture and shipbuilding. He said he hoped the Ch

ina-EU leaders’ meeting would be successful, safeguard multilateralism and promote trade.

In October, Li visited Belgium while attending the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting Summit.

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Urgency rises for tackling hazardous wastesipate after

The deadly blast at a chemical plant in Jiangsu province last month that left 78 dead clearly hig

hlights the urgent need to properly handle hazardous waste management in the country.

As central authorities tighten management by revising laws and issuing detailed

policies to support hazardous waste treatment, experts are calling for mandating

that facilities to process such waste be built in all chemical industry parks nationwide.

The explosion occurred on March 21 in Xiangshui county, Yanch

eng, at a Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical Co Ltd plant. The accident also injured more than 600.

The State Council, China’s Cabinet, set up an investigation

group and the probe into the cause of the blast is ongoing.

Multiple sources have suggested that the casual handling of hazard

ous chemical waste produced by the company could be a cause of the deadly blast.

China Chemical Industry News reported that the blast originated at

the company’s hazardous waste storage facility, citing a source close to the investigation group.

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They are both staunch supporters of free trade and mul

ultilateralism, and with the United States increasingly opting for unilateralism in international affairs, China and the EU can str

engthen their coordination within the framework of the United Nations and buttress the role of multilateral mecha

nisms including the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund.

Beijing and Brussels are also two important voices advocating internati

onal efforts to combat climate change and promote sustainable development.

It is hoped that the leaders attending the China-EU Summit in Brussels will send positive signals that the two sides are commi

tted to deepening their strategic and reciprocal cooperation. By strengthening their consensus and solida

rity, they can boost confidence that they will work together to address shared and global challenges.

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Minor earthquake in Beijing “normal, isolated event”

A 2.9-magnitude earthquake at a depth of 17 kilometers was detected at 1:25 pm on Sunday in Be

ijing’s Haidian district, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.

Two earthquake experts said the minor quake was a normal activity in the

earth’s crust caused by changes in crustal stress, and th

ere is no need for the public to panic, according to a report on huanqiu.com.

“It is a normal and isolated event,” said Guo Xun, dean of the Civil Engineering

School at the Institute of Disaster Prevention.

“As Beijing is at the junction of the earthquake zones of Shanxi province, the

Hebei Plain and Yanshan Mountain, the city will e

xperience one to two earthquakes at around magnitude-3 degree every year,

according to past exper

ience,” Sun Shihong, a researcher at the

China Earthquake Networks Center, added.

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The water-delivering trains are a special service on the Hu

unbai Railway, a scenic line with diesel trains. They were launched to address the limited access to drin

king water in the area, where the underground water is undrinkable due to complex mineral components.

“Water coming out of the wells used to render us with Kaschin-beck disease, and we treated ev

ery drop of (safe) water like it was oil,” said Zhou Aiqin, another resident at Huojugou.

Running the train all year around is no easy task, especially in winter when temperatures easily dro

p below minus 20 degrees Celsius. Some of the fuel is spent heating the water during the journey to prevent freezing.

“Water often drips onto our clothes and instantly freezes. We cannot bend our arms or legs

and have to move like a gorilla,” said Jia Lin, a veteran worker at the line’s Quanyang station.

Train crew and station workers, like residents along the line, have been attached to

the delivery missions, even as demands have greatly shrunk due to improved water infrastructure and relocation o

f villagers. The trains now run three times a month, down from three times a week, to serve only 300 residents.

“But as long as the demand exists, our small train will keep on running,” said Xin Yuehong, head of Quanyang station.

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Cooperation is the best choice for China and the US,” Ga

 said. “This is not only beneficial to the two countries and their peoples, but also conducive to the entire world.”

The words came as the US Department of Commerce reported that the US trade deficit with China narrowed by 6.4 perce

nt to $34.5 billion in January. US goods exports to China dropped 22.3 percent to $7.1 billion, the lowest since Sep

tember 2010, and Chinese imports dropped 9.6 percent to $41.6 billion, the Commerce Department said.

The trade imbalance has been at the center of monthslong tensions between China and the US. Other iss

ues at the top of the list for their consultations include technology transfers and protection of intellectual property rights.

Gao said guaranteeing that companies can pursue technical cooperation based on voluntary principles and business rules is cond

ucive to creating a fair and competitive business environment and promoting high-quality economic development.

“It is in line with China’s need to further deepen reform and opening up,” he said.

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It is not the first time in our European history to have suc

 such an attitude. Any nation with very strong and rapid growth is always in a very difficu

lt position in public opinion because we are afraid about the strength of others,” he said.

“For example, we were afraid of cultural pressure from the United States in the 1960s, and 20 ye

ars later, we had the same feelings against Japan with its technological projects. Now, China is bac

k around the table of big nations. I think we have to accept that and not be afraid, but to discuss.”

Raffarin said the two countries are expected to close contracts and announce new projects. He also

said the dialogue between France and China could be very useful in forming a new vision for multilateralism in a changing world.

In addition to strong existing collaboration between France and China, including in the automotive, aviation and healthcare sectors, Raffarin said the most

important thing for the future of Sino-French relations is to identify third-country projects, such as the Hinkley Point C nu

clear power plant in the United Kingdom, which is jointly financed by China and France, as well as opportunities in Africa.

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