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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Lu made the remarks in response to recent media repo

 reports that India decided not to send a delegation to the second Belt and Road Forum for Internati

onal Cooperation later this month in Beijing. The reports said the initiative undermines the South Asia

n nation’s sovereignty via the BRI-related China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Lu said that, “If this decision about whether to participate in building the Belt and Road

was possibly made through a misunderstanding”, China firmly and sincerely advances the constr

uction of the Belt and Road on the basis of consultation and contribution for shared benefits.

He added that the initiative is open to all parties that are inter

ested in and willing to join in win-win cooperation.

It will not exclude any party, he said, adding that China is willin

g to wait if relevant parties need more time to consider their participation.

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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.

www.renrencanzheng.org

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.

www.yuyingleyou.com.cn

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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In Yangcao Village, Ma pushed for the establishment of a

 poverty-reduction workshop, where over 40 women from poor families found jobs. They draw on their fine craftsmanship and hand

made items such as wallets, insoles and pillowcases, which sell at places as far away as Beijing and Shanghai.

In December 2018, Shangyan and Yangcao were removed from the list of poverty-strike

n villages with eight other villages of Huanghua Township, which means poverty had dropped to 3 percent and

below, with all impoverished population included in the national basic medical insurance scheme.

Ma died about a year after she was diagnosed with lymph cancer by a Beijing-based hospital in May 2017.

Even during chemotherapy, she often thought about poverty relief work, and after five months treatment, she returned to her office.

The mountainous Guyuan City, where Huanghua Township is located, is one of the sites whe

re the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army of the Communist Party of China arrived during the epic Long

March from 1934 to 1936, which had seen a large number of officers and soldiers killed or injured.

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According to the official plan, Xiongan will be develope

ed into a high-level modern socialist city and a front-runner of high-quality developm

ent by 2035, and become an important nexus in the world-class city cluster by the middle of this century.

In January, Xi visited the exhibition center for the planning of Xiongan and stressed ag

ain that the creation of the new area is “a strategy that will have lasting

importance for the millennium to come”.

“We welcome all companies, whether they are State-owned enterprises or

private comp

anies, local firms or companies from Beijing, Chinese enterprises or overseas-funded com

panies, as long as they conform to the industrial development plan of the new

area,” Xi said during the inspection to

ur.Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal may not be dead after all — even

though lawmakers voted to reject it for

a third time Friday — the day Britain had long been scheduled to leave the European Union.

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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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The revelation that an extra pilot saved the plane the day

before the crash has never been reported before, according to Bloomberg.

Aviation analyst and editor in chief of Airlineratings.com, Geoffrey Thomas, said it was not unusual for off-duty pilots, known as dead heads, to fly in the cockpit of planes.

“It could well be that the flight is full and he needs to get back t

o Jakarta — so as long as he is authorized to do so — then it’s absolutely fine,” he said.

However, the presence of the third pilot in the cockpit did not appear in the National Tra

nsportation Safety Committee’s (KNKT) November preliminary report into the crash.

Thomas said this fact should have been reported “as you could argue that the pilot was a distraction or an assistance,” he said.

Wall Street Journal: Transportation Department inspector general investigating FAA’s approval of Boeing 737 Max

CNN contacted Lion Air Group Captain Daniel Putut for comment and he directed questions to the KNKT.

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