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South Korea approves $8 million aid to DPRK, timing to be decided later

South Korea approved a plan on Thursday to send $8 million worth of humanitarian aid to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the South’s Unification Ministry said, as part of an aid policy that the government says remains unaffected by geopolitical tensions with DPRK. The aid decision was made after a meeting of government officials chaired by Unification Minister Cho Myong-gyon. It comes after the United Nations approved new sanctions against DPRK for its sixth nuclear test earlier this month. The South said it aims to send $4.5 million worth of nutritional products for children and pregnant women through the World Food Programme and $3.5 million worth of vaccines and medicinal treatments through UNICEF. The exact timing of when the aid will be sent, as well as its size, will be confirmed later, the ministry said in a statement. The WFP and UNICEF had approached the South Korean government in May and July this year to contribute in aiding DPRK, the statement added. “We have consistently said we would pursue humanitarian aid for North Korea(DPRK) in consideration of the poor conditions children and pregnant women are in there, apart from political issues,” said Cho in opening remarks at the meeting. Ahead of the meeting, UNICEF’s regional director for East Asia and the Pacific Karin Hulshof said in a statement the problems DPRK children face “are all too real”. “Today, we estimate that around 200,000 children are affected by acute malnutrition, heightening their risk of death and increasing rates of stunting,” Hulshof said. “Food and essential medicines and equipment to treat young children are in short supply.” Cho’s ministry had said earlier this month they were looking into giving DPRK aid, which launched a backlash of disapproval from both the public and opposition parties. It has dragged down South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s approval rating. Realmeter, a South Korean polling organization, said on Thursday Moon’s approval rating stood at 65.7 percent, weakening for a fourth straight month. Although the approval rate is still high, those surveyed said Moon had fallen out of favor due to DPRK’s continued provocations and the government’s decision to consider sending aid to DPRK, Realmeter said. South Korea’s decision to mull over fresh aid to the DPRK has also caused a rift of concern in neighboring Japan and the United States, according to government officials there, leading Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to bring up the issue during a phone call with Moon last week. Moon had said aid was something to be considered separately from political issues, quoted by his office. South Korean humanitarian aid efforts to DPRK had been halted since DPRK’s fourth nuclear test in January last year. The last time the South had sent aid to DPRK was in December 2015 through the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) under ex-president Park Geun-hye. DPRK has conducted two more nuclear tests since then, with its most recent and largest taking place early this month. Pyongyang has launched numerous missiles as well, including two intercontinental ballistic missiles and two other rockets that have flown over Japan. Such provocations have sparked strong disapproval from the international community, especially from the United States and Japan. (REUTERS)

Guangdong 21st Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo Attracts Hundreds of Overseas Enterprises

DONGGUAN, China, Sept. 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- On September 21, over 1,600 enterprises from 56 countries and regions came with a fascinating mix of products including Russian honey, Polish dairy products, Vietnam coffee and Spanish olive for showcasing at 2017 Guangdong 21st Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo in Dongguan, Guangdong, seeking to promote cultural exchanges and commercial cooperation. The Expo, an important platform for Guangdong to contribute to China's Belt and Road Initiative, has been held for four straight years. According to the organizing committee, this year's Expo is the biggest ever held as it covers an area of 100,000 m2, up from 70,000 m2 last year. And the event has attracted 1,134 overseas exhibitors, accounting for over 60 percent of a total of 1682 exhibitors. The newcomers this year are enterprises from Iran, Romania, Russia and Mongolia. In addition, the Expo attracts trade associations from over 30 countries and regions, including South Africa, Vietnam and Malaysia, a number of national chambers of commerce such as China General Chamber of Commerce, China Commerce Association for General Merchandise, as well as multinational retailing giants like Walmart and Carrefour. The organizing committee estimated that the number of professional buyers participating in this year's event would exceed 30,000. This year's Expo consists of one theme exhibition and six professional exhibitions. It is worth noting that showcasing of the cooperation between Guangdong and island countries in the South Pacific and the successful outcomes achieved in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, has been added to the theme exhibition for the first time. This aims to highlight Guangdong's role and progress as an essential part of the Belt and Road Initiative and presents commercial opportunities for enterprises. The Expo has evolved into a strong driver for trade and cultural exchanges during the past four years as it gives countries along the Maritime Silk Road full access to channels and information in terms of investment, exchanges and cooperation, said Wang Yongqing, deputy director of the provincial information office. Data released by the organizing committee indicates that last year's Expo attracted a crowd of 139,000 audiences, and signed 700 deals, totaling 206.8 billion yuan. The Expo will be held till September 24, at the Guangdong Modern International Exhibition Center, Dongguan city. It presents not only investment and cooperation opportunities for infrastructure projects of countries and regions along the Maritime Silk Road, but also the development of the city's high-tech industries and cross-border e-commerce platforms. In the meantime, six professional exhibitions are included in an effort to display the tourism, culture, delicacies and farm produce along the Maritime Silk Road, and to demonstrate international architectural decoration and engineering machinery, etc.   View original content:

President Xi: China and Singapore to yield more cooperative results

Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday that he believed China and Singapore will embrace more opportunities in the new era to yield more substantial cooperative results. Xi made the remarks at a meeting with visiting Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, and the two leaders agreed to improve regional interconnectivity and cooperation in several key areas. President Xi said the senior leaders of the two countries have laid a solid foundation of bilateral relations, and he believed that Lee's visit will deepen the traditional friendship between the two sides and promote greater development for bilateral cooperation. Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a meeting with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, September 20, 2017. /Reuters Photo Xi said China is willing to synergize the Belt and Road Initiative with Singapore's development strategy to improve cooperation in trade and investment, finance, science and technology and innovation. He also suggested that the two sides adhere to mutual understanding and show mutual support and respect on issues concerning each other's core interests and major concerns. Consolidating bilateral relations and strengthening political mutual trust not only conform with the interests of the two countries and their peoples, but also benefit regional and world peace, stability and prosperity, Xi stressed. Lee, for his part, said he fully agrees with Xi’s evaluation on bilateral ties. The Singaporean leader thanked Xi for the warm reception and hailed the success of the BRICS Summit in Xiamen earlier this month. Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a meeting with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, September 20, 2017. /Reuters Photo He said Singapore follows the one-China policy, opposes Taiwan independence, and hopes to see a stable and prosperous China. As the coordinator of China-ASEAN ties and the rotating chair of ASEAN next year, Singapore will spare no efforts to facilitate the relationship between China and ASEAN and enhance the cooperation among member states of the bloc, Lee noted. The two leaders also exchanged views on the latest hot-spot international issues. Lee is paying an official visit to China from Tuesday to Thursday. Earlier in the day, he also met Zhang Dejiang and Wang Qishan, senior officials of the Communist Party of China (CPC). (CGTN)

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Daily average of 20 enterprises settle down in Horgos

Some 4,894 enterprises settled down in the city of Horgos, in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, in the first half of this year, China News Agency reported. According to Chen Chen, an official from the city's Market Supervision Administration, 2,406 enterprises settled down in the city in 2016, representing a daily average of at least six enterprises. In the first half of 2017, that figure exceeded 20. These enterprises are placing much hope in the future of Horgos, a frontier city along the traditional Silk Road thanks to the remarkable achievements regarding the Belt and Road Initiative, Chen said. Constant media coverage had further promoted the city domestically and abroad. The city's beneficial investment policy is also a great lure for enterprises. Boshihao Group, a Shenzhen-registered firm that develops and produces robots, registered in Horgos at the end of last year, producing 2,000 robots in the first half of this year. "We are exploring the markets in central Asia as well as Xinjiang," said Min Jianbo, general manager of the Group's Xinjiang branch. "The Belt and Road provides great opportunities for us," Min added. (BELT AND ROAD PORTAL)


Ministry of Commerce: further promote Belt and Road construction

Belt and Road construction made remarkable progress in the economic and trade sector in the first half of this year, while the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May achieved a series of important economic and trade outcomes. Commerce Vice Minister Qian Keming said recently that plans had been made to implement the agreements, turn the desire for promoting economic globalization into genuine actions, and push forward Belt and Road construction in scope and depth. An increasing number of countries and international organizations are coming to actively participate in the Belt and Road Initiative. In May, China successfully hosted the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which promoted Belt and Road construction to an all-time high, and created a strong motivation and much positive energy to solve current problems faced by many economies and boost economic globalization. Qian said achievements had been made in four aspects during the first half of this year. Firstly, trade cooperation was deepened. China actively expanded imports from Belt and Road countries, optimized the trade structure that was more open to each other and facilitated overall trade expansion. Secondly, investment cooperation was increased. China has continued to improve its policies and strengthen investment services, along with encouraging companies to invest in the countries along the Belt and Road routes. In the first half of this year, total investment in these countries was US$6.6 billion, with contracted projects worth US$71.4 billion, up 38.8 percent year-on-year. Thirdly, China continued to promote the construction of economic and trade cooperation zones in other countries. Chinese companies were encouraged to operate according to market requirements and to take development strategy, resources, market demand and other factors into consideration when building such zones. Fourthly, the construction of free trade zones was accelerated. At the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech and announced a series of significant measures, while witnessing the conclusion of over 270 agreements. Xi also announced the nation would hold the first China International Import Expo in 2018. Qian said the Ministry of Commerce was now making preparations for it, hoping to draw worldwide participation. Meanwhile, the ministry would properly implement major foreign aid measures, support developing countries in their economic development and improve people's wellbeing, and properly implement the agreements with related countries and international organizations to deepen Belt and Road economic and trade cooperation and benefit more countries and people. (BELT AND ROAD PORTAL)