China remains engine for global growth and attractive destination for investment: FM

China's stable economic growth and opening-up will continue to make the country an engine for global growth and promising destination for foreign investment. China welcomes foreign enterprises to continue to invest in the country, deepen their presence and be successful, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Friday.

The remarks came following the European Commission recently upgrading its forecast for China's 2024 economic growth to 4.8 percent, up by 0.2 percentage points compared with its previous projection.

In the first quarter of the year, the Chinese economy got off to a strong start, with GDP growth hitting 5.3 percent year-on-year. In April, the country's purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the domestic manufacturing sector was reported at 50.4. Last month, the country's foreign trade soared 8 percent to 3.64 trillion yuan, hitting a new high compared with corresponding historical period, official data showed.

The upward recovery momentum has made the international community positive on the Chinese economy and increase investment in China. Recently, international financial institutions including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and UBS have upgraded their forecasts for China's economic growth this year.

The Asian Development Bank data estimated China will account for 46 percent of growth in developing Asia in 2024-25.

Foreign investors' confidence in China is on the rise. The country improved its ranking as an attractive destination to invest over the next three years, jumping to the third place from the seventh in 2023, and continuing to lead emerging markets, according to a report recently released by consulting firm Kearney.

China seeks development amid continued opening-up, and welcomes the world to share China's opportunities, Wang said at a regular press conference. China's stable economic growth and continuous opening-up will make the country a global economic growth engine and a promising investment for companies from all countries, said the spokesperson.

GT Voice: Innovative ways needed to move China-Japan-S.Korea trilateral cooperation forward

While external forces have complicated relations among China, Japan and South Korea, the new challenges facing regional economic development have also spurred them to seek new avenues for cooperation in the current global political and economic landscape. This has been a key factor in the increasing signs of warming trilateral cooperation.

The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Japan Business Federation and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade plan to co-host a trilateral business summit later this month in Seoul, the Yonhap News Agency reported on Monday.

The gathering has been held since 2009 with the goal of expanding Northeast Asian economic cooperation and exchanges. Most recently, the event was held in 2019 in Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan Province.

Although the resumption of the gathering has not been officially confirmed, the eagerness of South Korea to advance trilateral cooperation is palpable. However, the future of trilateral cooperation will ultimately depend on the determination of Japan and South Korea to expand their cooperation and their ability to resist pressure from the US.

There is no question that China, Japan and South Korea possess the necessary foundation for economic and trade cooperation. Enhancing economic cooperation among the three countries is not only essential for regional development, but will also be crucial in promoting peace and prosperity in East Asia and globally. However, it is geopolitical factors, rather than economic considerations, that have impeded their collaboration.

As a result of the recent "decoupling" push by the US, Japan and South Korea, as key Asian allies of the US, have aligned their stance with the US on various issues, including taking a tough approach toward China in areas such as supply chains, science and technology. However, this misjudgment has had a significant impact on their own economies and trade.

For instance, South Korea's exports decreased 7.4 percent year-on-year in 2023, and it also recorded a trade deficit of $18 billion with China in 2023, its first such bilateral shortfall with China in 31 years, according to media reports.

Facing growing economic pressure and risks from following the US "decoupling" push, Japan and South Korea appear to be reassessing the significance of their relationships with China and are more inclined to enhance communication with China.

However, to achieve effective trilateral communication and cooperation, Japan and South Korea need not only to demonstrate sincerity in improving relations, but more importantly, the three parties need to find innovative ways to collaborate amid the US push for "decoupling" and "breaking chains," as failure to do so will result in consequences for all parties involved.

Enhancing mutual trust and promoting cooperation can only be achieved through the establishment of more frequent dialogue and communication mechanisms. In order to resist US pressure, China, Japan and South Korea could lessen their reliance on a single external market by enhancing cooperation within a multilateral framework. One way to achieve this is by expediting negotiations for the China-Japan-South Korea free trade agreement to broaden collaboration in trade, investment, technology exchanges and environmental protection. Additionally, cooperation could be bolstered within the ASEAN plus China, Japan and South Korea mechanism to promote the growth of the entire region.

In terms of mitigating risks, China, Japan and South Korea could focus on diversifying their supply chains by identifying alternative sources and improving the connectivity of their internal supply chains.

Additionally, they can address external pressures through policy coordination and information sharing, while also fostering cultural and talent exchanges to seek mutually beneficial solutions that uphold their respective national interests.

Moreover, the three can strengthen cooperation in some non-sensitive or non-strategic areas, such as environmental protection, climate change, renewable energy and public health.

Only by working together can the three countries achieve a mutually beneficial outcome. There is no alternative. Despite the challenges, it is crucial to resist the pressure by the US as a way to promote cooperation and avoid losses by the three parties. As East Asia remains the most vital engine of the global economy, the way in which these three countries collaborate will significantly influence global development.

Tagging ‘overcapacity’ on Chinese new energy products groundless; a pretext to implement trade protective measures: NDRC

Chinese economic officials have slammed the hyped “overcapacity” tag on Chinese new energy products on Friday, calling it “a carefully crafted narrative trap created by some countries with the aim of making it a pretext to implement trade protective measures.” While voicing strong objection to the action, they also warn against its dire consequences, which will disrupt the stability and smooth flow of global supply chains, hinder the global green transition and eventually backfire on the initiators of trade protectionism.

For some time, certain officials and media outlets in some countries have intensively accused China’s new energy products of “overcapacity.” These hypes are attempts to set the stage for unilateralism and the implementation of trade protection policies, according to an article posted on Friday on the WeChat account of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country’s top economic planner.

Those allegations on China’s new energy products do not hold ground as they are neither in line with facts nor economic rules, the NDRC article said, while rebutting every piece of the fallacy with solid proof and data.

With regards to the claim that “the overcapacity of China’s new energy exports was a result of insufficient domestic market and thus have to sell to the global market at a low price,” the NDRC blasted it with a reference to the fundamental law of international industrial division and cooperation.

Take the US exports as an example, it noted. About 80 percent of high-end chips produced in the US are destined for export, and the country is also the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, while one-fifth of US agricultural products are shipped to China, however, the US has not been accused of exporting “overcapacity” in these areas. In contrast, China’s new energy vehicle (NEV) exports only represented 12.5 percent of its total output last year, showing that China's new energy products currently mainly satisfy domestic demand.

It is also key to view the global supply-demand relationship from a developmental perspective, or the demand of global market and its development potential, the NDRC said, lambasting the claim that “China’s new energy capacity has surpassed global demand, making other countries unable to absorb.”

The NDRC highlighted a bunch of data by IEA which showed that the forecasted global demand for NEVs and power battery by 2030 will be almost five times from China’s capacity in relevant industries in 2023. In terms of the cumulative photovoltaic installed capacity, the projected global demand by 2030 is calculated to be around 9 times from China’s capacity in 2023. All underscore huge room for future demand growth.

On the one hand, the advantage is built upon a vast domestic market, a complete industrial system, intense market competition and continuous technological innovation under market mechanism, the NDRC pointed out. On the other hand, individual country has been encouraging and supporting the growth of relevant industries amid global green transition, and in particular the US is providing prodigious subsidies and tax incentives to new energy industries through legislation such as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.

There isn't a “China overcapacity,” but a US overcapacity of anxiety stemming from a lack of confidence and smears against China, Lin Jian, spokesperson from China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a press briefing on April 30.

During US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s recent visit to China, he pointed finger at China over the so-called “unfair trade practices and the potential consequences of industrial overcapacity to global and US markets,” naming some industries including electric vehicles, batteries, and solar panels. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen recently reiterated in an interview with Reuters the "overcapacity" in China, claiming that the so-called overcapacity in China is not only a problem faced by the US, but also by Europe, Japan, India and Mexico.

It is indeed despicable and hypocritical for nations to proclaim that addressing global climate change is their “noble mission,” while simultaneously adopting protectionist measures under the pretext of “overcapacity” to suppress the development of new energy industries in other countries, according to the NDRC article.

Such actions not only undermine the global efforts to combat climate change but will also backfire, the NDRC warned, while citing a list of examples from the past decades that show that there’s no winner out of trade protectionism.

Also, the moves could wreak havoc on the stable operation of global new energy industry supply chains, creating “blockages,” “choke points,” and “breakpoints” that affect the efficiency of economic operations and may even trigger various potential risks, the NDRC stressed.

“Economic globalization has become a major trend. Countries are interdependent and integrated into a community of shared interests. Being open and inclusive, and pursuing win-win cooperation is the only correct choice,” the NDRC article concluded, urging countries to oppose the politicization of economic and trade issues or make them security issues, advocate for “tearing down walls rather than building them, for openness rather than isolation, for integration rather than decoupling, and promote the construction of an open world economy.”

China’s EHang completes passenger-carrying eVTOL demonstration flight in UAE

EHang Holdings, an autonomous aerial vehicle technology company based in China, announced on Monday that its pilotless electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft EH216-S successfully completed its first passenger-carrying demonstration flight in Abu Dhabi, marking the first of its kind in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Middle East. 

The EH216 series pilotless eVTOL aircraft performed several autonomous flights at the Emirates Falcons Aviation Club in Al Ali, Abu Dhabi with the approval by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) of the UAE. 

"After obtaining approval for the demo flights carrying passengers and completing the inaugural flight, we will closely collaborate with the GCAA and the Civil Aviation Administration of China to accelerate the commercialization of our unmanned aircraft in the UAE. This will mark a significant milestone for Abu Dhabi and the global air mobility industry," Hu Huazhi, chief executive of EHang, was quoted as saying in a statement sent to the Global Times on Tuesday.

EHang's inaugural manned flight of the eVTOL in the UAE not only signifies the advancement of China's drone technology but also underscores growing international cooperation in the field of low-altitude economy.

China's low-altitude economy has been included in the new quality productive forces, according to the Government Work Report for 2024.

The EHang Intelligent EH216-S stands as the world's pioneering eVTOL aircraft to obtain all three certifications - Type Certificate (TC), Airworthiness Certificate (AC), and Production Certificate (PC). Capable of fully recharged within two hours, the EH216-S boasts a top speed of 130 kilometers per hour, with a flight endurance of 25 minutes and a designed range of 30 kilometers.

The pilotless eVTOL aircraft feature a compact fuselage, high redundancy design and intelligent cluster management, enabling safety and efficiency as well as scalable operations, in order to provide safe, autonomous, and eco-friendly air mobility.

Additionally, the EH216-F (for high-rise firefighting) and EH216-L (for aerial logistics) demonstrated their debut flights in the UAE too, showcasing a diverse range of UAM use scenarios of the pilotless eVTOL aircraft.

Chinese trade chamber in Europe deplores discriminative FSR probe on Chinese companies

The China Chamber of Commerce to the EU (CCCEU) raised deep concerns regarding the European Commission's selective transparency and potential discriminatory application of the Foreign Subsidies Regulation (FSR) against Chinese products.

The CCCEU submitted a comprehensive response on Tuesday to the EC's recent initiation of in-depth FSR investigations into Chinese companies that participated in a solar photovoltaic project tender in Romania, according to a statement released by CCCEU.

The rebuttal voiced a range of concerns about various shortcomings in the EC's actions and its potential ramifications for Chinese businesses operating in the European market.

The chamber noted the heightened scrutiny imposed on Chinese companies compared to those subjected to non-EU entities in the same tender process. "This selective enforcement of the FSR raises serious questions about the fairness, objectivity, and consistency of the Commission's approach," the chamber said.

On April 3, the EC launched two in-depth FSR investigations on two bidders involved in the tender process for Romania's 110MW solar photovoltaic park project. Afterward, the commission conducted a raid on a Chinese company's offices in Poland and the Netherlands without prior notice on April 23, following another probe targeting Chinese wind turbines which began on April 9.

The FSR has increased uncertainties for Chinese bidders, causing concern about the EU's growing protectionism and misapplication of policy tools, the chamber noted in the statement, urging the European Union to ensure Chinese enterprises' operations in Europe in "a fair, transparent, and non-discriminatory environment."

Since the end of 2023, the bloc has launched a series of subsidy investigations targeting Chinese businesses in emerging sectors such as electric vehicles, solar panels, and wind turbines, which has been labeled by China's Ministry of Commerce as protectionist behavior that distorts fair competition.

Top executives at BMW and Volkswagen on Wednesday warned against imposing EU import duties on electric vehicles made by Chinese automakers, saying it could upend the bloc's Green Deal plan and harm automakers that import cars made in China. The comments were in response to the bloc's probe launched in October into Chinese automakers for alleged subsidies and extra tariffs, Reuters reported.

In Thursday's statement, the Chamber also contended that the EC has not provided sufficient justification or interpretation of "foreign subsidies" under the FSR, and expressed concern about the burden placed on Chinese companies by the broad information requests and the potential disclosure of sensitive business data.

The chamber's observations follow the recent publication of EU summary notices, inviting stakeholders' feedback. Throughout the legislative and implementation process of the FSR, the chamber has been actively involved, stressing the importance of legality, transparency, and non-discriminatory application.

Generating clean power

A technician inspects an automated production line at a local new-energy technology company in Gaoyou city, East China's Jiangsu Province, on May 12, 2024. In recent years, Jiangsu has become a major production base of solar photovoltaic panels that sell well at home and abroad. Photo: VCG

Peng Liyuan visits National Museum of Serbia

Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, on invitation visited the National Museum of Serbia with Tamara Vucic, wife of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, in Belgrade on Wednesday morning.

The two first ladies toured the museum's painting exhibition together. The museum boasts a long history and abundant collections, Peng remarked, noting that the classic paintings exhibited there feature delicate brushstrokes and rich emotions.

Peng emphasized that museums serve not only as windows for preserving and displaying cultural relics but also as halls for promoting civilization. She also expressed hope for enhanced cultural exchanges and cooperation between China and Serbia to build bridges for dialogue among civilizations.

The two first ladies also watched demonstrations of traditional Serbian women's hand weaving and warmly interacted with the artisans. Peng praised the exquisite and distinctive craftsmanship of Serbian hand weaving, considering it an important intangible cultural heritage that has been well preserved and promoted.

Highlighting the similarities between Chinese and Serbian embroidery cultures, she suggested mutual learning and encouragement for young people from both countries to actively engage in preserving traditional handicrafts from generation to generation. The two also enthusiastically participated in making Serbian wool felt balls.

Established in 1844, the National Museum of Serbia houses over 400,000 artifacts, making it the largest and oldest museum in Serbia.

China, France issue joint statement on Middle East situation, condemn all violations of intl humanitarian law

China and France have issued a joint statement on the situation in the Middle East, condemning all violations of international humanitarian law, including all acts of terrorist violence and indiscriminate attacks against civilians.

The statement was released during Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to France, where Xi and French President Emmanuel Macron exchanged in-depth views on the situation in the Middle East.

China and France condemn all violations of international humanitarian law, including all acts of terrorist violence and indiscriminate attacks against civilians. They recall the absolute imperative of protecting civilians in Gaza in accordance with international humanitarian law. The two heads of state expressed their opposition to an Israeli offensive on Rafah, which would lead to a humanitarian disaster on a larger scale, as well as to forced displacement of Palestinian civilians, according to the joint statement.

The two heads of state stressed that an immediate and sustainable ceasefire is urgently needed to enable the delivery of large-scale humanitarian aid and the protection of civilians in the Gaza Strip. They called for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages and the guarantee of humanitarian access to meet their medical and other humanitarian needs, as well as respect for international law with regard to all detainees, it said.

The two heads of state called on all parties to refrain from unilateral measures on the ground that might aggravate tensions, and in this respect condemned Israel's policy of settlement construction, which violates international law and constitutes a major obstacle to lasting peace as well as to the possibility of establishing a viable and contiguous State of Palestine. The two heads of state reiterated that the future governance of Gaza cannot be dissociated from a comprehensive political settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on the two-State solution, according to the statement.

The two heads of state called for a decisive and irreversible relaunch of a political process to concretely implement the two-State solution, with Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security, both with Jerusalem as their capital, and the establishment of a viable, independent and sovereign State of Palestine based on the 1967 borders. The two heads of state reaffirmed their commitment to this solution, which is the only way to meet the legitimate aspirations of the Israeli and Palestinian people for lasting peace and security, it said.

China and France reaffirm their commitment to promoting a political and diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action concluded in 2015 is a major outcome of multilateral diplomacy. The two countries are concerned about the risks of escalation, recall the importance of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and facilitation of diplomatic efforts, and reaffirm their commitment to safeguarding the international non-proliferation regime and promoting peace and stability in the Middle East, according to the statement.

The statement was issued as Israeli military forces have taken control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, a key strategic objective and the sole gateway between Egypt and Gaza for humanitarian aid, the Guardian quoted Israeli military officials as saying on Tuesday.

In response to Israeli military operations in Rafah, Lin Jian, spokesperson of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said at a Tuesday briefing that China expresses serious concern over Israel's action, and strongly urges Israel to listen to the overwhelming calls from the international community to cease the attack on Rafah and to prevent a more serious humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip.

The spokesperson stated that the Gaza conflict has been going on for over 200 days, resulting in a shocking humanitarian crisis, which is a test of human conscience. War and violence cannot fundamentally solve problems and bring real security, but only exacerbate hatred. The international community must take action. The immediate priority is to effectively implement UN Security Council Resolution 2728, immediately cease fire, ensure humanitarian aid returns as soon as possible, and return to the basis of the two-state solution to politically resolve the Palestinian question.

China and France open a new chapter in joint exploration of nuclear energy after 40 years of partnership and trust

At the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron, Chinese President Xi Jinping kicked off his state visit to France on May 5. It coincides with the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and France, and is of great significance to building on past achievements and opening up new prospects for bilateral relations.

During this visit, achieving carbon neutrality goals will, once again, be an important consensus reaffirmed by China and France, in relation to which, the joint promotion of nuclear energy cooperation and development as an important cornerstone for the two countries to achieve carbon reduction goals has attracted great attention.

Yu Jianfeng, Chairman of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), and Jean-Bernard Lévy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Electricité de France (EDF) jointly released A Prospective Study on "Bluebook" on Nuclear Energy to Support for Low Carbon on Monday in Paris.

"China and France, as major nuclear energy-producing countries in the world, play an irreplaceable role in promoting nuclear energy to address climate change and low-carbon transformation," Yu said.

He noted that nuclear energy cooperation is an important part of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and France. Under the strategic guidance of President Xi and President Macron, nuclear energy enterprises in the two countries have adhered to the principle of "walking on the two legs of technological cooperation and industrial cooperation," and have achieved fruitful results.

The Global Times learned from the CNNC that the cooperation between the CNNC and the EDF opens a new chapter in the two countries' nuclear energy cooperation. This not only reflects the concrete implementation of the important consensus reached by the top leaders of the two countries, but also marks the 40th anniversary of the two countries' nuclear energy cooperation and witnesses the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France.

The move will also support China in building an innovative nuclear energy international cooperation network. In the future, the two countries will leverage their strengths to build a new pattern of cooperation and development that is interconnected and driven by innovation, supported by industry to promote the improvement of global nuclear governance, and make greater contributions to the economic and social development of China and France, as well as the construction of a global community of shared future for mankind.

One of the most stable cooperation areas

The nuclear energy cooperation between China and France has a long history and continues to deepen. Since the signing of the first cooperation agreement on the peaceful use of nuclear energy in 1982, China and France have always adhered to the principle of equal emphasis on scientific and industrial cooperation. Nuclear energy cooperation has become one of the most stable cooperation areas between the two countries.

As one of the earliest international nuclear energy companies to cultivate business in China, the EDF has been operating in China for more than 40 years and has become one of the largest foreign investors in China's power generation and energy services industry.

For a long time, the EDF has developed and deepened its partnership with the CNNC. The two sides regularly hold high-level meetings, and their cooperation covers multiple areas such as nuclear power research and development, construction, operation and maintenance, and fuel, achieving numerous results.

The CNNC and the EDF have actively participated in the interactive activities of international organizations, sending experts to support the work of international organization technical groups, conducting international research projects, and promoting international coordination and standardization. For example, they participated in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)'s nuclear safety standards development work, especially the recent Nuclear Harmonization and Standardization Initiative (NHSI) small modular reactor regulatory forum activities initiated by the IAEA, which is aimed at promoting the development of universal standards for small modular reactors, coordinate unified regulatory requirements, and promote the safe and reliable deployment of small modular reactors worldwide.

The EDF and the CNNC have also made important contributions to the standardization work of international standardization organizations and the International Electrotechnical Commission.

As the main force of China and France's nuclear energy technology cooperation, the CNNC has established long-term friendly cooperation relationships with French partners and achieved fruitful cooperation results. In the more than 40 years of nuclear energy technology cooperation, the CNNC and the French Atomic Energy Commission have established seven collaborative laboratories in areas such as reactor thermal hydraulics, severe accident management, aging and life management of pressurized water reactors, fast reactors, nuclear fusion, geological disposal of high-level radioactive waste, decommissioning, and radioactive waste management. The two sides also signed and implemented over 500 special cooperation projects.

The CNNC has also successfully held six nuclear energy technology innovation seminars with the EDF, achieving good results in areas such as severe accidents, additive manufacturing, and material research.

Furthermore, the CNNC has also formed a consortium with Framatome to successfully bid for and implement the main machine installation project of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), and have conducted good cooperation with the Orano Group in areas such as the research on uranium resources.
To jointly build "artificial sun"

Cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy has become an important part of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and France. The scope of nuclear energy cooperation between the two countries is wide-ranging and diverse, but the most "high-energy" project undoubtedly is the ITER large-scale scientific project that the two countries are jointly working on.

Referred to as the world's largest "artificial sun," the ITER project is currently the largest and most influential international scientific project in the world, carrying the hopes of humanity for the peaceful use of nuclear fusion energy.

The ITER device is a superconducting tokamak capable of producing large-scale nuclear fusion reactions, which will help humanity move further toward a continuous source of clean energy. Since its establishment in 2007, the ITER has been one of the largest international scientific engineering cooperation projects in the world. France is the location of the ITER project construction and headquarters, while China is one of the seven equal member parties of the ITER project, contributing 9.09 percent of the construction phase and 10 percent of the operation and decommissioning phase funding.

China joined the ITER project in 2006. Since the implementation of the project, China has always adhered to its international commitments, with Chinese enterprises and researchers bravely shouldering heavy responsibilities and working together with international counterparts to contribute Chinese wisdom and strength to the smooth progress of the project.

The CNNC has been actively involved in the development of the world's largest "artificial sun." In September 2019, a China-France consortium led by the CNNC signed the TAC-1 installation contract with the ITER, marking China's deep involvement in the installation of the core equipment of the tokamak device - the "heart" of the experimental reactor.

On February 29, 2024, the ITER organization signed a new the vacuum chamber module assembly contract with the consortium. China will once again undertake the installation of the core equipment, contributing wisdom and strength to the ITER project alongside France.

Shen Yanfeng, General Manager of the CNNC, said that the signing of the agreement means that the China-France consortium led by the CNNC has become the sole contractor for the main host installation of the ITER project. This demonstrates the CNNC's commitment to implementing President Xi's important instructions, opening up to the outside world, deeply participating in the global nuclear industry chain cooperation, building a new development pattern, promoting high-quality development of the nuclear industry, accelerating the advancement of China's modernization, and striving to create a vivid practice of a global community of shared future for mankind.

This will greatly enhance China's participation and contribution in international large-scale scientific projects, and help implement the "three-step" development strategy of nuclear energy - thermal reactors, fast reactors, and fusion reactors, Shen said.
Direction for nuclear energy development

The release of the "bluebook" undoubtedly takes the cooperation between China and France in the nuclear energy field to a new level.

The Global Times learned that the "bluebook" is the first strategic planning soft science cooperation between Chinese state-owned nuclear energy enterprises and partners in developed Western countries in recent years, marking a significant increase in China's nuclear industry strategic planning and soft science research capabilities and international influence, with obvious uniqueness and importance.

"The 'bluebook' is cooperation between China and France at the strategic research level in the field of nuclear energy, which has never happened before. It was included in the plan during French President Macron's visit to China in 2023," Luo Qingping, President of the China Institute of Nuclear Industry Strategy under CNNC, told the Global Times.

The release of the "bluebook" at the historical moment of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France can also be seen as the opening of a new chapter in the nuclear energy cooperation of the two countries. In the future, China and France can combine the contents of the "bluebook" to deepen cooperation in promoting nuclear energy development, including cooperation in exploring third-party markets.

The Global Times found that the "bluebook" interprets the development ideas and practices of China and France in the field of nuclear energy through historical reviews and strategic research, providing an in-depth analysis of the future nuclear energy industry from a macro perspective.

The research mainly covers the current global status and trends of nuclear energy development, the role of nuclear power in addressing the climate change, progress in nuclear power safety and related technology standards, and measures to enhance the economic efficiency of nuclear power coupled with other new energy sources, systematically describing the current status of nuclear energy development and good practices in China and France.

In addition, the "bluebook" fully demonstrates China's strength in nuclear power construction, including its strength in third-generation nuclear power, fourth-generation nuclear power, small modular reactors, and the entire industry chain service capabilities.

It also describes important nuclear power products in China, such as the Hualong One, Linglong One, high-temperature reactors, and fast reactors, making it easier for the international community to understand China's nuclear power technology and product capabilities.

The release of the "bluebook" can expand the influence of Chinese nuclear power companies, especially the CNNC. Through the preparation of the "bluebook," China and France can reach a consensus on nuclear energy technology at the strategic level and enhance the international influence of nuclear energy technology in both countries.

The "bluebook" proposes three initiatives. First, China and France jointly advocate that every country in the world has the right to develop nuclear power, but safety must be the top priority in the development process, meaning that nuclear power must be developed under reliable safety supervision. Second, it points out to the world that nuclear energy can effectively support low-carbon development. China's future nuclear energy technologies such as small modular reactors and nuclear fusion are important solutions to the global energy problem. Third, it calls for urgent action to address the crisis caused by climate change, emphasizing that energy transformation is imperative, and the development of nuclear power is undoubtedly an effective approach.

Based on this "bluebook," there is a possibility of creating an internationally significant guiding document. The IAEA is also very interested in this "bluebook." Next, the CNNC will communicate with the IAEA to try to include the "bluebook" in their publication list for global promotion.

A green future for humanity

According to data in the "bluebook," as of the end of December 2023, France has an installed nuclear power capacity of 61.37 gigawatts in operation, ranking second in the world, with an additional 1.63 gigawatts under construction. China has an installed nuclear power capacity of 53.15 gigawatts in operation, ranking third in the world, with an additional 23.72 gigawatts under construction. Both China and France are major nuclear energy-producing countries, with CNNC and EDF as key players in global nuclear energy development, each having their own advantages in nuclear power construction, operation, maintenance, and fuel supply, accumulating rich experience in the development of nuclear energy.

The continued cooperation between the two countries will provide strong momentum for the utilization and development of global clean energy technologies. China and France will continue to deepen cooperation in multiple areas such as nuclear engineering, nuclear power operation, and nuclear fuel cycle. They will promote the synergy between nuclear energy and renewable energy, formulate public policies focusing on low-carbon growth, accelerate the development of renewable energy such as hydropower, wind power, solar power, and geothermal energy, extend the lifespan of existing nuclear power plants, initiate new nuclear power construction projects, and optimize the cost of energy transition.

Furthermore, the two sides will cooperate to promote advanced nuclear energy technologies such as small modular reactors and fusion reactors. They will work together to advance the commercial deployment of small modular reactors. They will also strengthen international cooperation in the field of nuclear fusion research, the Global Times learned from the CNNC.

At the same time, they will promote the comprehensive application of nuclear energy, popularize technologies such as nuclear heating, seawater desalination, and hydrogen production, diversify the forms of nuclear energy utilization, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

They will also conduct research on the impact of climate change using nuclear technology, playing a special role in addressing issues such as water scarcity, soil erosion, land degradation, and increased diseases and pests in plants and animals caused by climate change.

Looking to the future, the CNNC and the EDF have reached a consensus that nuclear energy development is a realistic and important choice in the transition to a clean, low-carbon, safe, and efficient modern energy system, especially as nuclear energy expands from electricity generation to heating, steam supply, hydrogen production, and other applications, potentially accelerating the decarbonization of high-emission industries. The deepening cooperation in the nuclear energy field between China and France will undoubtedly bring more solutions and surprises to humanity.

US assembles 'Squad' of allies to counter China

Defense chiefs from the US, Australia, Japan and the Philippines gathered in Hawaii on Thursday (local time) for their second joint meeting, lining up yet another regional group dubbed the "Squad" by Pentagon officials, while vowing a strengthened alliance among the four countries. 

Chinese analysts warned on Sunday that this new quadrilateral grouping, distinct from the older version of the Quad which was also assembled by the US, poses a more targeted challenge to China. The grouping, part of Washington's "Indo-Pacific Strategy," aims at containing China, leading to concerns about more complex tensions and division among regional countries.

Chinese analysts warned that the Philippines, increasingly manipulated by the US, is losing its autonomy and becoming a pawn of the US in the region, which could lead to the "Ukrainization" of the Philippines.

Speaking after the talks on Friday, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced the four-country group would look at undertaking more maritime exercises, as well as providing greater security assistance to the Philippines, US media reported.

The defense chiefs of the "Squad" met for the first time in June 2023 on the sidelines of the Shangri-La security dialogue in Singapore. And in April 2024, the four countries conducted joint maritime patrols within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone against the backdrop of ongoing tensions between the Philippines and China. 

Citing an anonymous US official, Bloomberg reported on Friday that the "Squad" aims to counter coercion and aggression across Asia, as well as ensure that defense capabilities among their militaries are increasingly inter-operable, allowing them to work more efficiently together in the event of conflict.

The US official said the quadrilateral group aims to conduct more joint patrols in the coming months and years and that these patrols will add more capabilities over time.

The report also highlights that this new quadrilateral grouping is one of a number of regional partnerships that the US has used to push back against China in Asia. There is also the "Quad" comprised of the US, Australia, India and Japan and "Aukus," a defense pact among Australia, the UK and the US.

At the tactical level, the new grouping would form a more targeted mechanism against China which is similar but more effective than the previous Quad grouping as Japan, Australia and Philippines are all allies of the US, where India, although it is in the Quad group, it is not technically a US ally. Therefore, this new "Squad" has a stronger sense of direction, meeting the needs of the US to manage the security situation in the regions of the South China Sea and the Taiwan Straits, Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

At the strategic level, the new "Squad," like the old "Quad," is led by the US, adjusting the Asia-Pacific security architecture and promoting the implementation of overall planning through small-scale multilateral cooperation, Li noted.

An official release from the US-Japan-Australia Trilateral Defense Ministers' Meeting (TDMM) 2024 Joint Statement on Saturday, read that the ministers of the three countries emphasized "the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits." 

They called for peaceful resolution of cross-Straits issues and reaffirmed their enduring commitment to a peaceful, secure and prosperous Southeast Asia, where sovereignty is respected, international law is followed and nations can make decisions free from coercion.

In the short term, "Squad" exerts highly targeted strategic pressure on China, making the situation in the Asia-Pacific region even more complex. In addition to aspects such as intelligence network security and naval security, various dimensions including fisheries have a significant impact on Asia-Pacific security, Li predicted. 

Another Chinese military analyst who requested not to be named told the Global Times on Sunday that the new "Squad" is centered around the US, with the roles of the Philippines and Australia relatively minor. 

By assembling the "Squad," the US seeks to make use of Australia's homeland, defense budget and military to expand the US' influence overseas, while extending the US' military presence in the "Indo-Pacific" region through the Philippines' military bases. However, the military capabilities of these two countries are limited, and the US regards them as pawns, the military analyst explained. 

Analysts pointed out the current Philippine government is being manipulated by the US, and is increasingly lacking autonomy, especially under the Ferdinand Marcos Jr administration which follows the US obediently, and it has become an unstable factor in the Asia-Pacific region.

Li warned that blindly following the US encouragement would only lead to the "Ukrainization" of the Philippines. "By creating crises, the US profits and establishes a situation where no country in the region can be secure without American leadership. The tragic result of the Philippines' provocation against China ultimately suggests that the Philippines should be more autonomous, harmonious with other regional countries, and avoid being used as a pawn by other countries."

Analysts believe that the forming of the new anti-China grouping will lead regional countries to feel there exists a more complex and divisive security situation, with stronger antagonism and conflict, forcing more countries to take sides in geopolitics. 

Gu Xiaosong, dean of the ASEAN Research Institute of Hainan Tropical Ocean University, told the Global Times on Sunday that the forming of the new anti-China "Squad" poses a significant challenge to the historically cordial relations between China and ASEAN. 

Over the years, the China-ASEAN relationship has continually developed in the political, economic and cultural spheres, bringing tangible benefits to both sides. Both parties cherish peace and stability in the region and should work to preserve it, Gu said.

However, the consequences of the Philippines drifting further away could have detrimental effects on the bilateral relationship between China and the Philippines. It is important for both parties to manage their differences and prioritize their shared interests. It is crucial for the current Philippines' leaders to prioritize the common interests of China and the Philippines, maintaining and nurturing the friendly relationship between the two countries for the benefit of both sides, Gu noted.