Today, the situation is radically different. Space exploration is

nger the prerogative of the US and Russia. Apart from the US, Russia and China, India too has worked out an ambitious plan to put astronauts in space by 2022.

Constantly improving manufacturing and new material technologies have remarkably reduced the cost of space launches. The pr

ivate US company Space X has successfully launched recoverable rockets, and its launch cost per kilogram payload has fallen below $2,000, one-ten

th that of a space shuttle launch. And for China and India, the cost of one rocket launch is less than $5,000 per kg.

Another major change helping space exploration is the advancement in 3D printing technology, which now allows astr

onauts to produce parts and components in the International Space Station and thus reduces the number of sup

ply vehicle launches. 3D printing will play a big role in the construction of a permanent space station on the moon.

These technological advancements have propelled a new wave of space fever ac

ross the world. While US President Donald Trump has reactivated the space ex

ploration program that aims to land humans on Mars by 2033, private space companies such as Space X and Blue Ori

gin have used advanced technologies to their full advantage to move ahead in the space race.

For China, building a permanent space station and a rocket launch platform on the moon will

be critical to advanced space exploration. Actually, China is moving closer to fulfilling that objective.

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Holiday week spending over 1 trillion yuannd day of the Chin

Chinese consumers opened their wallet during Spring Festival, not only on things like digital home appliances and importe

d fresh food but also on experiences such as travel and entertainment, government figures showed.

Shopping, dining out, travel and entertainment accounted for most of the consumer spending during the week-long hol

iday. Analysts and officials said the strong domestic demand will inject further growth momentum into the eco

nomy in 2019 as the government unveils more policies to spur consumption.

Spending on retail and food services during the Spring Festival period, from Feb 4 to Sunday this year, exceeded 1 trilli

on yuan ($147.41 billion) for the first time, up 8.5 percent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

The ministry said a key term for Lunar New Year holiday spending was “seeking higher quality” as the government’s em

phasis on upgrading consumption continues. Emerging areas for spending such as the internet, customized pr

oducts, experiences, digital products and services were growth areas during the holiday.

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Zheng Wen, director-general of the ministry’s department of

circulation industry development, said online sales have become an important engine to stimulate domestic spending and i

mports. “Durable consumer goods with high-tech features and branded foreign products have huge commercial potential,” Zheng said.

Chinese e-commerce giant JD reported robust sales between Feb 3 and Friday, with sales revenue jumpi

ng 42.74 percent year-on-year. Smartphones, computers and home appliances were the top three items on JD in terms of sales value.

Chinese consumers tend to buy high-quality and diversified products, the comp

any said. Kitchenware sales posted the strongest growth — 399 percent year-on-year. That was followed by furniture and

luggage, with their respective sales revenue up 185 percent and 148 percent, JD reported.

China UnionPay, the country’s largest bank card operater by market share, saw its total transaction volume over the ho

liday period reach 1.16 trillion yuan, jumping 71.4 percent year-on-year, the company said on Monday.

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Despite the deterioration in conditions, the abundance of apartm

ents and relatively low prices continue to attract young and first-time buyers, as

well as tenants. Sp

eaking in a range of accents, a substantial number of residents squeeze

into buses and the subway every morning and head to work.

Chen Mo is one of them. After studying in the capital for seven years, he chose to

settle in the city

after graduation. In 2001, he took a job with State Grid Corp, the national

electricity generator.

Initially, Chen rented an apartment in

Huilongguan, a crowded community in Changping district,

10 kilometers west of Tiantongyuan’s center, that was well-known for its

affordable property.

Served by subway line 13, Changping’s relative ease of access to public

transportation attracted Chen, so he decided to buy an apartment there in 2010.

After months of research, he discovered that he could buy an apartment of more than 100 sq m in Huilon

gguan for 30,000 yuan per sq m, which would only be enough for a home of 50 to 60 sq m in other parts of the city.

“Property prices doubled in Huilongguan in just six months, so I made the down

payment in 2011 without any hesitation,” he said.

Many others followed suit, so a dense population and heavy traffic congestion quickly became the community’s default setting. Ho

wever, without any industry to provide jobs and with few high-quality schools,

many people chose to leave once they had made enough money.

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South Korea began paying for the U.S. military deplo

the early 1990s, after rebuilding its economy from the devastation of the 1950-1953 Korean War.

About 20 anti-U.S. activists rallied near the Foreign Ministry building in Seoul on Su

nday, chanting slogans like “No more money for U.S. troops.” No violence was reported.

“The United States government realizes that Korea does a lot for our alliance and peace an

d stability in the region,” chief U.S. negotiator Timothy Betts said Sunday in Seoul. “We are very pleased ou

r consultations resulted in agreement that will strengthen transparency and deepen our cooperation and the alliance.”

The deal, which involves the spending of South Korean taxpayer money, requires parliam

entary approval in South Korea, but not in the United States, according to Seoul’s Foreign Ministry.

The allies had failed to reach a new cost-sharing plan during some 10 rounds of tal

ks. A five-year 2014 deal that covered South Korea’s payment last year expired at the end of 2018.

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Midway through our flight from Auckland to Shanghai, th

the pilot informs us that Chinese authorities had not given this plane permissi

on to land, so we needed to turn around,” Eric Hundman, an assistant professor at New York University Shanghai, said on his Twitter account.

He described the experience as “a new level of China

An official with CAAC said the administration has begun an investigation into the incident.

Air New Zealand also said they are investigating and an official explanation will be released later on Sunday.

All the passengers have been accommodated and another flight is to be arranged on Sunday night to send the passengers to Shanghai.

“Air New Zealand wishes to sincerely apologize for the return and subsequent retiming of your flight NZ289,” the carrier said in the short message to its passengers.

The rearranged flight is scheduled to take off at 11pm New Zealand time on Sunday and land at Pudong airport at 6am local time Monday.

Bad,” which caused heated debate on the social network.

“Obviously Air New Zealand forgot to get approval for this plane in advance… You ca

n blame Air New Zealand, but this mistake has nothing to do with ‘China Bad’,” a netizen replied.

Hundman later told Shanghai Daily that he did not mean to blame China since it was still un

clear who is at fault. “I mean that I had a frustrating, highly unusual experience while en route to China,” he added.

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The fourth opportunity is the Belt and Road Initiative, Liu

said. In 2018, trade in goods between China and countries within the re

gion covered by the BRI stood at $1.3 trillion, a 16.3 percent increase year-on-year. It w

as 3.7 percentage points higher than the growth rate of China’s overall external trade.

More than 13,000 China Railway Express trains have traveled along the BRI routes to date, l

inking cities in China with 49 cities in 15 European countries, including London, he added.

Rona Fairhead, the UK’s minister of state for trade and export promotion, said trade be

tween the two countries is worth more than 66 billion pounds ($86 billion) annually.

“UK exports to China continue to go from strength to strength,” she said. “In this n

ew year, I very much look forward to continuing our close level of engagement w

ith China. It is clear that there is still untapped demand for British goods and services in the Chinese market.”

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The second opportunity is China’s reform. He said reform

has been and will continue to be a key driver of China’s economic growth. In 2018, corporate and individual tax cuts to

taled 1.3 trillion yuan, and industrial profit increased by 11.8 percent, compared with the previous year.

“As reform deepens in all areas, including sweeping fiscal and tax reform and stren

gthening of IPR protection, China will create more opportunities for the world,” he said.

China’s opening-up is the third opportunity. Liu said despite the steep drop in glo

bal FDI, foreign investment flowing into China totaled $135 billion, which was up by 3 percent last year.

The country is also lifting the restrictions on foreign ownership in joint-venture companie

s in sectors including banking, insurance, securities, auto manufacturing, and shipbuilding.

Moreover, as the Chinese people have an increasing appetite for overseas products, the country is moving from being a global seller to a global buyer.

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Premier Li Keqiang sent a congratulatory message to the event in

which he lauded the efforts of The 48 Group Club in enhancing China-UK fri

endship. He said he hopes the organization will continue to carry forward the spirit of the “icebreaking tr

ip” and make greater contributions to the deepening of friendship between the two peoples.

The year 2019 marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of the China-UK diplomatic relationship at the leve

l of charge d’affaires. Liu said he believes there are four major opportunities for the two countries.

The first is the Chinese economy remaining robust. Its 6.6 percent growth rate in 2018 was on

e of the fastest among major economies and contributed nearly 30 percent of global growth. China’s

overall GDP has exceeded $13.6 trillion, with the increment equaling the total GDP of a middle-income country.

According to Liu, China is shifting from high-speed growth to high-quality growth. Last year,

consumption contributed 76.2 percent of China’s economic growth, and online retail sales

increased by more than 20 percent. New industries, new products, and new business models have emerged.

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Chinese state councilor meets senior Japanestrackinjected

 Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Japanese Senior Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Takeo Mori Saturday in Beijing.

China-Japan relations have returned to a normal track due to frequent interactions between the two count

ries’ leaders last year, Wang said, noting that “positive energy should be injected continuously” to maintain the hard-won momentum.

Calling 2019 a vital year for both China and Japan, Wang said China was ready to work wit

h Japan to promote the healthy and smoothy development of bilateral relations along the right track.

“Stable relations are also helpful for the two countries to coordinate and cooperat

e in international and regional issues as China and Japan are neighbors and major global economies,” he added.

Mori, who is in Beijing to attend a regular China-Japan diplomatic consultation and a sec

urity dialogue on Friday, said Japan “treasures the improving and developing momentum of its relationship with China.”

The Japanese side is willing to make efforts for further development of bilateral ties and for regional peace and stability, he said.

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