Other commonly used disaggregated growth meas

ures are consistent with the top-line measured GDP growth number. For example, production and

supply of electricity, thermal power, gas and water increased by 7.1 percent in the quarter. Pl

us, value-added index of transport, storage and post increased by 7.3 percent.

A closer look at the highest growth sectors shows that the economy is moving toward the long-term goal of shif

ting away from a development strategy based on heavy investment in industry and

infrastructure to one based on services and domestic consumption. Also, more productive industries that tur

n out higher-value added goods are growing at a much faster rate than traditional heavy industry.

Among large companies, State-owned enterprises grew 4.5 percent yea

r-on-year while shareholding enterprises grew almost twice as fast, at 7.8 percent. So, stro

ng progress is being made toward the goal of promoting private enterprise, which was re

inforced by many policies announced at last month’s meeting of the National People’s Congress.

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Medical experts said bills for patients requiring 29

of the 55 rare disease medicines available on the Chinese mainland

have been partly or fully covered by the country’s medical insurance system.

The average medical bill for rare disease patients is 200,000 yuan ($

29,700) a year and more than 40 percent of patients have received no medical tre

atment due to the high prices, according to Li Linkang, China Alliance of Rate Diseases executive director.

Biogen, the United Sates-based pharmaceutical compa

ny that developed the drug, said that it is talking to the C

hinese government, the medical and patient communities, and charitable orga

nizations in a bid to establish a co-payment system to make the drug available to more patients.

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Those involved in the BRI will strengthen synerg

y in development plans and initiatives of various countries and international organizations and in

tensify bilateral and the third-party market cooperation to help more countries raise their level of connectivity, Xi said.

He added that participants agreed that Belt and Road forums are an important platform for multilateral co

operation and should be held on a regular basis.

President calls for countries’ joint efforts in building Belt, Road in forum speech

President Xi Jinping pledged on Friday to take strong measures such as easing market

access for foreign capital and increasing imports to promote the higher-level opening-up of the country.

While delivering the keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the

Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, Xi said that the p

urpose of building the Belt and Road is to achieve win-win cooperation and common development.

China will increase imports of goods and services on a larger scale, and it will further lower its tariff rates, Xi said.

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Noting that China has the world’s biggest middle-incom

income population, Xi said that China would open up its market continuously and welcome quality products from around the world.

China does not pursue a trade surplus intentionally, and it would like to import more com

petitive farm products, finished products and services to promote the balance of trade, Xi said.

China will promote greater openness in modern services, manufacturin

g and agriculture, allow foreign capital to hold the controlling share in more areas and buil

d some new free trade pilot zones to further ease market access for foreign capital, he said.

China will speed up making relevant rules and regulat

ions and ensure the implementation of the Foreign Investment Law, Xi said, adding that the cou

ntry will push forward supply-side structural reform through fair competition and international cooperation.

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Country’s 1st space station to be shared a full-size m

China’s plan to involve international communities in its space mis

sions to jointly conduct space research shows its determination to further enhance global coop

eration in space projects, according to the director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs. That incl

udes opening up its planned space station to other countries, especially developing countries.

China’s space station, which is expected to be completed and operating by 2022, will be the world’s first space station open

for cooperation with all UN member states in manned space flights and exploration. The station will be able to sup

port research on astronomy, space life sciences, biotechnology, microgravity fundamental physics and space materials science.

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Last year, we issued an announcement offering op

portunities for all UN member states to propose experiments they want to conduct using China’s space station,” said Simone

tta Di Pippo, director of the UNOOSA. “We have received more than 40 proposals before the deadline for sub

mission. We will announce the winners probably by the end of June after evaluation.” Di Pippo said these on the sideli

nes of the fourth China Space Day on April 24 to mark the anniversary of the country’s first satellite launch in 1970.

Moreover, Pakistan intends to send one of their astronauts to China’s space station by 2022, A

mer Nadeem, chairman of Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission in Pakistan, said after

the opening ceremony of China Space Day in Changsha, Hunan province, on Wednesday.

“Hopefully, the agreement on the matter will be signed very soon. We will select the candidates based on the agreement. Also, they

will come to China for some parts of the training,” Nadeem said. He added that Pakistan and China will furth

er enhance cooperation on several space projects focusing on satellite networks in future.

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China looks to strike a balance between meeting finan

ancing needs, sustainable development and debt sustainability, according to Finance Minister Liu Kun.

“We will build a high-standard and high-quality financing system to s

upport long-term and sustainable BRI investment while preventing debt risks,” Liu said.

He suggested promoting financing cooperation for projects in

third-party countries, equity investment and attracting more private funding.

Enhancing debt and risk management is a key consideration for deepening BRI financi

ng cooperation, said Yi Gang, governor of the People’s Bank of China, the central bank.

“The debt issue in developing countries should be treated objective

ly. If debt growth is accompanied by infrastructure improvement, enhancement of people’s liveliho

ods and productivity and poverty reduction, it will be beneficial for the sustainability of long-term debt,” Yi said.

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Liu also announced that a multilateral development

financing cooperation center has recently been established — jointly with eight multilateral develo

pment institutions including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Asian Infrastructure In

vestment Bank — to prepare for “high-quality” projects and promote international standards for BRI financing.

Chinese financial institutions have provided more than $440 billion for BRI infrastructure projects. Renminbi-denom

inated overseas investment funds amounted to over 320 billion yuan ($47.49 billion) and the Chinese capital mark

et has helped companies raise 500 billion yuan through equity funding. BRI countries and companies have issued mor

e than 65 billion yuan in Panda bonds in the Chinese onshore market, according to the central bank.

The World Bank said BRI cooperation is predicted to reduce global trade costs by 1.1 percent to 2.2 percent in 2019.

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President calls on think tanks to boost teamwork, Belt, Roa

President Xi Jinping called on Wednesday for exchanges and cooperation between Chinese and foreign think

tanks for more high-quality research results to push Belt and Road construction to a higher level.

Xi made the remark in a congratulatory letter to the i

naugural meeting of the Belt and Road Studies Network held in Beijing on Wednesday.

The launch of the think tank network took place ahead of the Second Belt and Road Fo

rum for International Cooperation being held from Thursday to Saturday in the capital.

Xi said in the letter that the development of history, the prosper

ity of civilizations and the progress of mankind are closely connected with the guidance of advanced thought.

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The book includes 42 articles drawn from speeches an

 public remarks made by Xi from September 2013 to July 2018.

Since Xi proposed the BRI in 2013, he has spoken about the initiative on many occasions.

The discourses have provided guidance for the country to develop international cooperation, i

mprove global economic governance and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Russia – There is no alternative to the peaceful solution of nuclear and

other issues on the Korean Peninsula, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday, follow

ing a meeting with top leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong-un.

Russia, for its part, is ready to continue cooperation to reduce tensions on the peninsu

a, and to strengthen security in Northeast Asia as a whole, said Putin at a reception in honor of Kim.

Putin said he was convinced that with active participation of the international community and all inte

rested states, the goal of ensuring lasting peace, stability and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula can be achieved.

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