Having watched and researched the Belt and Road

tiative for a very long time, Astle has identified many opportunities provided by the BRI and

some great projects are already successfully being implemented with Chinese partners.

The world’s only medicine treating spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is entering the Chinese market, it was announced Sunday.

The drug is registered under the name Spinraza in the United States and European Union.

Available in more than 40 countries and regions, Spinraza is expected to bring new

hope for those who living with SMA, a genetic disorder that affects muscle control, in China.

SMA affects between one in 6,000 and one in 10,000 in China, a

nd about 95 percent of the patients die 18 months after birth, doctors said.

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Before the drug was available on the Chinese mai

nland, there was little effective therapy for the disease, and patients depended mainly on treat

ment such as respiratory and nutrition supports, said Xiong Hui, Beijing Medical Association rare disease c

ommittee member and Peking University First Hospital deputy director of pediatrics.

Spinraza debuted on the Chinese mainland having been fast-tracked through the marke

t approval process for rare disease drugs, which, available overseas since July, are urgently needed in China.

The drug began the approval process in September and was issued a license in February.

Premier Li Keqiang said in February that the government will step up efforts to gua

rantee more than 20 million rare disease patients have access to required medication.

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hina’s energy consumption hits five-year record

Growth in China’s energy consumption remains robust while the forms

of energy continued to diversify in 2018, according to an annual report on China’s energy devel

opment released Sunday by the China Electric Power Planning and Engineering Institute.

Total energy consumed last year reached 4.64 billion metric tons o

f standard coal, a year-on-year growth of 3.3 percent – a five-year record, according to the report.

Consumption of clean energy, including natural gas, hydropowe

r, nuclear power and wind power, accounted for 22.1 perc

ent of energy consumption last year, up 1.3 percent compared with the same period in 2017.

Non-fossil energy accounted for 14.3 percent, up 0.5 percentage points year-on-year, the report said.

China produced 3.77 billion tons of standard coal last year, up 5 percent year-on-year, a seve

n-year high. It has also become the world’s largest natural gas importer, with a heavier reliance on energy imports.

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The forum helped countries upgrade their concept

 of cooperation, defined key areas and strengthened the mechanism to seek high-quality development of the BRI, he said.

Leaders reached wide-ranging agreement on high-quality cooperation on the BRI at the leaders’ roundtable on Saturday after an i

n-depth exchange of views on issues such as connectivity, policy integration and sustainable development.

They supported comprehensive infrastructure connectivity as a way to foster economic growth and to build high-q

uality, reliable, resilient and sustainable infrastructure, according to a joint communique issued after the roundtable.

All parties involved supported strengthening synergies in development policies using the principle

of extensive consultations, joint contributions for shared benefits and building even closer partnerships, the joint communique said.

The leaders also upheld green and sustainable growth and agreed to enhance cooperation in areas such as environ

mental protection, circular economy and clean energy, according to the communique.

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They maintained that Belt and Road construction wi

l make positive contributions in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations.

The leaders also pledged to pursue trade and investment liberalization

and facilitation, reject protectionism and unilateralism and uphold the rule-based mul

tilateral system with the World Trade Organization at the center, according to the communique.

Xi told reporters that the consensus reached by the leaders has set the right course for the development of the BRI.

Our shared goal is that we work together to make the interconnectivity among various countries more efficient, foster mo

re robust economic growth, develop even closer international cooperation and enable people to live a better life, he said.

Xi also said BRI cooperation projects will be market-based. To ensure s

ustainable development, the leaders agreed to promote a level playing field for business com

munities and create a nondiscriminatory business environment, he said.

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Pledges at forum draw overseas experts’ praise

The international community has hailed President Xi Jinping’s call on Friday to ease market

access for foreign capital and increase imports so that opening-up reaches a higher level.

Xi said in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the S

econd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing that the purpose of buil

ding the Belt and Road is to achieve win-win cooperation and common development.

China will increase its imports of goods and services and will further lower its tariff rates, Xi said.

Francis Chua, chairman emeritus of the Philippine Chamber of Commer

ce and Industry, noted Xi’s emphasis on quality imports and state-of-the-art products.

“China will keep its commitments,” said Chua, who was attending the forum as a member of the Philippine business delegation.

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Chris Rowley, a visiting professor from Oxford Unive

rsity’s Kellogg College in England, called opening to more foreign investment a very important development.

“Of course this will expose both inward investors and indigenous organiza

tions to some stark differences in management and doing business between them, which in tu

rn requires more globally effective leaders who are less ethnocentric and more culturally aware,” he said.

Sikhumbuzo Zondi, a research assistant at the Institute for Global

Dialogue associated with the University of South Africa, said another important aspect of Xi’s

opening address was the desire to invest more resources in scientific innovation and technology.

The aim is to develop technologies and business models that will foster new growth an

d development. To do this, China is committed to spearheading the Belt and Road Science, Technology and In

novation Cooperation Action Plan to advance information and communications technology infras

tructure development with the aim of improving internet connectivity and security, Zondi said.

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China to support 5,000 people for BRI innovation excha

China will support 5,000 people from innovation sector in Belt and Road countries i

n conducting exchanges, training programs and joint researches in the next five years.

Sustainable development under BRI stressed

China will work with other parties to promote a coalition of sustainab

le cities and an international coalition for green development under the Belt and Road Initiative.

China to invite 10,000 representatives of political parties, think tanks, NGOs from B&R countries

A total of 10,000 representatives of political parties, think ta

nks and non-governmental organizations from count

ries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative will be invited to China for exchanges in the next five years.

China to allow foreign businesses in more sectors with controlling or full stake

China will allow foreign investors to operate businesses in more sec

tors with controlling or full stake. China will roll out a new batch of pilot free trade zones.

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sees stronger ties with Chilectivity with Latin s hig

Interconnectivity with Latin American countries high on bilateral talks agenda

China and Chile should connect their development strategies and promote interconne

ctivity between Chile and other Latin American countries, President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday.

Xi made the remark while meeting with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera in the Great Hall of th

e People in Beijing. Pinera is on a five-day state visit and planned to attend the Second Belt and Road

Forum for International Cooperation. Premier Li Keqiang also met with him on Wednesday.

Xi said Chile is the first South American country to have established diplomatic relation

s with China, and the first Latin American nation to fully acknowledge China’s status as a market-oriented economy.

Xi said that Chile, the first Latin American country to have signed a bilateral free trade agreement with China an

d to have upgraded the agreement, is an important cooperation partner in jointly building the Belt and Road.

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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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