China, Russia to jointly maintain international strategic stability: spokesman



China and Russia have agreed to enhance strategic cooperation, uphold multilateralism, and resolutely contain the trend of unilateralism and its harm, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said in Beijing on Monday.

Spokesman Lu Kang said at a news briefing that the two countries also agreed to jointly respond to challenges faced by the arms control and nonproliferation system and enhance strategic coordination on regional hotspot issues.

Lu made the remarks when asked to comment on a new round of China-Russia consultation on strategic stability, held between China’s Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhang Jun and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on May 17.

Lu said more uncertainties are arising in the international strategic security area, with certain major countries constantly withdrawing from global treaties and mechanisms as well as strengthening nuclear capabilities, which severely impacted the international strategic stability, and harmed strategic mutual trust among major countries.

He also warned of the risk that some global and regional hot-spot issues could get out of control.

On the issue of arms control negotiations among China, the United States and Russia, Lu said the preconditions and basis for the trilateral negotiations among China, Russia and the United States never exist, and China will never participate in such negotiations.

He said Russia also agreed that the United States should fulfill its international obligations and Russia fully understood China’s position on the so-called China-U.S.-Russia arms control negotiations.






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US-China trade war: Moving to Vietnam to avoid sanctions


A worker in a steel processing plant in ChinaImage copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

China’s industries have been hit by US tariff hikes

Companies operating in China are facing stiff increases in tariffs on exports to the United States as the trade war between the two countries escalates.

So, there’s an incentive for manufacturers in China to move their production to countries not subject to these tariffs.

And one of these beneficiary countries has been Vietnam, China’s increasingly business-friendly southern neighbour.

So what can we say about changing Chinese investment into Vietnam?

The first thing to note is that foreign firms, including those from China, have long taken advantage of Vietnam’s cheaper labour and attractive business environment, well before the imposition of the first round of US sanctions last September.

Rising Chinese foreign direct investment into Vietnam

($bn)

“Vietnam has already been gaining as wages have been rising in China,” says Mary Lovely at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a US-based think tank.

But there are also indications that investment has accelerated since the imposition of US sanctions on China last year.

In the first four months of 2019, Chinese investment into Vietnam has already reached about 65% of the total for 2018.

So there’s certainly been an upsurge in Chinese investment, but how much of this is to do with tariffs?

Vietnam’s success story

Vietnam’s economy has grown rapidly in the past decade.

Its manufacturing industry has done particularly well, with multinationals like IKEA, for instance, bolstering operations there.

Vietnam’s economic growth

And while the growth of industry is a long-term trend, experts say there’s growing evidence that an increasingly stringent US tariff regime on Chinese goods is driving further investment into Vietnam.

“Many companies were investing in production outside of China, particularly in South East Asia, before the current trade conflict”, according to corporate law firm, Baker & McKenzie, based in Hong Kong, but “the recent trade friction has simply accelerated this evolution.”

There are, however, clear signs that the pressures of rapid growth in Vietnam are taking their toll.

There were just over 14.5 million people in 2018 working in industry in Vietnam, according to the International Labour Organization.

That compares with more than 200 million in China.

Rising wages in Vietnam

Average monthly pay ($)

Labour costs in Vietnam are rising, and the pool of new labour to draw on is much smaller than for its giant neighbour.

The ability for Vietnam to continue to absorb foreign investment will also be constrained by rising land and factory costs.

According to JLL Vietnam, a firm that specializes in real estate, industrial rental prices rose by 11% in the second half of 2018 in southern Vietnam. This has been attributed to the shift of producers from China, partly because of tariffs.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam, the country’s main manufacturing region

Sanctions against Vietnam?

For firms moving all or part of their supply chains from China to Vietnam to avoid US sanctions, there is a risk that the US could take action against Vietnam as well.

Some multinationals are taking on a “China plus one” approach – firms keeping a foothold in China while also operating in a low-wage economy elsewhere in Asia.

The US administration is aware of the shift into production operations outside China as a way to avoid sanctions.

President Trump recently tweeted: “Many Tariffed companies will be leaving China for Vietnam and other such countries in Asia. That’s why China wants to make a deal so badly!”

In the escalating trade war between the United States and China, the label “Made in Vietnam” may not in the future be enough to avoid US tariffs.

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Trump Vows China’s Economy Won’t Surpass U.S. on His Watch : Sino


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Liz Weston: Let’s get real about health costs in retirement


You won’t pay for health care in retirement with one lump sum. That’s the way these expenses are often presented, though, and the amounts are terrifying.

Fidelity Investments, for example, says a couple retiring in 2019 at age 65 will need 85,000 for health expenses, not including nursing home or other long-term care. The Employee Benefits Research Institute says some couples could need up to 00,000 — again, not including long-term care. The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College hasn’t updated its figures recently, but back in 2010 estimated a typical couple could spend 60,000 for medical and long-term care, with a 5% risk that costs will exceed 70,000.

No wonder 45% of people in their 50s and early 60s have little or no confidence that they’ll be able to afford their health care costs once they retire, according to a survey by the University of Michigan.

MEDICAL COSTS MAY BE MORE PREDICTABLE THAN YOU THINK

The approach of presenting people with a huge, perhaps unattainable, figure has long bothered Jean Young, senior research associate with the Vanguard Center for Investor Research.

“The thing is, it’s not helpful, it’s not actionable, it’s not relatable,” Young says.

You also may need six figures to cover food, or transportation, or shelter in a typical retirement. But these are costs you pay over time — just like you’ll pay for health care.

Young and other Vanguard researchers partnered with actuaries at Mercer Health and Benefits consulting firm to create a proprietary model based on what retired people actually spend on health care. What they found was that medical costs tend to be in certain ranges, based on a handful of factors:

— Where you live

— Your health

— Your parents’ health

— Whether you buy supplemental coverage

— Your income

Higher-income people pay larger premiums for certain parts of Medicare. Some premiums also vary by location, as do medical costs in general. How much health care you’ll consume is greatly influenced by how healthy you are when entering retirement, and, to some extent, your genes.

“The actuaries know that the health status of your parents tends to pass generationally,” Young says.

A TYPICAL RANGE: ,900 TO ,000

Here’s the number the researchers came up with: ,200. That’s the median amount a typical 65-year-old woman could expect to spend annually for premiums and out-of-pocket medical, dental and vision costs in 2018. (Median is the point where half pay more and half pay less. The study used women because they have slightly higher long-term costs, but the gender difference is about 2%.)

That assumes the woman lives in a medium-cost area, is at medium risk for health care costs (she either smokes or has a chronic medical condition or two) and buys supplemental Plan F, the most popular Medigap policy. Eighty percent of those in similar situations would face costs in the range of ,900 to ,000.

The models also include worst-case scenarios. If her health deteriorated to the high-risk category, her costs could exceed 1,000. If she opted to do without a Medigap policy and had a bad year, she could pay over 1,800.

LONG-TERM CARE IS STILL A WILD CARD

Retirement planning involves a lot of educated guesses. How long you’ll live, inflation rates, returns on your investments, your expenses — these may not end up being what you expected. Financial planners typically craft their assumptions about what’s most likely to happen and may suggest insurance or contingency plans to cover the worst-case scenarios.

Long-term care costs remain the big wild card. Half of people over 65 don’t incur any long-term care costs, Young says, and a quarter incur less than 00,000.

“The problem is, 15% are going to spend a quarter of a million or more,” Young says.

Those who exhaust their savings may end up on Medicaid, the government program for the indigent that pays for long-term care (Medicare does not). People who have a few million dollars saved may opt to “self-fund,” or pay for it without help. Those in between might consider some kind of long-term care insurance, or earmark assets they can tap if necessary, Young says. That could be your home equity or investments that give you income while you’re healthy but could be sold to pay for long-term care. The key is to not use up those resources for other costs. Holding something in reserve is particularly important for women, who are twice as likely to require paid care.

“We live longer; we tend to care for our husbands,” Young says. “The risk is higher for women.”

_________________________________________________

This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Liz Weston is a columnist at NerdWallet, a certified financial planner and author of “Your Credit Score.” Email: lweston@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @lizweston.

RELATED LINK:

What you will spend on health costs in retirement http://bit.ly/nerdwallet-health-care-costs-retirement



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China to annually revise negative list for market access



Chinese authorities will revise the negative list for market access on an annual basis, and will unveil the 2019 version later this year.

To upgrade the negative list, China will set up a mechanism that combines annual revision with dynamic adjustments, the National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement.

By doing so, the country will keep the list in line with the latest developments of its reforms, and respond to the calls from market players to continue relaxing market access barriers, the statement said.

The country will work to apply the same negative list around the whole country, and ensure that all legal and effective management measures are included in it.

“We will resolutely eliminate illegal market access approvals, covert access thresholds, and negative lists on access made by local authorities,” the statement said.

The negative list for market access outlines sectors, fields and businesses off-limits for investors. Industries, fields and businesses not on the list are open for investment to all market players.

China announced the 2018 version of the negative list in December.






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Chang’e-4: Chinese rover ‘confirms’ Moon crater theory


Lunar roverImage copyright
CLEP

Image caption

The Chang’e-4 rover has been exploring Von Kármán crater since January this year

The Chinese Chang’e-4 rover may have confirmed a longstanding idea about the origin of a vast crater on the Moon’s far side.

The rover’s landing site lies within a vast impact depression created by an asteroid strike billions of years ago.

Now, mission scientists have found evidence that impact was so powerful it punched through the Moon’s crust and into the layer below called the mantle.

Chang’e-4 has identified what appear to be mantle rocks on the surface.

It’s something the rover was sent to the far side to find out.

Chunlai Li, from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, and colleagues have presented their findings in the journal Nature.

The lunar far side, which is turned away from Earth, is more rugged than the familiar near side and has fewer “maria” – dark plains formed by ancient volcanic eruptions.

The Chinese spacecraft touched down on 3 January, becoming the first spacecraft to perform a soft landing on the lunar far side. The rover then rolled off the lander to explore its surroundings.

The rover landed inside a 180km-wide impact bowl called Von Kármán crater. But that smaller crater lies within the 2,300km-wide South Pole Aitken (SPA) Basin, which covers nearly a quarter of the Moon’s circumference.

Image copyright
NASA

Image caption

The South Pole Aitken Basin is one of the largest known impact craters in the Solar System

It’s not known exactly how old the SPA Basin is, but it’s thought to be at least 3.9 billion years old. The asteroid that carved it out is thought to have been about 170km wide.

The Yutu-2 rover has now identified rocks with a very different chemical make-up to those found elsewhere on the Moon.

Early results from the rover’s Visible and Near Infrared Spectrometer (VNIS) suggest the rocks contain minerals known as low-calcium (ortho)pyroxene and olivine.

They fit the profile of rocks from the lunar mantle and suggest that the ancient impact that created the SPA drove right through the 50km-deep crust into the mantle.

Observational data taken by Moon-orbiting spacecraft have been inconclusive as to the presence of mantle rocks on the surface.

The authors of the paper want to continue their examination of these rocks and find others. They have also raised the possibility of sending another mission to deliver some of them to Earth for study in laboratories.

Image copyright
CLEP

Image caption

A picture of the lander taken by the rover’s panoramic camera (PCAM)

The results could now help scientists understand the chemical and mineralogical composition of the mantle, which could shed light on the origins and evolution of the Moon itself.

The team members also want to find out more about what happened after the asteroid collided with the Moon and formed the SPA Basin. Scientists predict that the hole in the surface may have been filled by molten rock – forming a “melt sheet” within the impact bowl, which complicates the picture of this region’s geology.

Patrick Pinet, from the Research Institute in Astrophysics and Planetology (IRAP) in Toulouse, France, called the results “thrilling” and said they “could have considerable implications for characterising the composition of the Moon’s upper mantle”.

He added: “It is of the utmost importance to make progress towards unpacking the geology of the lunar far side, expanding our fundamental knowledge of the Moon’s formation and the origin of the crustal asymmetry that exists between its near and far sides, and preparing future sample-return missions.”

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Railroad descendants, history buffs, dignitaries and elected officials were among the thousands gathered Friday in Promontory, northwest of Salt Lake City, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad : Sino


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The Latest: US conducts navy exercises in Persian Gulf


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Latest on developments in the Persian Gulf region and elsewhere in the Mideast amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran (all times local):

6:50 p.m.

The U.S. Navy says it has conducted exercises in the Arabian Sea with an aircraft carrier strike group ordered to the Persian Gulf to counter an alleged, unspecified threat from Iran.

The Navy said Sunday the exercises and training were conducted with the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group in coordination with the U.S. Marine Corps, highlighting U.S. “lethality and agility to respond to threat,” as well as to deter conflict and preserve U.S. strategic interests.

Also taking part in exercises were the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, both deployed to the U.S. Fifth Fleet area of operations in the Persian Gulf.

The Navy says the exercises, conducted Friday and Saturday, included air-to-air training and steaming in formation and maneuvering.

___

11:10 a.m.

A top Saudi diplomat says the kingdom does not want war but will defend itself, amid a recent spike in tensions with archrival Iran.

Adel al-Jubeir, the minister of state for foreign affairs, spoke early Sunday, a week after four oil tankers were targeted in an alleged act of sabotage off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and days after Iran-allied Yemeni rebels claimed a drone attack on a Saudi oil pipeline.

Saudi Arabia has blamed the pipeline attack on Iran. Gulf officials say an investigation into the tanker incident is underway.

A-Jubeir told reporters: “We want peace and stability in the region, but we won’t stand with our hands bound.”

Ministers from major oil-producing countries were to meet in Saudi Arabia later Tuesday.



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Israel to set up pet terminal at Ben Gurion Airport



A new terminal for pets and their owners will be built at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport at a cost of 1.5 million U.S. dollars, said the Israeli company Terminal4pets on Wednesday.

The new terminal will be established by the Israeli company, which deals with international flying and transporting of pets, the Israel Airport Authority (IAA) and other aviation and logistics partners.

According to Terminal4pets’ data, about 80,000 families with animals pass each year at Israel’s main airport.

The IAA said the new terminal will provide services to pets travelling overseas as well as guard and care services for animals that will be left until their owners return from abroad.

According to the plan, the new terminal will include a lobby and reception area, flight assistance desk, pet shop, dog walking areas, shower services, clinic, food warehouse and private sleeping cells.

The terminal, which is expected to open within a year, will cover an area of about 2,250 square meters within the airport complex.






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Kevin Mallory: Ex-CIA agent jailed for spying for China


Kevin MalloryImage copyright
ALEXANDRIA SHERIFF’S OFFICE

Image caption

Kevin Mallory, 62, was convicted under the Espionage Act

A former CIA officer has been jailed for 20 years for disclosing military secrets to a Chinese agent, the US justice department says.

Kevin Mallory, 62, was found guilty of several spying offences following a two-week trial last June.

The fluent Mandarin speaker from Leesburg, Virginia, held top-level security clearance and had access to sensitive documents.

He was convicted of selling secrets to China for $25,000 (£19,600).

Evidence at his trial included a surveillance video which showed him scanning classified documents onto a digital memory card at a post office.

He also travelled to Shanghai to meet with a Chinese agent in March and April 2017, the justice department said.

“Mallory not only put our country at great risk, but he endangered the lives of [people] who put their own safety at risk for our national defence,” US attorney Zachary Terwilliger said in a statement.

“This case should send a message to anyone considering violating the public’s trust and compromising our national security,” he added. “We will remain steadfast and dogged in pursuit of these challenging but critical national security cases.”

The Justice Department said Mallory held a number of sensitive jobs with government agencies.

He had worked as a covert case officer for the CIA and as an intelligence officer for the Defense intelligence Agency (DIA).

“This case is one in an alarming trend of former US intelligence officers being targeted by China and betraying their country and colleagues,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers said following the sentencing.

Earlier this month, ex-CIA agent Jerry Chun Shing Lee pleaded guilty to spying for China. Prosecutors said the naturalised US citizen was paid to divulge information on US covert assets.

And last June, former US intelligence officer Ron Rockwell Hansen was also charged with attempting to spy for China.

He attempted to pass on information and received at least $800,000 (£600,000) for acting as a Chinese agent, the justice department said at the time.


CIA spy operation in China: Key dates

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

Chinese police guard the US embassy in the capital, Beijing

  • 2010: Information gathered by the US from sources deep inside the Chinese government bureaucracy start to dry up
  • 2011: Informants begin to disappear. It is not clear whether the CIA has been hacked or whether a mole has helped the Chinese to identify agents
  • 2012: FBI begins investigation
  • May 2014: Five Chinese army officers are charged with stealing trade secrets and internal documents from US companies. Later that same month, China says it has been a main target for US spies
  • 2015: CIA withdraws staff from the US embassy in Beijing, fearing data stolen from government computers could expose its agents
  • April 2017: Beijing offers hefty cash rewards for information on foreign spies
  • May 2017: Four former CIA officials tell the New York Times that up to 20 CIA informants were killed or imprisoned by the Chinese between 2010 and 2012
  • June 2017: Ex-CIA officer Kevin Mallory is arrested and charged with giving top-secret documents to a Chinese agent
  • January 2018: Former CIA officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee is arrested
  • June 2018: Former US intelligence officer Ron Rockwell Hansen is charged with attempting to spy for China



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