is a region in transition. Since the beginning of the 21st century, thi

s region has come across political struggle between new capitalistic groups and old b

ureaucratic factions, as well as political turmoil as a result of the huge gap between the rich and poor.

Indonesia is also going to hold a presidential election in April. These upcoming electi

ons have sent a clear signal that Southeast Asian countries long for political stability and development.

The Thai election can give confidence to other countries in the region. After all, with very few exc

eptions, the junta can return power to the people through elections.

As for China-Thailand relations, historically, no matter which

government came to power after several coups, the direction of bilateral ties has never chang

ed. The cooperation between China and Thailand has become the common  aspiration  of the  two peoples and is in their mutual interest.

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hina’s credit growth surged unexpectedly to a record pace in January, strengthening production in the real econo

my and easing overall downward pressure, People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, said on Friday.

Bank lending in domestic currency increased by 3.23 trillion yuan ($476.8 billion) last month, the fastest single-month growth

since the figure was first tracked in 1992. It increased by 2.9 trillion yuan in January 2018, the bank said.

Total social financing, a broader measure comprising all money the real economy receives from the fi

nancial sector, including off-balance-sheet financing activities, rose by 4.64 trillion yuan in Ja

nuary, which was also the fastest monthly growth ever, according to the central bank.

The month’s rapid credit growth was a result of a series of precauti

onary measures to ease the negative effects of slowing domestic demand and external h

eadwinds, according to Sun Guofeng, head of the bank’s monetary policy department, at a news conference.

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There has been a new unexpected twist in the case of Gui Minhai, and this time, the Swedish Ambassador to China Anna Lindstedt is involved.

Gui Minhai was born in China and later became a naturalized Swedish citizen. He was a Hong Kong-based bookseller be

fore being sued in the Chinese mainland in 2015. That lawsuit strained relations between China and Sweden.

His daughter, Angela Gui, has recently detailed a bizarre account of her visit to Stockholm, which has

embarrassed the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Angela Gui, who grew up in Sweden, now live

s in Britain where she is studying for a PhD in history at university. She gave her account in a media interview last we

ek and made an announcement Wednesday on her blog. Gui said that Ambassador Lindstedt contacted her in mid-January, inviting her to go to Sto

ckholm to meet two Chinese businessmen, who Lindstedt trusted, to discuss a new approach to her father’s case.

Angela Gui said she went to Stockholm in late January where she met two Chinese businessmen in the presence of Lindstedt. In

her statement, she said that the two businessmen asked her to stop all media engagements and public comment in exch

ange for her father’s release or commutation. According to Gui, Lindstedt supported the plan and said t

hat if not, the relationship between Sweden and China would otherwise be further undermined.

Angela Gui said that after the meeting, she called the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for confirm

ation. “They told me they hadn’t had the slightest idea this whole affair was taking place. They hadn’t even been informed the amb

assador was in the country,” she wrote. In her account of what happened, she not only gave details of the meeting,

but also described how she was feeling threatened and how the whole arrangement seemed suspicious.

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she would not keep quiet in exchange for various conditions and the Western media is backing her stand. The Swedish Mi

nistry of Foreign Affairs said it already launched an internal investigation into Lindstedt, who had been appointed for an

other position in the Swedish government in March. Lindstedt has now been recalled to her country.

Is Angela Gui telling the truth? The Chinese Embassy in Sweden has responded that China has never and will never authorize

anyone to be in contact with her. China handled Gui’s case in accordance with the law and legal p

rocedures. People need to be aware of Angela’s unique position as Gui Minhai’s daughter; and, considering her lack of ex

perience in distinguishing complex issues, it is necessary for people to be cautious about her story.

However, the role of Ambassador Lindstedt is also part of this. If she did arrange a meeting between Angela Gui a

nd the Chinese businessmen not authorized by Beijing, then we can make the following analysis.

First, there are domestic groups in Sweden that hope the relationship between Sweden and China will not be a

ffected by Gui’s incident in the long term. They are willing to facilitate public discussions between Stockholm and B

eijing on this matter. Ambassador Lindstedt herself is a representative of such groups.

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echnology sectors of Hong Kong and the mainland, facilitating more career opportuniti

es for Hong Kong local talent as well as offering a larger market for knowledge transfer.

Tam Yiu-chung, a Hong Kong member of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, the country’s top legislat

ure, estimated that the plan would lay out development priorities for the area, and the key tasks each city should carry out.

Hong Kong will thus have a clearer direction for future development, and better understand how it can fully contribute, Tam said.

The Greater Bay Area encompasses Hong Kong and Macao, as well as nine cities in Guangdon

g province: Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Dongguan, Huizhou, Zhongshan, Foshan, Zhaoqing and Jiangmen.

In 2017, the 11 cities produced one-eighth of China’s gross domestic product while containin

g only 5 percent of the nation’s population and only 0.6 percent of China’s total landmass.

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ceful exploration of space and its openness to cooperation with any country in its development of space technology, the US will not give up its desire to hav

e dominance in this domain, and it is devoting a great deal of effort to presenting China and Russia as threats to serve this purpose.

Its huge investment in the development of a “Space Force” will, as a result, inevitably give rise

to an arms race off the Earth, which will shatter the human dream of the peaceful exploration of space.Be

ijing’s environmental watchdog is considering adopting the National VI (B) emission standards ahead of the cou

ntry’s scheduled time, aiming to reduce vehicle emissions and enhance air pollution control in the capital.

According to a draft plan published by the Beijing Municipal Ecological Environment Bureau on Monday, the new st

andard would come into effect first for diesel-powered trucks in public transportation and environmental sa

nitation industries and heavy-duty vehicles powered by gas in July, and then extend to other vehicles beginning in 2020.

Sales of these vehicles would be banned after the respective deadlines, but owners could

still register vehicles that meet the current standard one month after these deadlines, according to the draft.

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The bureau is soliciting public opinion on the draft until Feb 20.

With the new standard, major polluting gas from light-duty vehicles, including ca

rbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, will be reduced by about 50 percent and em

issions of particulate matter will be reduced by about 40 percent, according to the bureau.

For heavy-duty diesel-powered trucks, the emissions of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter are expected to drop by more than 60 percent, it said.

Mobile sources, mainly vehicles, contributed 45 percent of locally generated

hazardous particles known as PM2.5 in 2017, outnumbering all other types of sources, according to the bureau.

Beijing has seen continuous improvement in its air quality. The PM2.5 density in th

e capital in 2018 stood at 51 micrograms per cubic meter, down by 12.1 percent year-on-year.

Officials and experts have said, however, it could be increasingly challe

nging for the city to further reduce air pollution after the local government has taken all ma

jor measures that could achieve quick results, including the shifting of bulk coal to clean energy as a heating source.

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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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ing a probe on the far side of the moon. For instance, Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator, took

to Twitter to describe the mission as “a first for humanity and an impressive accomplishment”. China, on it

s part, said that scientists from the two communicated closely before and during the Chang’e-4 launch process.

While the US side informed Chinese scientists about its satellites in orbit around the moon, Chi

na shared with the US scientists the longitude, latitude and timing of Chang’e-4’s landing. The int

eraction was in sharp contrast to the tense relations between the two sides in other areas of science and technology. W

hich means there is huge room for cooperation between the US and China in space exploration.

Cooperation more important in spaceina have both made great progress in

Although the US and Ch space technologies, they are still in the primitive sta

ge of developing and using space. As of today, neither country is capable of building a new permanent sta

tion in space, let alone building one on the moon. But through cooperation and collaboration, which will reduce the cost of

space development for both countries, the US and China can aim at more ambitious targets.

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countries to join hands to develop space instead of choosing between China and the US, especially because after the end of the Cold War, international space cooperation has increased.

In fact, the International Space Station launched in 1998 has been operating thanks to the cooperat

ion between the US, Russia, Japan, some European countries, Canada and Brazil. The four maj

or satellite positioning systems — GPS (US), Beidou (China), GLONASS (Russia) and Galileo (Europe) — may also comple

ment each other to provide the most accurate positioning services. And once China and the US engage in a major sp

ace project, many other countries will join in and thus take space exploration to a new stage.

Sino-US space cooperation will stimulate the development of relevant industries and bring tangible benefits to the people. Space explora

tion will set in motion a series of space industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, resources, e

ergy and tourism. These may become new sources of growth for the world economy, promote industrial techn

ologies, and help address some global challenges such as climate change and energy depletion.

And the new products and services so generated will improve people’s lives and contribute to social progress.

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