Japan aims to expand political clout by creating global milit

In April and July, Japan signed the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA), a military logistics pac

t, with Canada and France respectively. The Japanese government will try to get it approved by the National D

iet this year. Canada and France are also advancing domestic procedures for its approval.

The agreement will enable the provision of food, fuel and military supplie

s between Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and French and Canadian armies. Jap

an has also inked ACSAs with the US, the UK, Australia and India. Why did Japan sign such an agreement?

After WWII, especially in the late 1960s when Japan became an economic powerhouse, it was no longer satisfied with its status as a military microstate.

In the mid-1980s, Japan accelerated the pace to push its SDF onto the w

orld stage with the aim of becoming a major political power.

In 1996, Japan signed the ACSA with the US, followed by one with Austr

alia in 2010. After the new security law took effect on March 29, 2016, Japan amended t

he two ACSAs, which enabled more flexible provision of ammunition in wartime between the signatories.

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Promising progress needs pushing forward to a deal Chin

In welcome news, it seems that the latest talks between China and the United States, which concluded on Friday, have further na

rrowed their differences and expanded their common ground on key trade and economic issues.

The two sides entered the two days of high-level talks on Thursday amid a flurry of positive sig

nals that progress was being made. And it seems that their candid discussions have continued to be rewarded.

There has clearly been movement on a number of topics that have been the focus of their recent tra

de rows. Speaking to President Xi Jinping after the talks wrapped up, US Trade Representative Ro

bert Lighthizer said the negotiators “feel we have made headway on very, very important and difficult issues”.

It is probably still too early to conclude that this heralds an end to the long-running trade d

ispute between the two countries, and it would be rash to be overly sanguine about the prospects for re

lations given Washington’s anxieties about China’s rise, which may simply be chann

eled in other ways. But the agreement between Xi and his US counterpart Donald Trump in December to press the pause button on frictions,

and the subsequent intense series of discussions to find ways to stop them escalating, show both sides are aware of ho

w damaging and potentially dangerous it would be to keep locking horns over their trade relations.

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Five more lunar locations get Chinese nameson data

Five more geographical entities on the moon have been given Chinese names,

based on discoveries from China’s latest Chang’e 4 mission, according to a news conference on Friday.

The China National Space Administration, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Internatio

nal Astronomical Union held a joint news conference Friday to announce the five names approved by the IAU on Feb 4.

The landing site of the Chang’e 4 probe is named Statio Tianhe, and three annular pits around the landing site are called Zh

inyu, Hegu and Tianjin. The central peak in the Von Karman Crater is referred to as Mons Tai.

The five places are clearly shown on high-resolution images based on data from the Chang’e 2 and Chang’e 4 missions.

China’s Chang’e 4 probe, launched on Dec 8, landed on the Von K

arman Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on the far side of the moon on Jan 3.

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Ministry of Education addresses Zhai plagiarism case

The Ministry of Education has zero tolerance for academic misconduct and has ordered relevant universities and education authorities to investigate pl

agiarism allegations leveled at actor Zhai Tianlin, a ministry spokeswoman said on Friday.

The investigation will not only include Zhai’s plagiarism allegations, but also possible miscond

uct of other people that allowed this to happen, ministry spokeswoman Xu Mei said at a news conference.

“We have zero tolerance for behaviors that ignore academic rules and standards and undermine education equality,” she said.

The universities and Beijing education authorities will seriously look i

nto the case and publish the investigation’s results as soon as possible, she added.

The Beijing Education Commission and the Education Work Committee of the

Beijing Committee of the Communist Party of China sent an investigative team to

the Beijing Film Academy - where Zhai got his PhD-to look into the matter, the academy said on Thursday.

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The central bank will eliminate that interest rate margin

sooner or later, and guide commercial banks to lower lending rates closer to a market-determined level, Sun said.

“Theoretically, there is room for rate cuts of 1 percentage point,” said Zhang Tao, a

n analyst in the financial market department of China Construction Bank.

China has enacted both monetary and fiscal policies to offset downward pressure on eco

nomic growth this year. Some economists have predicted the growth rate may slip in the first quarter be

low the 6.4 percent of the past three months of 2018 because of factors such as trade tensions.

US Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell decided on Jan 30 to shelve a plan to keep raisi

ng interest rates because of possible risks to US growth. The European Central Bank stopped exp

anding quantitative easing and warned about the negative results of Brexit.

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hina refutes report of contact with Venezuelan opposition

ina said on Wednesday that it hoped relevant media would report news abiding by principles of being objective and fair.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying made the remarks when asked for comments on The Wall Street Jo

urnal reporting that Chinese diplomats had contact with Venezuelan opposition representatives in Washington.

“Recently, some media have been cooking up fake news. I don’t know what the purpose is,” said Hua at a press br

iefing. “We hope relevant media will report news abiding by principles of being objective and fair.”

As for the current Venezuela issue, China advocates seeking a political settlement through dialogue and consultation, Hua said.

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Norwegian-born youth predicted to play for China

orwegian-born John Hou Sæter, a midfielder with Beijing Guo’an, received his temporary Chinese ID card Tuesday, becoming the first naturalized Chinese footballer.

Known as Hou Yongyong in China, the 21-year-old is expected to make his Guo’an debut in the Chinese Football Assoc

iation (CFA) Super Cup match between Shanghai SIPG and Beijing Guo’an next weekend, according to The Paper.

Guo’an has also registered him up for the upcoming AFC Champions League.

It has also been predicted that he may receive a national team call-up in the future.

Hou Sæter made his debut for Norwegian side Rosenborg in a domestic cup game against Orkla F

K in 2014. The appearance made him, at 16 years and 101 days, Rosenborg’s youngest ever senior player.

In September 2014 he made his debut in the Norwegian top f

light against Aalesund, coming on as an 81st-minute substitute in a 3-0 win. This made him his sid

e’s youngest ever league debutant, at 16 years and 258 days, beating the previous record by nine days.

Speaking on the speculation that Hou Sæter may one day play for the Chinese national side, h

is mother, Hou Yurong, said that it would be “both my wish and his own choice. I’m always his biggest fan.”

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The central authorities plan to adopt the National VIemission

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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Former PBOC governor wins 2019 lifetime achievement award

Zhou Xiaochuan, former governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), has won the UK’s 2019 Central Banking lifetime achievement award, according to the publication’s website.

Zhou, the sixth winner of the award, stands out for his high levels of integrity, intellectual ri

gor and bold reforms that have served the public interest in China and elsewhere, said a statement of the website.

The Central Banking Awards were established to recognize outstanding perform

ance in individuals and organizations in the central banking community.

Zhou, who stepped down as PBOC governor in March 2018, had served in his position from

December 2012-2018, which makes him China’s longest serving central bank governor since 1949.

The award recognizes the impact Zhou had on the central bank and the Chinese economy.

“While in office, Zhou demonstrated high levels of integrity in his pursuit of public s

ervice. He brought academic rigor to real-world decision-making, acting as a prag

matic policymaker with a strong sense of what was in the public interest,” the statement said.

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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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