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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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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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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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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Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the Singapore Institut

e of International Affairs, noted Xi’s emphasis on high-quality development, free t

rade and people-to-people bonds, “all of which are sorely needed around the world”.

“The shift toward high-quality development is a natural extension of what China has been doing for the past few ye

ars. Now that the BRI is five years old, it’s about time to upgrade quality joint development,” he said.

“China is trying to address the concerns that have been raised sinc

e the last Belt and Road Forum two years ago. One of these concerns is the need for infr

astructure projects to be more responsive to the local circumstances of BRI member countries.”

Duncan Freeman, a research fellow at the EU-China Research Centre at t

he College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium, said infrastructure is important for economic gro

wth, so building infrastructure and building connectivity and efficient infrastructure are important.

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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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Sixteen experiment racks will be installed in the core

?module, and two lab capsules of the space station and an extravehicular experiment platform will be built. Each rack i

s regarded as a lab that can support various space experiments, and astronauts can upgrade and replace the facili

ties. In addition, a capsule holding a large optical telescope will fly in the same orbit as the station, according to a report by Xi

nhua News Agency, quoting the Technology and Engineering Center for Space Utilization of the Chinese Academy of Sciences on Wednesday.

Di Pippo said opening up the space station to the world, especially to developi

ng and emerging countries, is a good example of China’s will to enhance international cooperation in space missions.

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Leveraging private funds prioritized in BRI projects

China’s financial minister and central bank governor vowed to strengthe

n debt management and leverage more private funds for infrastructure construction un

der the Belt and Road Initiative, suggesting a new framework to assess debt risks for partner countries on Thursday.

The Ministry of Finance published a debt-sustainability analysis framework for the BRI’s participating economies at the start of t

he Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, a three-day event in Beijing.

Financial institutions of China and other BRI economies are encouraged to use the “nonmandatory” policy t

ool for rating debt risk before making lending decisions. The analysis method is based on in

ternational standards provided by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, according to the ministry.

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Yi pledged to use more market-based commercial fund

?He also said improving transparency for projects’ financing is needed, especially for green

financing, and using local currencies in BRI investments to curb exchange rate risks. “The opening of local curr

ency-denominated bond markets will effectively attract long-term funds and reduce risks of currency mismatches,” he said.

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fu

nd, said at the forum that China’s increased focus on the long-term success of BRI projects and the

BRI debt sustainability framework “are very welcome steps in the right direction”.

The further opening-up of China’s financial sector, such as the b

ond market, will enable diversification and foster renminbi internationalization, she said.

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The reception followed a meeting of Russian and DPRK

delegations, which was preceded by a one-on-one meeting between Putin and Kim.

Kim arrived here in his train on Wednesday for his first meeting with Putin.

The meeting came at a time when tensions were growing between the DPRK and t

he United States.At the end of 2018, Australia became another “surveillance state” with the passing of the T

elecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment Bill or the Assistance and Access Bill 2018.

Last week, the DPRK test-fired a new tactical guided weapon and requested Washi

ngton to exclude U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from future negotiations.

In response, Pompeo swept aside Pyongyang’s demand ab

out replacing him by someone “more careful and mature” to deal with the talks.

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