More efforts, investment needed to promote development of basic research, large scientific facilities in China: top physicist, legislator

The planning of large-scale scientific facilities and basic research requires long-term perspective and more investment, said Wang Yifang, director of the Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP) of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), who is also a deputy to the 14th National People's Congress.

China has made remarkable achievements in the construction of large-scale scientific facilities after decades of development. If all projects planned in the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) are completed, China will have approximately 70 large scientific facilities, a number comparable to that of the US, Wang told the Global Times.

However, there is still a significant gap in terms of the investment scale for individual facility and the total investment scale compared to the US. Currently, China still lacks internationally leading specialized large scientific facilities, especially in the fields of particle physics, nuclear physics, and astronomy, he stressed.

"This puts us at a disadvantage compared to some other countries in certain areas, such as astronomical telescopes and particle accelerators. Therefore, I believe that in the future, we should focus on improving the quality of development rather than increasing the quantity of large scientific facilities in order to compete directly with advanced countries and strive to surpass them," Wang said.

"Without large scientific facilities, basic research would be just an idea on paper. We mustn't always be a recipient of knowledge, but should grow into a provider of knowledge and leader in global basic research," Wang said.

China has been paying more attention to strengthening basic research, as it is not only a cornerstone for achieving greater self-reliance and strength in science and technology, but the foundation for solving many bottleneck technologies. In the face of fierce international scientific and technological competition, Wang stressed that increasing funding for basic scientific research is a priority.

According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, in 2022, the country's investment in basic research accounted for 6.57 percent of total research and development (R&D) spending, while the goal according to the 14th Five-Year Plan is 8 percent by 2025, which Wang said requires more efforts to realize.

Wang called for long-term perspective when planning research investment, looking ahead to the situation in 10, 15, or even 20 years.

Taking the construction of China's Circular Electron-Positron Collider (CEPC) as an example, we have to be clear that the construction period for the CEPC is 10 years. If we do not start now, China will lag behind others in this field in 10 years' time, Wang said.
A window to new physical world

The CEPC is a large international scientific facility proposed by the Chinese particle physics community in 2012. The project, to be hosted in China in a circular underground tunnel of approximately 100 kilometers in circumference, is a double-ring collider with electron and positron beams circulated in opposite directions in separate beam pipes, and the detectors are installed at two interaction points, according to the CAS.

The CEPC's "Technical Design Report" has gone through international review and was officially published in December, 2023. Being able to independently design such a large scientific facility demonstrates Chinese scientists' capabilities, according to Wang.

In the next step, the scientists will proceed with the engineering design and integrate the completed components, according to Wang. "We have completed the construction of a single prototype, and the next step is to figure out how to mass-produce individual products. In addition, we will continue to conduct in-depth research on some key technical details to ensure that our facility achieves optimal performance and cost-effectiveness."

It will take about three more years before the CEPC can begin actual construction, with the entire construction period lasting approximately 10 years, Wang noted.

The location for the CEPC has not yet been decided, according to Wang. "The ideal construction site should meet the following conditions: first, geological conditions, the CEPC should be built on intact and solid underground rock. Second, the construction site of the CEPC should consider factors such as transportation conditions, humanistic environment and educational environment, as the CEPC will serve as an international research base in the future, it should have an open environment that attracts talents from various countries and regions to work there," Wang explained.

The CEPC project will reportedly cost 36 billion yuan ($4.9 billion) and will have a circumference of 100 kilometers, with center-mass energy of up to 240 giga electron-volts, both setting a world record.

The goal of the CEPC is to build a high-luminosity Higgs factory. The existing standard model of physics is imperfect and has many inconsistencies, we need to find the fundamental reasons for them and Higgs is believed by global physicists to be the best window to find these loopholes, Wang explained.

In terms of controversies over the project, Wang responded that "in terms of science, I think we have made relevant issues very clear; in terms of techniques, we have proven through a large amount of experimental data, prototypes and the high-energy synchrotron radiation light source we are building in Huairou, that we have the ability to design and construct such a large scientific facility."

As to the cost, Wang stressed that CEPC is a facility to be used by the whole community of high-energy physics. There will be thousands of scientists working for decades. Considering this, the average investment per scientist per year would be far from being high. "Thousands of high-energy physicists are willing to invest all their energy, funds and time in a single facility, the average cost will not be higher than that of other research fields," he said.
'It relies on human intelligence to drive scientific progress'

In recent years, the rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and products have created a stir around the world, especially after the release of the up-to-one-minute-long realistic videos created by the text-to-video AI generator Sora in early February.

According to OpenAI's explainer, Sora is capable of generating complex scenes with accurate details, including multiple characters, specific types of movements, themes and backgrounds. It understands not only what the user requests in the prompts, but also how these things exist in the physical world.

In fact, there has been a long-existing debate over whether AI can really understand - rather than imitate - physical laws and whether they can help discover new laws.

As a top physicist in China, Wang said it may be difficult for AI to break this barrier.

The most fundamental cornerstone of AI technology is the ability to predict the future to some extent through learning, but this so-called prediction is linear and based on existing knowledge. However, physics rules, especially new discoveries and concepts, are not simple extension of existing knowledge and data, Wang said.

After all it still requires scientific research and human intelligence to drive scientific progress, Wang said.

China and the US have much more in common: historian Arne Westad

Editor's Note:

The world in 2024 is not peaceful. From great power competition to regional conflicts, to numerous global challenges, the global landscape seems to be changing every day. Will the confrontation between Russia and the West lead to a "Cold War 2.0" and the return of the "Iron Curtain" ? Is the temporary stabilization of China-US relations a true departure from the downward spiral trend, or just a short and fragile period of stability?

Recently, Global Times reporters Xie Wenting and Bai Yunyi (GT) interviewed Odd Arne Westad (Westad), Professor of History and Global Affairs at Yale University and a leading expert in Cold War history, to analyze the evolution of the international landscape from a historian's perspective. He believes that the "post-Cold War era" that has lasted for a generation is coming to an end, although it is still unclear what kind of new international order will replace it.

GT: As a historian, how do you view current relations between China and the US? Do you think the two big powers are experiencing temporary stability under the context of prolonged tensions? Or how would you describe the current state of the bilateral relations? Could it be compared to any other historical period?

Westad: When making comparisons with earlier periods, we have to be cautious and acknowledge that there is no complete match. I am very skeptical of comparing the current situation with the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union, as there are significant differences between the two. The US and the Soviet Union were not part of the same global economic system, and the ideological differences were much greater between the two sides. Upon reviewing the book written by my colleague Paul Kennedy about the antagonism between Germany and Britain in the late 19th century and early 20th century, I found more similarities with the current situation.

Unfortunately, this historical conflict eventually led to conflict and war. While I am not suggesting that the current situation will necessarily end in the same way, structurally, it shares more traits with that period than with the Cold War. I think in many ways, it is true that enormous changes are taking place now, but they don't necessarily have to end in conflict.

In reality, China and the US have much more in common. The economies may function differently on some levels, but in most terms, the economies are not that different from each other. They are market-driven in both places, oriented by rules, technology, and advances in economic terms. The two countries also have much in common in how they understand the world. Both of them want stability as a precondition for their own economic development, but they don't really know how to go about achieving it, and suspicion between the two is increasing.

I think at the moment, it's clear that the US and China are going through a very difficult period in their relationship. But I can also see ways in which the relationship could be improved incrementally. It doesn't have to be a downward spiral, but both countries will have to recognize the risks of continued tensions between them and figure out ways to address them. While the US and China will likely always have areas where they won't see eye to eye, leading to rivalry between the two, it's important to prevent this rivalry from escalating into a dangerous spiral. This is a danger that we must consider.

It is very frightening to me that the US and China do not have any kind of arms control discussions between the two sides. It's not good because it leads to misunderstandings and a lack of communication on important issues.

GT: Under what circumstances do you think China and the US will enter a new period of more balanced stability?

Westad: To me, the key issues are the security issues. For example, the situation in the Taiwan Straits is important. I have proposed, while I have been here in Beijing, something I call the Shanghai Plus, which is based on the Shanghai Communiqué in 1972 and the additions for the Chinese statement that came on and so on.

So what Shanghai Plus would actually mean is that you understand that it could under no circumstance support Taiwan independence. I think some people in the US could be interested in this.

If you can deal with this and in some other issues in which China and the US play a positive role, it will help bilateral relations get to a relatively stable stage. For instance, if you look at the Ukraine crisis, it is a significant factor in the relationship between the US and China. It is necessary to achieve at least a temporary ceasefire in Ukraine. I believe China can play a significant role. I believe that, to a certain extent, the US and China actually have a common interest in seeing a reduction in the conflict.

While the US and China may not become awesome friends over the next generation, it is important for both countries to work together on security issues to prevent escalation, and it's also possible for both sides to work together.
GT: What's your stance on if there will be or if we are already in the new Cold War between Russia and the West?

Westad: One of the many reasons why war should be avoided is that the outcomes are always unpredictable. I think at the moment, the risk of a bigger war breaking out in Ukraine is quite limited.

I don't think the current situation has anything to do with the Cold War. It is a conflict between countries. Russia is no longer a global superpower as the Soviet Union. It has become more limited in terms of its global influence. Conomically, Russia is struggling, and it is unlikely to see significant improvement in the near future.

I spent quite a bit of time thinking about what kind of relationship Russia will have with the US once the war is over. I think that even if there is a ceasefire, the sanctions are likely to remain in place. For Russia, this means that it will not be able to get closer to Europe, even in a regional or economic sense.

GT: From a historical perspective, what do you think are the long-term changes to the international order brought about by the Russia-Ukraine conflict?

Westad: I think it is a defining conflict in many ways. The consequences of it will be long-lasting, and it marks the end of the post-Cold War era. That period has lasted a generation, but we don't quite know what's going to replace it.

One of the most significant structural changes is the increasing military and strategic integration between Europe and the US. The neutral countries in Europe are not giving up their neutrality, but they may become more aligned with the West.
GT: In your last interview with the Global Times four years ago, you mentioned that the global pandemic would strengthen the political and social process that were already underway, such as the shift of power and influence from the West to the East. Do you still believe the process of power shifting from the West to the East is ongoing?

Westad: I still believe it, although I never thought that this was just about China. I think China is a part of it. It's a difficult task for the Chinese government to move to higher growth in an economy that is already so big. So, in that sense, if they're not going to stay at 5 percent, even 4 percent, or maybe even 3.5 percent economic growth, that's pretty good.

China, in many ways, was a pioneer of this, just like Japan was a pioneer in an earlier generation. And then it is spreading elsewhere, this is quite natural. It may be in Southeast Asia in the future. This is how development progresses.

I think the European economy is probably on a platform roughly where it is now. I don't see it as very energetic, but it doesn't have to be because Europe is already rich. They can sustain themselves, and even if they experience a smaller percentage of economic growth, it is still sustainable. I think the US, among the developed countries, is probably the place that has the best chance of reasonable economic growth. But that also depends on their policies; if they choose to involve themselves in a trade war with China, much of the economic basis for American growth will also disappear.

It is striking that last year is the first year in human history in which there is no natural population growth outside of Africa. Every single country outside of African countries has falling birth rates, sometimes at a fairly high level. The population increase is going down. Only in Africa is it actually expanding at a high rate. This has enormous demographic consequences when we move to a generation cohort, where most young people in the world will be in Africa.

Some time ago, we saw that as a massive problem, but now it's a massive opportunity. Young people have the potential to staff the factories and industries and drive productive growth in the future. Some of my American friends are saying all these countries are so backward and they have to get their policies in order. My response to this is always that, because with these points of opportunities, people will make use of it, just like in China. Why did China succeed? It had sensible economic policies and a young, hungry population who wanted to make better lives for themselves.

GT: Do you think peace and development are still the theme of our era and world?

Westad: Development, for sure. Peace is a little bit harder, but I don't think the rules that we have in place are impossible to settle. They're not the kind of rules that I would expect to lead to greater competition. Maybe it's possible to be a bit more optimistic.

I think, at least for now, stabilizing the crisis in Ukraine would be a significant step. I also think that because it would show the great powers may be able to cooperate on some of these issues.

GT Investigates: As Solomon Islands votes, allegations of US interference highlight struggle of developing countries to forge independent foreign policy

Editor's Note:

"Cognitive Warfare" has become a new form of confrontation between states, and a new security threat. With new technological means, it sets agendas and spreads disinformation, to change people's perceptions and thus alter their self-identity. Launching cognitive warfare against China is an important means for Western anti-China forces to attack and discredit the country.

Some politicians and media outlets have publicly smeared China's image by propagating false narratives in an attempt to incite and provoke dissatisfaction with China among people in certain countries. These means all serve the seemingly peaceful evolution of the US strategy to contain China's rise and maintain its hegemony.

The Global Times is publishing a series of articles to reveal the intrigues of the US-led West's China-targeted cognitive warfare, and expose its lies and vicious intentions.

This is the 13th installment in the series. As the Solomon Islands' general elections unfold, allegations of US interference surfaced before the voting began. Experts have highlighted the US' habitual practice of interfering in the domestic affairs of other countries and attempting to exert its pressure on developing nations like the Solomon Islands that seek to forge friendships and pursue development opportunities with China.
The ongoing election in the Solomon Islands has garnered significant global attention, particularly amid the geopolitical dynamics of the Pacific. This electoral event has especially piqued the interest of the US, accompanied by various allegations and concerns regarding potential US intervention.

The voting of general elections in the Solomon Islands was hosted on April 17. Currently, no party has won a majority of seats in the Solomon Islands' parliament election, CGTN reported Monday, quoting local media, citing 90 percent of counted votes.

Preliminary results from Saturday indicate that Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has successfully retained his seat in Parliament. However, it will take several more days of vote tallying to determine if his party, Our Party, will form the next government.

During this period, there has been continuous news and extensive reporting by media outlets, suggesting that the US may be trying to intervene in the Solomon Islands' elections.

Analysts point out that the US and its allies appear to be using "color revolution" tactics to infiltrate the political landscape of the Solomon Islands, emphasizing that the island country should have the sovereign right to choose its own developmental path.

Meanwhile, as China enhances its cooperation with Pacific Island countries, the US continues to assert its supposed superiority, an approach that appears not to resonate with the island populations, they said.

How has the US been attempting to exert its influence?

A recent investigative article by Russia's Sputnik news agency criticized the US' role and intentions in the upcoming elections in the Solomon Islands. The report suggested that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) might be attempting to influence the election outcome through "democracy promotion" activities, in order to counter China's influence in the region.

The report highlighted concerns over the security agreement between the Solomon Islands and China, which has alarmed the US and its allies who fear it could compromise the US' "island chain strategy" in the Pacific.

The article detailed USAID activities in the Solomon Islands, including engaging with local community political leaders, civil society organizations, and influential individuals, as well as funding surveys and training programs to bolster anti-government sentiment.

An anonymous source disclosed to the Sputnik news agency that they fear the US might incite another riot during the upcoming election to achieve its geopolitical goals.

Meanwhile, according to a report from the Covert Action Magazine earlier this month, the USAID actively intervenes in the electoral processes of other countries through its Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS), aiming to promote regimes that align with American interests.

The CEPPS collaborates with organizations such as the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), all of which have close ties with USAID, with the NDI and IRI having been created by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which is considered a branch of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

According to Yu Lei, chief research fellow at the Research Center for Pacific Island Countries of Liaocheng University, the effective cooperation between China and the Solomon Islands has become a role model and a driving force for the cooperation between China and Pacific Island countries, which has encouraged other Pacific Island countries such as Papua New Guinea to deepen their cooperation with China. This has caused significant dissatisfaction in Australia and the US.

The Covert Action Magazine noted that the USAID's Solomon Islands Election and Political Processes Program (SIEPP), funded through the CEPPS, has conducted voter awareness campaigns in the Solomon Islands, aiming to sway voters toward pro-American candidates.

In 2021, NDI's surveys in opposition constituencies revealed pessimism about governance and corruption, influencing public opinion. Civil society groups, funded by USAID, spread these findings to foment dissatisfaction and potential unrest. By doing so, the USAID transformed minority views into "mainstream" public opinion, according to the Covert Action Magazine.

Notably, opposition leaders Matthew Wale and Daniel Suidani, supported by USAID, led protests in Honiara, leveraging youth groups to challenge the government, reflecting USAID's strategy of using local partnerships to promote US interests under the guise of "democratic" principles, the magazine said.
According to the Sputnik report, which cited documents provided by an anonymous source, after the Solomon Islands' 2019 election and Sogavare's shift away from the US, SIEPP was launched. Funded by the USAID and partners like the IFES, IRI, and NDI under the "Strengthening Democratic Governance in the Pacific Islands" initiative, SIEPP had an initial budget of nearly $10 million from September 2020 to September 2023. The program, expected to conclude in fall 2023, was extended to April 2024 with an additional $1.5 million after the election postponement by Sogavare.

"The US cannot tolerate the South Pacific nations developing an equal and reciprocal relationship with China. Instead, it intervenes under the guise of democracy, ultimately aiming to turn these nations into dependencies," Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times.

He pointed out the consequences of such policies. "The US mentality is unhealthy, even pathological. It cannot bear the autonomous development of the South Pacific nations, nor can it stand the idea of these countries choosing their own economic development models."

Is US' denial convincible?

In a statement released on April 16, one day before the elections began, the US Embassy in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands labeled recent accusations of its alleged interference in the Solomon Islands' electoral process as "questionable" and "disinformation."

"It is a traditional and deeply rooted practice that when the US claims non-interference, it's either hard to believe or astonishing," Li noted.

According to the Covert Action Magazine, CEPPS has extended its influence to over 140 countries, supporting like-minded candidates to aid the US government in manipulating global electoral activities.

According to New York-based Huff Post, the US has interfered in foreign elections far more frequently than it has been subject to such interference itself. A Latin American joke cited highlights this point: "Why has there never been a coup in the United States? Because there's no US Embassy in Washington."

For over a century, the US has intervened in elections globally, from Honduras to Vietnam to Iran. A series of "color revolutions" occurred in Eurasia starting in 2003, such as the Rose Revolution in Georgia, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, all characterized by electoral protests escalating into major political crises. The US State Department has acknowledged playing a role in these regime changes, according to the report.

"The US uses NGOs to interfere in other countries' domestic politics and orchestrate color revolutions, a tactic that is no secret to the world," Li noted, adding that such actions, often branded as promoting democracy, are perceived as attempts to sow discord and crises, drawing scrutiny and raising alarms among policymakers and citizens globally.

These so-called democracy promotion efforts, which are essentially color revolutions, are unlikely to achieve their intended outcomes due to the instability of US policies. Critics argue that the US, while chaotic in its own democratic practices, presumes to set an example for others, Li said.
This lack of calm, objective, and realistic reflections on its own democratic processes disqualifies US decision-makers from legitimately influencing the internal affairs of other nations. Consequently, these actions are met with resistance and resentment, as the results of such democracy promotion activities are often subpar and unwelcome, he noted.

Yu said the US has a variety of conventional methods to tighten control in Pacific Island countries. For instance, the US directly deploys military forces in Pacific Island countries to intervene, or mobilizes local mobs and thugs to carry out subversion against some authoritarian regimes and governments perceived as disobedient to the US. The third method is to use the Pacific Islands Forum to besiege so-called disobedient countries, using economic sanctions as a way to exert pressure.

"In the short term, the effects may seem significant, such as through military occupation, which of course yields immediate results. However, in the medium to long term, the effects of the US' activities turn out to be just the opposite. But cooperation with China turns out to be fruitful," Yu said.

Will the established understandings be affected?

In recent years, China's outreach and engagement have deepened across the Solomon Islands. Even regions that were once opposed to establishing diplomatic ties with China have accepted China's olive branch.

However, the gradually establishing mutual connections and trust is not without its challenges.

According to a report by the SIBC on Saturday, former opposition leader of the Democratic Party of the Solomon Islands, Wale, retained his seat in Malaita Province's Auki. Meanwhile, notorious opposition politician Suidani was re-elected to the Malaita Provincial Assembly.

The former premier of Malaita Province, Suidani, attracted attention for his opposition to the Solomon Islands' relations with China. His stance led to conflicts with the central government, culminating in his removal from office in February 2023, following a no-confidence motion passed by the provincial assembly.

However, a Memorandum of Understanding to establish friendly exchange relations was signed last week between Malaita Province and East China's Jiangsu Province. This new chapter follows years of skepticism, indicating a pivot toward cooperation and mutual growth, analysts noted.

"The China-Solomon Islands relationship, forged under very trying conditions, is now maturing," Dr Luke Mani, director of the Solomon Islands Foreign Policy Advisory Secretariat, told the Global Times. "Evidence abounds that Solomon Islanders [have now] firmly and openly embraced China."

Various infrastructure projects funded by traditional multilateral development partners such as the Munda Airport and terminal upgrades, Henderson Airport runway extensions, and East-West Honiara highway have benefited from the expertise and quality of Chinese engineering firms such as China Civil Engineering Construction Company and China Railway, Mani said.

These tangible benefits have gradually warmed the Malaitians to China, with a recent poll showing 61 percent of respondents favor maintaining the relationship after this year's elections.

The public opinion storm over interference in the election reflects Pacific Island nations' dissatisfaction with the US' use of aid to exert political influence and as leverage in exchange for national geopolitical interests, noted Qin Sheng, an executive research fellow at the Center for Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

"The aid competition promoted by the US in the South Pacific region with a zero-sum game mindset is forcing Pacific Island nations to take sides, as evidenced by the ongoing troubles in domestic and diplomatic affairs since the Solomon Islands established diplomatic relations with China," Qin said.

In stark contrast to the US, China emphasizes equality and mutual benefit, non-interference in internal affairs, and aid process without strings attached, respecting the political system, development stage, and development characteristics of Pacific Island nations. As a major power, China never looks down on them, and it is precisely these various advantages of Chinese aid that make China the most trustworthy South-South cooperation partner for Pacific Island nations, the expert noted.

A special journey to memorable sites that bond China to France, Serbia, Hungary

Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron had an in-depth engagement during a restricted meeting at Col du Tourmalet in the Pyrenees mountains in southwestern France, an area dear to Macron for being the birthplace of his maternal grandmother. The special arrangement allowed the two leaders to establish a more direct dialogue in a personal and friendly atmosphere.

Holding a meeting in the tranquil southern French mountains is also viewed a continuation of the pleasant memory when Xi and Macron held an informal talk in April 2023 in Guangzhou, the capital of South China's Guangdong Province. At that time, the two leaders listened to a live performance of the ancient Chinese music piece "High Mountains and Flowing Water" in the Pine Garden, which represents cherished friendship in Chinese culture.

Besides France, there are also many representative buildings and sites in Serbia and Hungary that have witnessed and serve as testimonies to their friendship with China.

After Xi embarked on a state visit to France, Serbia, and Hungary on May 5 - his first overseas trip of the year - these significant locations have once again captured people's attention.

The former site of the Lyon Sino-French Institute is located on a hill in Fourvière in the city of Lyon, France. After 100 years of wind and rain, the towering stone gate at the old site still bears a clear inscription of the institute's name in both Chinese and French.

The only overseas university that China founded in modern times, the Lyon Sino-French Institute was established in July 1921. It trained many Chinese who later became crucial leaders in the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC), including Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping. Since its resumption in the 1980s, the institute has continued to educate various talents for China's reform and opening-up.

During his first visit to France in March 2014, President Xi visited the Charles de Gaulle Foundation in Paris. He visited the office of General Charles de Gaulle, laid a wreath at his bronze statue and wrote "Paying Tribute to the Great Man and Composing a New Chapter in Chinese and French History" in the guest book.

In Serbia's capital Belgrade, people are easily captivated by a unique modern building - the China Cultural Center - that looks like a beautiful ancient Chinese landscape painting drawn along the banks of the Danube River.

What you cannot tell from the design is that the edifice was built on the site of the former Chinese embassy that was destroyed by a NATO bomb in May 1999 in what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This special history makes the center not only an important bridge and bond for cultural exchanges between the two countries, but also a seal of approval for the ironclad friendship between China and Serbia amid the development of the times.

At the hot mill at HBIS Smederevo steel plant, or Hesteel Serbia, Nenad Cvetanovic and his colleagues were thrilled to get a reply letter from Xi at the end of April, a few days before the Chinese president's second state visit to Serbia after eight years.

Established in 1913, the steel plant used to be a pillar of former Yugoslavia's metal industry, but was on the verge of closure in the 1990s. It struggled for about two decades until China's Hesteel Group purchased it in 2016. President Xi made a trip to the steel plant in June 2016 and interacted with workers in the dining room, encouraging them to work hard to bring benefits to local residents.

In Budapest, the capital of Hungary that is dubbed the "Pearl of the Danube," nine unique bridges connect Buda and Pest across the river, enhancing the accessibility and charm of the city.

With a total length of 341.7 kilometers, the Hungary-Serbia railway, a flagship project of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, is now bridging Budapest and Belgrade closer together, injecting new impetus into the economies of the two countries.

The special significance of bridges was also noted by President Xi during his first visit to Europe. "A bridge not only makes life more convenient, it can also be a symbol of communication, understanding and friendship," Xi said.

With President Xi's visit, the friendship between China and Europe is also warming up again. People on both sides hope that this visit will build more bridges of friendship and cooperation between China and France, Serbia and Hungary, and even the whole of Europe.

‘Overcapacity’ claim violates economic principles, denies division of labor

Recently, the West has been unreasonably hyping up the false narrative of "overcapacity" in China. Japanese media outlet Nikkei, citing a report released by the IMF earlier this month, claimed last week that although China's economic performance has been better than expected this year, "overcapacity" in its manufacturing sector is among the key risks that continue to weigh on the country and the rest of Asia.

Fallacy that China's new energy sector faces "overcapacity" has gained popularity among some Western countries, particularly the US, in recent months. Yet, whether or not China has excess capacity should be determined by economic rules and facts, not political agenda led by the US.

The current global distribution of production capacity is a result of the combined effects of industrialization and market-based economic activities over the past few decades. Cooperation based on comparative advantages is crucial for optimizing the resource allocation of global factors, also an important approach for improving productivity and well-being among countries.

From the perspective of economic principles, equating fluctuations in supply and demand with excess capacity goes against the normal rules of the market economy and actually works counter to the rationality of international division of labor and economic globalization. If a country with supply exceeding demand is recklessly considered to have excess capacity, then all export economies in the world, not only China but also the US, have overcapacity issues in terms of their exported products.

In this sense, the narrative of "overcapacity" and criticisms of industrial subsidies are merely rhetoric fabricated by the US to hinder China's competitiveness.

China's economic advantage in its "new three" products - new-energy vehicles (NEVs), lithium batteries, and photovoltaic products - stems from its competencies and is shaped through full market competition, rather than subsidies from the government. While the US accuses China's industrial policy of violating international regulations and worsening overcapacity, the scale of American subsidies to new energy industries is far greater than in other countries, as the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act have shown. For example, the detailed rules of the Inflation Reduction Act stipulate that only electric vehicles assembled in North America are eligible for a maximum subsidy of $7,500 through federal tax deductions, which is a blatantly discriminatory subsidy law.

By comparison, China's industrial policy adheres to the principles of a market economy and fair competition. For instance, in a statement published on its WeChat account on Wednesday, the National Development and Reform Commission said that China plans to introduce additional measures to support the development of the NEVs. These measures include fostering industrial innovation through scientific and technological advancements, encouraging enterprises to increase investment in research and development, and facilitating the optimization and restructuring of the new energy vehicle industry. Moreover, China will remove all restrictions on foreign investment in manufacturing, inviting global auto companies to participate in the Chinese market and industrial chain to benefit from the advancements in new energy vehicle technology.

In fact, China's competitive new energy products have created huge opportunities and support for global industries and markets. Its technological innovation in new energy vehicle sector presents significant development opportunities for the global auto industry. Also, China is the only country in the world that has all the industrial categories listed in the United Nations industrial classification system, including 41 industrial categories, 191 medium categories and 525 subcategories. Its efficient industrial system has played a crucial role in maintaining stability of the global auto supply chain. 

Furthermore, China is a major driving force behind the world's rapid expansion of renewable power generation capacity. China's installed capacity of renewable energy exceeded 1.45 billion kilowatts in 2023, accounting for more than 50 percent of the country's total installed power generation capacity, according to data released by the National Energy Administration. Power generated from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power now accounts for more than 15 percent of China's total electricity consumption.

China has always been committed to promoting high-level opening-up and offering opportunities for market access to other countries, with the aim of achieving mutually beneficial results. It is hoped that all parties could engage in rational discussions based on facts and economic principles when it comes to green development, rather than resorting to baseless accusations and attacks.

China’s foreign trade in first four months hits 13.81 trillion yuan, rising 5.7% year-on-year: GAC data

China's trade in goods in the first fourth months of 2024 recorded an increase of 5.7 percent year-on-year to reach 13.81 trillion yuan ($1.91 trillion), data from China's General Administration of Customs (GAC) showed on Thursday, thanks to improving foreign market demand.  

Total goods exports recorded year-on-year growth of 4.9 percent to hit 7.81 trillion yuan from January to April, while imports increased by 6.8 percent to reach 6 trillion yuan, the administration said.

Notably, in April alone, China's imports and exports reached 3.64 trillion yuan, rising 8 percent year-on-year. In breakdown, exports stood at 2.08 trillion yuan with a year-on-year growth of 5.1 percent, while imports surged by 12.2 percent year-on-year to reach 1.56 trillion yuan.

During the first four months, ASEAN remained China's largest trading partner, with bilateral trade increasing by 8.5 percent year-on-year to hit 2.18 trillion yuan, accounting 15.85 percent of China's total foreign trade. 

The EU and the US were China's second and third largest trading partners. China's imports and exports with the EU decreased 1.8 percent to 1.75 trillion yuan, while trade with the US increased by 1.1 percent to reach 1.47 trillion yuan. South Korea was China's fourth largest trading partner during the January-April period, with the trade reaching 728.7 billion yuan, up 5.5 percent year-on-year.

China's total trade with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) partner countries amounted to 6.54 trillion yuan with a yearly increase of 6.4 percent, of which, exports increased by 6.7 percent year-on-year to reach 3.64 trillion yuan, while the imports grew by 6 percent to 2.9 trillion yuan. 

Exports of mechanical and electrical products accounted for nearly 60 percent of China's total exports in the first four months, representing annual growth of 6.9 percent to 4.62 trillion yuan. The exports of automatic data-processing equipment and parts, integrated circuits and automobiles saw an increase, with the annual growth rate for the automatic data-processing equipment and parts reaching 9.7 percent, 23.5 percent for integrated circuits, and 24.9 percent for automobiles. 

Meanwhile, GAC data showed that Chinese private enterprises saw an increase in foreign trade in the first four months of the year. The trade of private firms totaled 7.54 trillion yuan, up 10.7 percent year-on-year, accounting 54.6 percent of China's total foreign trade and increased by 2.5 percentage points compared with the same time last year.

What's China like through the lens of global vloggers pouring in?

"Welcome to the future!"

These are the first words Ansh Mishra says to the camera, in a vlog of his trip to China that he shared on YouTube in late April. With lively electronic background music, the vlog shows attractive scenes including a metro station dome with a futuristic design, the interactive screen of a service robot, and a metro train equipped with high-tech facilities.

Mishra, also known as "Indigo Trekker," is an Indian travel vlogger with some 118,000 YouTube subscribers. He is also among the recent visitors to China amid a surge in inbound tourists, including many travel vloggers who are inspired and passionate about exploring this somewhat "mysterious" country, and then share their travel experiences and observations with the world.

Data showed that China saw 1.78 million inbound trips in this past May Day holidays from May 1 to 5. Inbound travel bookings during the holidays increased by 130 percent year-on-year.

China's relaxed entry policies have resulted in an inbound tourism boom, and its continues high-level opening-up has impressed global visitors with all-time conveniences, openness, and friendliness.

The Global Times spoke to several travel vloggers, whose videos of their recent trips to China have all had numerous views on social media platforms. Their vivid experiences showed overseas audience a China that is different from what is depicted by Western narratives and stereotypes.

'Shockingly modern'
Having long planned to visit China, Mishra finally made the trip in February, amid the Chinese New Year this year.

One of the main reasons for his visit to China was to "experience its technological advancement." "It's the biggest country in Asia by its size and population, and of course, one of the hi-tech countries in the world. Hence, I really wanted to visit it," Mishra told the Global Times.

In the vlog he uploaded in late April titled "The world won't believe China's new infrastructure," Mishra explores the Gangxia North metro station in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, which he describes as "the craziest metro system design in China."

To the camera, Mishra charges his phone on a wireless charging facility on the metro train, and has his face scanned when getting out of the station. "You saw in the video that the transportation system is so modern and high-tech," he exclaimed at the end of the 24-minute vlog. "It is safe, convenient, cost-effective, efficient, fast, rapid, and environmentally friendly."

Modernization is one of the biggest impressions many travel vloggers have about China. In the vlogs they have shared online, they recommend a high-speed train ride as a must-have experience in China, pose in front of the screen showing real-time speeds of up to 350 kilometers per hour on the train, and learn to adapt themselves to the cashless society.

Travel vloggers Dan and Lyn, a couple "born in Paris with Asian origins" as described on their websites, joked that a shock they encountered during their trip in Shanghai was that cash is almost entirely a thing of the past there. "What shocked us the most is the general advancement of the country," they told the Global Times.
Similar to Dan and Lyn, "Ken Abroad," the screen name of a German travel content creator with 320,000 YouTube subscribers, said he didn't encounter any real cultural shocks in his recent trip to China, but was surprised by the fact that almost everything in the country is cashless. "I spent, in total, over one month in China, and I did not see a single person paying cash," he said.

Having been to many major Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, Ken Abroad found that China is overall more modern than he had expected, as many things are digital, and that often makes life more convenient. "I even took a driverless bus in Guangzhou. That was a cool experience!" he recalled. "I also got food delivered to my hotel room by a robot, which I had never seen before."

In addition to the modern technology itself, foreign tourists can also enjoy more considerate conveniences specifically provided to them, as China continues to pursue high-level opening-up with sincerity and hospitality.

Within months, points of sale (POS) machines across several major tourist cities have been updated to accept foreign bank cards. The People's Bank of China, China's central bank, has also unveiled multilingual payment service guides to facilitate foreign payment services.

And cities like Beijing and Shanghai are making further efforts to better serve both tourists and expats living there. In Beijing, local government officials said at a press release in March that foreigners can now do a lot of things with their passports online, such as booking scenic spot tickets and hospital registration.

'Lesser-known treasures'
To many overseas tourists, China is the very first station of their trip to Asia. With the increasing convenience of entering China, many visitors are no longer content to just walk around a few iconic metropolises like Shanghai or Beijing. Instead, they prefer to explore farther and lesser-known places, so as to take a closer look at a diverse China.

Travel content creators Flora and Note are a Canadian couple. After flying from Bangkok to Shanghai earlier this year, they started their beautiful journey across China. They took high-speed trains to Zhejiang, Jiangxi provinces and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and then spent about 10 days exploring some fairyland-like destinations in Yunnan, such as Shangri-La.

The time in Yunnan left a lasting impression on them. "We immersed ourselves in ancient towns, learned about ethnic minorities and their food culture, and were marveled by the incredible nature," they told the Global Times.

Note mentioned a destination probably even unknown to many Chinese people: Wangxian Valley in East China's Jiangxi Province. He said the valley was a big highlight of their trip to China.

"Seeing the village's fairyland-like appearance, with houses clinging to cliffs, was breathtaking, especially when illuminated at night," he recalled. "Learning about the village's role in driving economic development in Jiangxi added depth to our visit, motivating us to raise awareness of this beautiful place among foreign visitors."

Alina Mcleod, a Canadian travel vlogger born in Ukraine, has recently been to the central and southwest parts of China. She tried on Hanfu (traditional clothing of Han ethnic group) in Chengdu, and the costume of people of the Miao ethnic group in Guilin, making her look like a beautiful local woman.

She told the Global Times that the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in Central China's Hunan Province, also known as "The Avatar Mountains," was one of her favorite destinations in China. "It was a landscape that I had never seen before!"

Mishra also went to more places during his one-month trip in China. "Miao culture in Kaili, Lijiang River in Yangshuo, Tianmen Mountain in Zhangjiajie, Muslin's street food culture in Xi'an, and of course, ultra-modern high technology in almost every single city in China, made me speechless," said Mishra.

"I have shown [this] in all my vlogs, which the global world has to know in the right ways," he said.
Travel vloggers like Mishra are a window for overseas audiences to know about a real China.

Before traveling to China, international tourists might have some concerns about this seemingly remote Eastern country, usually portrayed negatively by the West. However, when they visit China and have in-person experiences, they find that the vast majority of their previous concerns about China are entirely unfounded.

Flora and Note said that initially they worried about filming in China, as they thought they would face some resistance from local people. But later they found that filming and taking photos is a common practice, and, "as long as we weren't disrupting others, there were no issues," said the couple.

In February, Ken Abroad uploaded a video on YouTube, which showed his trip to Urumqi, the capital of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, a name constantly spotlighted by some Western media outlets and politicians.

"This region is all over Western media for not so good reasons. But as usual, I am curious to see things with my own eyes. So, I booked a flight to Urumqi," Ken Abroad wrote in the introduction page of the video. "According to some comments on my channel, I would not be allowed to enter, as the region is apparently closed to foreigners. Well, I was able to enter without any problems and soon after I found myself exploring the city center of Urumqi."

In this vlog, Ken Abroad walks on the snowy streets of Urumqi. He sees many mosques across the city, and asks local residents the opening time of the mosques, receiving friendly responses.

"[An] interesting fact about the mosques here, as I read before, is that Xinjiang, this region of China, has more mosques than the US or any Western countries in Europe do," he says to the camera while walking alone on the street.

"And, …do you have the impression so far that the majority of people that we spoke to today, we interacted with, we saw, were Muslims?" he asks. "Yet the Western media are trying to tell us that the Muslims are being oppressed here by the Chinese government; that they don't live a normal life. I don't want to judge now, but just asking you, what is your impression of the people that we have seen so far?"

"I am happy to see that so many people watched my China videos, and the responses I got were overall mostly positive," Ken Abroad said.

China, on Tuesday, announced the extension of the visa exemption entry for citizens from 12 countries, including France and Germany, on short-term visits to China until the end of 2025. That will offer many foreign tourists like Ken Abroad greater ease when visiting or revisiting this country.

"It's a huge country and there are so many more places that I would like to see," Ken Abroad said. "I will probably return at the end of this year."

Obviously, there will be more travel vlogs flooding social media in the near future, as we have seen visitors from different countries excitedly declaring into the camera, "China, we are coming!"

Political, civilian groups in Taiwan urge DPP authorities to adhere to one-China principle

Multiple political and civilian groups on Taiwan island on Tuesday initiated a peace declaration signing activity, urging the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities to adhere to the one-China principle, and stop compromising cross-Straits relations or forcing the people on the island to face the existential choice between war and peace. 

The Cross-Strait Peaceful Development Forum, together with more than 60 pro-reunification groups, including the Labor Party of Taiwan, the Reunification Alliance Party, and the Blue Sky Action Alliance, organized the Tuesday activity. 

The initiators of the Tuesday activity urged Lai Ching-te, who will take office as the regional leader of the Taiwan island on May 20, to adhere to the one-China principle, respond to the majority of Taiwan people's advocacy for peace, take the window of goodwill opened by the mainland, and seize the opportunity to defuse the cross-Straits crisis, according to a release sent to the Global Times by the initiators.

The DPP authorities' eight-year policy of hostility toward the mainland has continuously worsened cross-Straits relations, with the situation across the Taiwan Straits becoming increasingly tense, forcing the Taiwan people to face the existential choice between war or peace, stability or turmoil, prosperity or decline, Wang Wu-lang, secretary-general of the Cross-Straits Peace Forum, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

With the situation of the Taiwan Straits becoming more perilous and people feeling insecure, Lai won't easily abandon the stance and advocacy for "Taiwan independence," said Wang, noting that his stance completely disregards the survival and development interest of the vast majority of the Taiwan people.

The DPP authorities may continue their strategy of rejecting reunification and seeking independence by relying on the US to pursue political gains, Wang said, noting that Lai may taunt the "promises" which the US and some Western countries made to Taiwan to continue to fool the public. 

Aside from urging Lai to adhere to the one-China principle in his speech on May 20, the initiators of the Tuesday activity also put forward six appeals to urge the DPP authorities to resume various aspects of social, economic, and cultural exchanges and cooperation across the Straits, safeguard the legitimate rights of people from both sides of the Straits to communicate and interact.

They also oppose any arms purchases and cross-Straits policies that treat the mainland as a hostile entity, and required the DPP authorities to provide Taiwan's youth with a fair historical perspective and an environment conducive to cross-Straits peace and development.

Lai and those who seek "Taiwan independence" are going against the historical trend of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and their path will not succeed, said Wang, calling for Taiwan people to unite and promote cross-Straits stability. 

Guangdong sets up team to investigate deadly May Day expressway collapse

South China's Guangdong Province has set up a disaster investigation and assessment team, headed by the provincial governor, to look into the deadly expressway collapse that took place on Wednesday in the province's Meizhou city, according to media reports on Sunday. 

The cause of the disaster is still under investigation, according to local authorities.

As of press time, the death toll has risen to 48, after part of the Meizhou-Dabu Expressway collapsed around 2:10 am Wednesday, the Xinhua News Agency reported. The remains of three people have yet to be identified. Thirty others were injured, but none are in life-threatening condition.

On Sunday, a 15-year-old boy who was injured in the accident was discharged from Meizhou People's Hospital. He is the first injured person to be discharged, China Central Television (CCTV) reported Sunday. 

The accident took place after heavy rainfall hit several parts of Guangdong for a few days, which eventually led to a landslide in the area. Aerial photos show one side of the expressway had caved in, causing vehicles to roll down the slope below.

Since April, Meizhou has experienced multiple heavy rain storms, with the city's average cumulative rainfall reaching 621.7 millimeters, 2.49 times more than the same period in a typical year, local authorities said during a news conference on Thursday. This surpasses the historical record for April rainfall since meteorological records began in 1980.

A local resident surnamed Mi told the Global Times on Sunday that this was the first time he had seen such intense rainfall during the May Day holidays in Meizhou. "Usually, similar heavy rainfalls do not occur until the end of May," he said, noting he thinks this may be the main cause behind the accident.

In this tragic accident, some spontaneous rescues at the scene also touched many people. One of those involved was Wang Xiangnan, a 33-year-old cold chain freight driver. When he discovered the accident ahead, he parked his 12.5-meter-long vehicle across the highway to prevent more cars from tumbling down the slope. Because of his brave actions, he was awarded 10,000 yuan ($1,413) from his company and another 10,000 yuan from a charity organization. During an interview, he said he would donate this reward to the families of the victims in the collapse, as they are in greater need of the money.

The rain in Meizhou has not ended yet. Strong convective weather is forecast to remain in Meizhou throughout the week, and traffic control will be implemented at potential danger points, local newspaper Meizhou Daily reported Sunday. The local authorities have activated a Level-IV flood control emergency response, the highest level.

The Department of Natural Resources of Guangdong Province said that in recent days, Guangdong has experienced historically rare and persistent heavy rainfall, severe convective weather, and high soil moisture content, which can easily lead to geological disasters such as landslides and road collapses. The geological disaster prevention situation is very severe.

The provincial department has conducted a "dragnet-style" investigation of geological disaster risks, focusing on areas near mountains, water, and villages, as well as areas prone to disasters such as mountainsides, cliffs, and slopes. 

According to the China Meteorological Administration, starting from Sunday, the rainfall in South China will significantly weaken. However, Guangdong will still see cloudy and rainy weather on Monday and Tuesday. At the same time, the administration warns that although the rainfall is generally weakening, there is still great potential for secondary disasters like landslides, especially where the soil moisture content is high. Residents should try to avoid activities in geological disaster-prone areas such as mountains and river valleys.

China, the US should both be on board to drive real climate action: director of Climate Group

Editor's Note:

With the conclusion of COP28, or the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on December 12, 2023, a "historic" climate deal was inked, which, for the first time, pledged to transition away from the use of fossil fuels while boosting renewable energy. Representatives from nearly 200 countries agreed, at the summit, to begin reducing the global use of fossil fuels, drawing worldwide attention. At the summit, China talked with every relevant party to find an acceptable solution to promote the success of the COP28. Over the years, the efforts that China has made in climate change have won wide recognition and the cooperation between China and the US is also of importance to the world. On the heels of COP28, Global Times reporter Xie Wenting (GT) spoke with Champa Patel (Patel), Executive Director for Governments and Policy at the Climate Group, an NGO dedicated to climate change, on issues related to COP28 and global cooperation on climate change among other topics.
GT: What are your thoughts on the outcomes from COP28 and what are the key takeaways from conference? How do you believe this conference has contributed to global climate action?

Patel: The main takeaway from COP28 was the first explicit recognition that the world has to transition away from fossil fuels. While it did not go as far as saying "phase-out" from fossil fuels, this still sends a strong signal on what is expected of countries and that a fossil-fuel-free future is the only way forward. It sends an important message that fossil fuels are on their way out, and might not be worth investing in.

With that in mind, it was great to see commitments on tripling renewables and doubling down on energy efficiency, measures which earlier on in the year had been taken on by the G20 in its communique as well. There was also a welcome recognition that nation states should work closely with subnational governments - as the level of government often closest to impacted communities - to set climate action plans and ensure an integrated multi-level approach.

But there were significant gaps as well. Climate finance was not the focus as much as it should have been.

In many ways, we do not have a crisis of ambition - most countries are signed up to what needs to be done to achieve net zero - but for many developing economies this will require substantial investment and funding. Where will the money from? There is still much more that needs to be negotiated on new sources of climate finance and how existing funds can be scaled up - so there, we do see a crisis of ambition.

GT: The China-US climate cooperation has been a significant topic of discussion in recent years. In your opinion, what are the key areas in which China and the US can collaborate effectively to address climate change? How can this cooperation be strengthened further?

Patel: Prior to COP28, China and the US released "The Sunnylands Statement on Enhancing Cooperation to Address the Climate Crisis." The two sides have also agreed to establish a working group on enhancing climate action in the 2020s, to advance discussions on methane, the energy transition, and resource efficiency among others. This provides an important vehicle for enhanced cooperation. Interestingly, and for Climate Group more importantly, was an explicit recognition of the role of subnational cooperation bringing together states, regions, and cities in climate action. This is really important as local governments are often best placed to know the specific needs of their communities.

To drive real climate action, we need to have both China and the US on board - without them, action is meaningless. So it's great to see climate as one of the few areas which is not prey to the great power competition. The climate crisis has the opportunity to bring the great powers together. We need China and the US on board, not just because of political power or their large economies, but also because they are facing the devastating impacts of climate change within their own countries, whether heatwaves, flooding, or droughts. So these steps are a positive sign but much more needs to be done to drive action further and faster as time is critical to ward against a 1.5-degree rise in temperature.

GT: How can NGOs contribute toward fostering collaboration and driving impactful change? In light of recent COP28 commitments, what specific actions or policies do you believe the US and China should prioritize to accelerate their transition to a low-carbon economy?

Patel: NGOs have an important role to play as they can support and foster partnerships, encourage peer exchange and facilitate relationship building between China and the US. They can also help identify policy measures that can accelerate climate impact.

Both countries can show true climate leadership by including concrete steps toward the transition away from fossil fuels in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the national action plans on climate. That would send an incredibly strong signal to the rest of the world.

GT: Looking ahead, what are your expectations for future China-US climate cooperation? How can this partnership evolve and expand to tackle emerging challenges and seize new opportunities in the fight against climate change?

Patel: Looking ahead, it is critical that the US and China identify concrete projects, initiatives, and funding that can help accelerate climate action. There is an opportunity to drive leadership not just from their respective countries but also to model what is needed from other major powers and developed economies.

The signal on action needed on methane sent through "The Sunnylands Statement on Enhancing Cooperation to Address the Climate Crisis" is important. It is the first time China has mentioned methane, as it focuses its mind on this short-lived pollutant that is often sidelined when considering decarbonization measures. But tackling methane emissions is essential as, arguably, we cannot stay within 1.5 degrees of temperature rise without also addressing methane emissions.

By coming together, the two countries can help unlock global ambition and provide a model of leadership that is sorely needed to drive forward faster climate action.