Beijing Slammed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Beijing on Tuesday slammed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for making “irresponsible remarks” after he criticized a Chinese court’s death sentence against a convicted Canadian drug smuggler.

Responding to Canada’s decision to update a travel advisory to warn citizens about the “risk of arbitrary enforcement of local laws” in China, Hua said: “Canada should remind its own citizens to definitely not engage in drug smuggling in China”.

Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, 36, was given the death penalty on Monday after his previous 15-year prison sentence was deemed too lenient a ruling that came amid a deepening diplomatic rift between Ottawa and Beijing.

Trudeau expressed “extreme concern” on Monday, saying “China has chosen to arbitrarily apply death penalties in cases, as in this case facing a Canadian”.

“We urge the Canadian side to respect the rule of law, respect China’s judicial sovereignty, correct their mistakes, and stop making such irresponsible remarks,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a press briefing.

Hua also dismissed suggestions by human rights groups that Beijing had seized on the case to put pressure on Ottawa over Canada’s arrest of a top executive of Chinese telecom giant Huawei in December.

“I think such remarks are malicious smearing and unwarranted accusations,” Hua said, adding that it is “extremely clear” which side is politicising judicial issues.

“China is safe, as long as the foreign citizens including Canadian citizens abide by China’s law and regulations,” she said.

US-China Talks to Resolve Their Trade War

A US delegation arrived in Beijing on January 7 for the first face-to-face dialogue with officials in Beijing since President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed to a three-month tariff truce during a meeting held on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Argentina on December 1.

The extended US-China talks to resolve the trade war between the world’s two greatest economy concluded on a positive note on January 9 with an American official describing the dialogue as “good one” for the US.

The US delegation was supposed to end its visit on January 8. However, the two-day vice-ministerial talks were extended till January 9 which China said reflected the seriousness of the negotiations.

“It’s been a good one for us,” Ted McKinney, US Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, said after the talks concluded.

The discussions “went just fine”, he said without elaborating, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.

Meanwhile, confirming the conclusion of the trade talks, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a media briefing that “the extension of the talks indicates that both sides are serious about this consultation”.

“If the results of the talks are positive, it would be beneficial for both China and the US and also a good news for the global economy,” he added.

Analysts said the positive momentum of the talks will need to be followed up by more senior officials.

Signals from the latest round of talks were upbeat, the Post report said.

Officials say talks are expected to deliver specific commitments to expand market access for US in China, improve protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) and reduce the trade surplus with the US, but it would take time to reform state-owned firms another major source of friction.

The US delegation, led by Deputy Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish, included representatives from the departments of energy, agriculture, treasury and commerce, while the Chinese side was led by Commerce Vice Minister Wang Shouwen.

The results of the talks would be analysed at a separate meeting between US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He.

Trump, who has been accusing China of indulging in unfair trade practices contributing to the huge trade deficit amounting to $375 billion, on January 8 said the trade talks with Beijing were going on “very well”. He had earlier warned that if a deal is not reached by March 1, the end of the 90-day grace period, the US will increase the tariffs on the $200 billions of goods from 10 percent to 25 percent.

Trump has been demanding China to drastically reduce the $375 billion trade deficit and ensure IPR production for US technology and services. The escalating trade war raised concerns in China as its economy was on the downward trend amid efforts by the government to rejig the export-dependent economy to that of relying more on domestic consumption.

China is facing the daunting task of presenting a credible plan to meet Trump’s demands to cut down the trade deficit. In recent weeks, China has showed some signs of flexibility or acceding to the American demands.

China Targets Population Plummet- Aims to Reach 1.44 Billion by 2029

The world’s most populous country must now draw up policies to try to cope with a declining labour force and a rapidly ageing population, according to the summary of the latest edition of the “Green Book of Population and Labor” published by the China Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

China’s population is set to reach a peak of 1.442 billion in 2029 and start a long period of “unstoppable” decline in 2030, government scholars said in a research report published on Friday.

Growth in the working population had now stagnated, the report said, and the rising number of elderly people will have a far-reaching impact on the social and economic development in the country, especially if fertility rates remain low.

“From a theoretical point of view, the long-term population decline, especially when it is accompanied by a continuously ageing population, is bound to cause very unfavorable social and economic consequences,” it said.

China’s population is expected to fall back to 1.36 billion by the middle of the century, it said, which could mean a decline in the workforce of as much as 200 million. If fertility rates remain unchanged, the population could fall to 1.17 billion by 2065, it said.

China decided in 2016 to relax a controversial “one-child policy” aimed at curbing population growth and allow all couples to have two children. However, the country’s birth rate still fell 3.5 percent in 2017 and is expected to have fallen again last year.

China’s “dependency rate” – or the proportion of non-working people, including children and the elderly, in the total population – rose for the first time in more than 30 years in 2011, and is widely predicted to increase further for at least the next few decades.

The proportion of retirees is projected to rise until 2060, the CASS report said, and while the decision to relax “one-child” rules was designed to rebalance China’s age structure, in the short term it will also lead to a greater dependency rate.

According to previous forecasts, China’s elderly population is expected to reach 400 million by the end of 2035, up from around 240 million last year

Trade Tensions Between the United States and China Pronounces Opportunities for India?

Henry Kravis, co-chief of KKR & Co Inc sees opportunities for India amid the ameliorating trade tensions between the United States and China. Highlighting the haphazard of Red Tape, Kravis maintained that “this (the trade war) is very positive for South East Asia and is very positive, in my view, for India”.

U.S. President Donald Trump started a trade war with China earlier this year as his administration imposed tariffs on steel, aluminium and various Chinese products. Beijing retaliated with import taxes of its own on products such as American-made cars.

“As you (India) get better infrastructure, get rid of some of this red tape bureaucracy … this country will benefit big time.”

India rose 23 places to 77th in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index for 2019, up from 100th in 2018, thanks to improving metrics in areas including access to credit and construction permits.

Kravis also said India’s large youth population was a big positive and that the country needed major investment in several sectors such as education, finance, healthcare and environment.

“That’s an opportunity for people like us,” he said.

Kravis also highlighted the need for a healthy local bond market in India.

“If you don’t have a long-term bond market you limit the growth because you’re putting all the onus back on to the banks to basically be the provider of capital,” Kravis. “That’s the reason that we set up our two NBFCs (non banking financial companies) here – one in real estate credit and one is in corporate credit.”

KKR, founded in 1976, currently manages assets roughly worth $195 billion. The company opened an office in India in 2009 and currently has about 43 staff. It has invested more than $7 billion in its credit business in the country and will invest more in the business going forward, he said.

KKR has also changed its focus to acquiring control positions or significant minority with near-control rights in companies instead of taking minority positions that did not give the company influence, Kravis said.

KKR’s investments in India include hospital management firm Radiant Life Care and Max Financial Services, the holding company of private insurance firm Max Life Insurance.

Huawei CFO Granted Bail From Canada, Hours After a Former Canadian Diplomat’s Detention in China

Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of China’s Huawei technologies, who was facing allegation of violation of U.S. Sanctions against Iran, has been granted bail from a Canada court on Tuesday, following the pressure from China and detention of a former Canadian diplomat was detained in China.

Meng, 46, was arrested Dec. 1 at Vancouver’s airport – the same day President Donald Trump met Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of a summit in Argentina.

Though the timing appears to be a coincidence – the warrant for her arrest was dated Aug. 22 – China sees the case as a bid to secure leverage in the ongoing U.S.-China trade war and has threatened “severe consequences” if she is not released.

Just hours before the Vancouver hearing, news broke that Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat and an analyst for International Crisis Group, was detained in China. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that he was aware of the case and Canada has been in touch with Chinese diplomats.

It was unclear Tuesday whether his case was related to China’s threats. But his detention is likely to complicate an already complex standoff between Beijing, Washington and Ottawa.

Since Meng was taken into custody, the United States has said little about the arrest.

When pressed by the media, Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s foreign minister, have stressed that Meng’s arrest was a legal, not political, move.

Huawei, which was founded by Meng’s father, Ren Zhengfei, is China’s largest privately held company and the world’s largest supplier of telecommunications gear.

Though the company has global reach, its expansion has long been thwarted by U.S. concerns that it is too close to the Chinese government and could constitute a threat to national security.

Huawei and China deny these assertions and counter that U.S. security claims are an effort to hurt its business. China’s party-controlled press has compared Meng’s arrest to a hostage-taking and a kidnapping.

On Friday, before a packed courtroom in Vancouver, prosecutor John Gibb-Carsley argued that Meng committed fraud in 2013 by telling financial institutions that China’s Huawei had no connection to a Hong Kong-based company, Skycom, which was reportedly selling U.S. goods to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions.

Meng’s lawyer said she will deny the charge.

In an affidavit released Sunday, Meng made her case for release.

“My father founded Huawei and I would never do anything that would cause the company reputational damage,” she said. “I wish to remain in Vancouver to contest my extradition, and I will contest the allegations at trial in the U.S. if I am ultimately surrendered.”

Over two more days of deliberation, Meng’s team argued that she should be granted bail on grounds that she is in poor health and has close ties to Vancouver, where she owns two homes and often visits.

Her lawyer initially said that her husband, a Chinese national who spends time in Vancouver, could serve as her guarantor – a suggestion the judge and prosecutors did not appear to like.

All agreed to put up their homes, or cash, as collateral should she flee.

The conditions of her bail stipulate that she must reside at her Vancouver residence, obey a curfew and travel only within a designated part of the city.

UK Quashes Visa Programs for Super Rich Investors

Shutting its doors for the rich Russian oligarchs and Chinese influentials, Britain is embarking on a reclusive economy, debarring the super-rich head honchos from attaining citizenship and permanent residence.

The Visa program will be suspended from midnight on Friday ahead of reforms designed to tackle money laundering and organized crime, according to a Home Office statement. They require applicants to provide audits of their financial and business interests and exclude government bonds as a qualifying investment. The suspension will lift once the changes, due in 2019, have been put in place.

The suspension comes after relations between the UK and Russia sunk to their lowest ebb since the Cold War following the poisoning of a former Russian double-agent and his daughter in March. Prime Minister Theresa May retaliated against the attack, which left one civilian dead, by expelling dozens of suspected spies. Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich was among those caught up in the tension — the British government failed to renew his visa and he has since received Israeli citizenship.

May said earlier this year that the government was reviewing the program after Labour Party lawmaker Yvette Cooper questioned the origin of money from 700 Russians who have been granted the visas. The number of applicants fell sharply in 2015 after the government introduced new anti-money laundering due diligence checks and doubled the minimum investment for the permit to £2 million ($2.6 million).

The visa is open to those from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland. Chinese investors have increasingly turned to the visas in recent years, making up almost 50% of applicants in the third quarter, according to data compiled by financial services firm Shard Capital Partners LLP.

Government-backed immigration porgrams aren’t uncommon in other parts of the world. The US has an immigration program, known as the EB-5 visa, that lets immigrants who create jobs in the country stay permanently. Portugal has a so-called golden visa program that allows foreign individuals to buy property valued at 500,000 euros ($567,000) or more in return for residency.

The UK’s move could hamper people worldwide, but Russian oligarchs may be most affected by the changes. The UK has long been a particularly appealing jurisdiction for ultra-rich Russians as a safe and stable place to do business, hold their wealth and educate their children, so much so that the city has been nicknamed Londongrad. But the suspension is the latest sign that such appeal may be fading after the government crackdown in the wake of the poisoning on British soil.

“We will not tolerate people who do not play by the rules and seek to abuse the system,” Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said in the statement. The new measures “will make sure that only genuine investors, who intend to support UK businesses, can benefit from our immigration system.”

Huawei CFO Soon to Be Extradited to US

Chinese tech giant Huawei’s Chief Financial officer is soon to be extradited to United States. Wanzhou Meng has reportedly been arrested by Chinese authorities on suspicion of violating the US’s trade sanctions on Iran.

A Huawei spokesperson did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

Huawei is the world’s second-largest smartphone manufacturer, and one of China’s largest tech firms. According to Meng’s official company biography, she joined the company in 1993 and also serves as deputy chairwoman of the board.

China Plans to launch a spacecraft to the other side of the Moon

China seems to be planning to send a spacecraft to the far side of the Moon this month. The Chang’e-4 spacecraft is slated for a December 8 take off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan. The spacecraft will be carrying a lander and a rover, that is said to touch down the surface on the lunar surface. No spacecraft has ever touched down on the surface of the moon’s far side.

The lander and rover will be exploring and study the crater-marker far side of the Moon. The mission also includes the first radio astronomy experiments, reported Scientific American. Chang’e-4 is the China National Space Administration’s (CNSA) new move to fulfill its lunar aspirations. Back in 2013, the Chang’e-3 landed on the surface, which was followed by the announcement of a moon base. If the new Chang’e-4 rover manages to successfully land on the surface, it will map the area around its landing site. The rover will measure the subsurface layer leveraging its ground-penetrating radar.

The CNSA hasn’t revealed the landing site of the rover, though Zongcheng Ling, a planetary scientist at Shandong University, told Scientific American that the rover is most likely to land in Von Kármán, a 115-wide crater. The Chang’e-4 is also assigned to prepare for future crewed missions and the CNAS’s desired moon base.

The rover will also study the growth of certain seeds sprout in a controlled on the moon’s low-gravity surface. “When we take the step towards long-term human habitation on the Moon or Mars, we will need greenhouse facilities to support us, and will need to live in something like a biosphere,” Anna-Lisa Paul, a horticultural scientist at the University of Florida, told Scientific American. Besides, the CNAS is also planning to launch the Chang’e-5 next year. The rover will be sent to collect and bring back the samples to Earth.

Trump Intimidates to Initiate Import Penalty Against China

White House on Tuesday in a series of twitter posts threatened Beijing with the import penalties which can be levied against it if the nation fails to mend their economic relationship with US.

This is a much different characterization of the China talks than just three days ago, when Trump had dinner with China’s president at a meeting of the Group of 20. After the dinner, Trump said they reached the framework of a deal that would come together in 90 days.

“It’s an incredible deal,” Trump told reporters after the dinner. “It goes down, certainly, if it happens, it goes down as one of the largest deals ever made.”

He later said China had committed to buying large amounts of U.S. agricultural products and completely removing all tariffs on U.S. automobiles, a huge shift from its current 40 percent penalty. Chinese officials, meanwhile, did not confirm any of these details. They wouldn’t even acknowledge that there was a 90-day deadline under which they were operating.

In the past 24 hours, there were signs that White House officials were beginning to backpedal from some of their initial optimism. In his Twitter posts on Tuesday, Trump said they might need an extension if the 90-day timeline didn’t prove sufficient.

Meanwhile, White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said there wasn’t an actual agreement for China to remove auto tariffs, but that he expected China to eventually do it as a measure of good faith.

He also said that China’s vice premier, Liu He, had told him there would be changes made “immediately” to show the Chinese were serious about a new agreement. But Kudlow acknowledged Tuesday that so far they haven’t seen any evidence of concrete steps being taken.

There are significant differences between the two governments over what was agreed at the dinner, according to a side-by-side comparison of their post-meeting statements prepared by Bloomberg. The Chinese have not acknowledged a 90-day deadline for the talks or said that they plan to “immediately” increase purchases of U.S. farm goods.

Chinese officials are puzzled and irritated by the administration’s shaky handling of the meeting’s aftermath, according to a former U.S. government official who has been in contact with them. Even before the Buenos Aires talks, Trump last month had stated incorrectly that the Chinese government “got rid of” the Made-in-China 2025 program of subsidized technology development in response to his objections.

The comments by the president and his top advisers over the past 48 hours have only added to China’s confusion about their negotiating partners.