China Blue-Chips Gain on Trade Talk Plan; Shanghai Lower

China’s blue-chip index closed higher on Friday, following its peers in the region, on prospects of a new round of trade talks between China and the U.S., but mixed economic data weighed on the Shanghai Composite index.

The Shanghai Composite index ended down 0.2 percent at 2,681.64 points. The index is down 0.8 percent for the week, its third consecutive weekly fall. The blue-chip CSI300 index gained 0.2 percent to 3,242.09 points at close on Friday, but was down 1.1 percent for the week.

China’s growth looks set to cool further in coming months, with a barrage of August economic data doing little to dispel views that domestic demand is softening and government support measures will take some time to kick in.

Source : Reuters

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Haley: Trump’s Mideast Peace Plan ‘Getting Close’

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said Tuesday that she has read the Trump administration’s much-anticipated Middle East peace plan. And while it is “getting close,” it will not be rolled out later this month during the U.N. General Assembly, as some had predicted.

“I can tell you that Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt have done unbelievably detailed work in it,” Haley said of the two presidential advisers tasked with coming up with a plan to resolve one of the world’s most intractable crises.

“I have read the plan. It is thoroughly done. It is well-thought-out from both sides — the Palestinians and the Israelis.”

Haley, who is also a member of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet, said she couldn’t “say enough good things” about the proposal and warned that “there are a lot of false statements” circulating about it.

She added that the proposal would only work if both sides would hear it, and urged the international community to put particular pressure on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to come to the table.

“For the good of the Palestinian people, the region, the international community, we have to put pressure on Abbas and say it’s time. It’s time for a better life for the Palestinians,” Haley said. “And only he can deliver that.”

The Trump administration has seen its relations go from bad to worse with the Palestinian Authority, peaking in December over the White House’s decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Source : VOA

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China, Southeast Asia Seek a Safer Disputed Sea with Plan for Joint Exercises

Plans for a first-ever joint military exercise by China and Southeast Asian nations this year would calm safety risks on the most heavily contested sea in Asia and could ease fear of Beijing’s dominant role in the sovereignty dispute.

At a meeting in February, defense ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) “welcomed” the prospect of a maritime exercise with China by the end of 2018, Singapore’s defense ministry said in a statement. Singapore is heading the association this year. The ministers “informally” met Chinese defense minister Chang Wanquan, as well, the statement said.

Beijing claims about 90 percent of the disputed waterway, the South China Sea. In Southeast Asia, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam also claim swathes of the sea, vying with China’s holdings. Taiwan calls the whole sea its own, as well. China, which has the world’s third most powerful armed forces, has irked the others since 2010 by landfilling islets for military use.

Odds of an exercise this year are high, said Fabrizio Bozzato, a Taiwan Strategy Research Association fellow specializing in East Asia.

“This time China is moving to engage ASEAN at a multilateral and collective level for the sake of winning their trust, soothing fears of China’s overwhelming military supremacy by boosting collective self-confidence and enhancing the role of ASEAN as the preferred interface and dialogue platform,” he said.

Source : voanews

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