Japan’s ambition is to become a global political power.

and diplomatic means alone cannot support Japan’s global ambitions. A military presence at the global level is needed if Japan is to expand its political clout.

Compared with old European powers like the UK and France, Japan’s military influence in Europe is jerkwater. But it is different after Japan signed military pac

ts with these countries – Japan’s political influence is increasing because of the support of military powers.

With the influence of the UK and France declining in the Asia-Pacific region, their military activities can get the support from Japan via the A

CSA, which will immensely boost Japan’s military clout. These European countries will not look at J

apan through the military lens, which will effectively strengthen Japan’s political might.

Meanwhile, exchange of military provisions will help enhance pe

ople-to-people exchanges between Japan and these countries, exerting Japan’s cultural influe

nce in these countries and beyond. Even if Japan fails to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, it can still play a major role in th

e world. This has been part of the global strategies of the Abe administration.

We can see that Japan signing ACSAs with six countries is not just for d

efense and military purposes, it’s part of an overall plan to influence economics, pol

itics, military and culture, which is a long-term strategic mind-set of the Japanese government.

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hina and Pakistan have enjoyed a great relationship for

bilateral ties were upgraded to an all-weather strategic partnership.

“We wish that our relationship could be closer and the bond of friendship will be further strengthened in the future,” the admiral said.

Abbasi also noted that the Indian Ocean is vital for the global economy. Thr

eats to this region cannot be tackled by any navy alone. The Chinese navy’s mission to en

sure maritime security in the Indian Ocean has provided a lot of security to shipping in the region, he said.

Shao Shuguang, commander of the Task Group 998, said during meeting w

ith Abbasi that “Karachi’s long history and culture, the hospitality of the Pakistani pe

ople, especially the professionalism of our counterparts in your navy, have left a deep impression on me.”

“I hope that the navies of our two countries will have further close exchang

es and cooperation to jointly maintain maritime security and stability in the Indian Ocean,” Shao said.

During the visit to Kunlunshan, the admiral also reviewed the PLA Navy’s guard of honor.

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Nation’s property sector remains robustperty models in Donggu

Experts said the Spring Festival holiday was the major factor behind the significant drop in property sales perfor

mance nationwide in the first month of 2019 and did not necessarily represent a negative market trend for the industry.

According to Centaline Property Agency’s research, in January property sales declined by 38 p

ercent year-on-year in the first-tier cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

Among the four cities, Guangzhou saw the most dramatic decrease of 65 percent year-on-year, followed by Beijing, where home sales dropped by over 40 percent.

Country Garden, one of the country’s biggest developers, sold 33 billion yuan ($4.88 billion) of prop

erty in January, a 52.2 percent yearly decline. Vanke, whose monthly sales were 48.8 billion yu

an, saw a 28.1 percent drop year-on-year, while Evergrande Group’s sales performance shrank by 32.9 percent.

Third and fourth-tier cities accounted for most of the sales, but these had also slowed down com

pared to the same period in 2018. Zhang Dawei, chief analyst at Centaline, said the lack of e

nthusiasm from buyers was caused by the overheated market during last year’s Spring Festival.

“During the Spring Festival in 2018, housing prices in first and second-tier cities suddenly increased, triggering price

rises in lower-tier ones too,” said Zhang. “Back then, buying properties in one’s lower-tier hometown became a trend.”

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This year, I am issuing a challenge to men everywhere to enth

husiastically rise to the occasion to correct the misconception that they are not romantic. Take the t

ime to figure out what kind of gift would touch the heart of your woman, and buy it for her if you can af

ford it. Fight the temptation to purchase gifts that are perhaps useful but not so romantic.

Most women love it when men give them more personal gifts. A man should a

llocate enough time to create a gift that a woman may truly appreciate, such as w

riting a poem expressing his love for her, cooking a delicious meal for two, or arranging a spa treatment for her.

For some people, Valentine’s Day is the loneliest day of the year. For tho

se who have no significant other, go out to spend the evening with your peers in a bar or a ni

ghtclub, as many such entertainment establishments in cities host special events for the evening. You may be lucky eno

ugh to meet the person of your dreams. But even if you don’t, chances are you could still have a wonderful time.

Finally, I wish women and men everywhere a very happy Valentine’s Day.Sava Hassan is a Canadian-Egyptian educator.

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old Hunan art form sees revival during Lunar New Year

Deng Xia, a fan of Huagu (“flowery drum”) Opera, a local art form of Yueyang in

Central China’s Hunan province, barely misses such shows at the One Yuan Theater.

“It has enriched the cultural life of residents like me,” Deng, 35, says.

“In the past, we could appreciate the Huagu Opera, mostly during important festivals such as Lunar New Year, but now we can watch it often.”

The One Yuan Theater, located in Rongjiawan town of Yueyang, has staged 30 to 50 Huag

u Opera shows annually since 2012, with the audience numbers for each show sometimes touching 1,000.

“Some people bring along stools or are even willing to stand through a show of two or three hours,” says Deng of the theater that has a seating capacity of 800.

To enjoy a show, each viewer has to pay only 1 yuan ($0.15) as admission fee to the theater, as the prog

rams are covered by government funding. The initiative to provide regular and nearly-free shows to lo

cal residents has been successful in bringing the once-dead cultural heritage back to life.

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Wang said his department encourages companies to pr

mote scientific and technology innovation to make them more competitive.

Zhou Yawei, a member of the Standing Committee of the Guangzhou Committee of the Communist

Party of China and secretary of the Party Working Committee of the Guangzhou D

evelopment District, said the district has registered more than 20,000 science and

technology companies and took the lead in innovation among 219 State-level development zones in China last year.

It is the first time the district – which is home to Sino-Singapore Know

ledge City, Guangzhou Science City and Guangzhou International Island – has led State-level de

velopment zones in scientific and technological innovation. It ranked second in 2017.

“The district, in the eastern part of Guangzhou, introduced preferential policies to promot

e scientific and technological innovation years ago,” Zhou said. “Priority was given to the dev

elopment of the information, artificial intelligence and biopharmaceutical industries.

“Scientific and technological innovation are expected to play an even bigger role in

the district’s economic development and industrial upgrading in the years ahead.”

Zhou promised to attract more high-end talent from home and abroad t

his year to help boost the district’s scientific and technological innovation efforts.

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Employment, private kindergartens and small business taxes

Several ministry-level departments, including those for human resources and social security,

civil affairs, and finance, have responded recently to issues of public concern.

Employment survey to help job seekers

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Securit

y has launched an online survey in an effort to improve services to job seekers.

In a notice posted on its website on Feb 2, the ministry invited members of the public to fill in

an employment questionnaire and give it a better understanding of the employment sit

uation after the Feb 4-10 Spring Festival holiday.

The survey is open to the public until Feb 20. Respondents can access the questionnair

e by scanning a QR code on the screen of their cellphones or logging on to the ministry’s website.

The ministry also surveyed employers and job-seekers last year to find out more about employment needs after Spring Festival.

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The Ministry of Civil Affairs has urged national-level

industrial organizations and chambers of commerce to lower membership fees and refr

ain from imposing unreasonable charges to reduce the burden on businesses.

The ministry said in a statement on Feb 3 that it will conduct the annual examination

of national-level social organizations, and such organizations are also expected to report fee adjustments in their annual reports.

The lowering of membership fees will be an important criteria for the ministry in evaluating na

tional organizations. Other criteria include whether the organizations have imposed charges against regulations or been found to have m

isused funds. Those who fail the evaluations will be disqualified, the ministry said.

Social organizations found to be engaged in activities that harm national reunification, national security, ethnic un

ity or jeopardize the national interest will also be disqualified and punished according to law, the ministry said.

A third-party will conduct random on-site verification of information submitted, it added.

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The Ministry of Education said on Feb 2 that it will contin

ue to boost support for private kindergartens and encourage them to provide inclusive services.

The ministry said media reports that the country will no longer allow the development

of private kindergartens were misleading, and it will continue to encourage investment in kindergartens.

As of 2017, about 63 percent of kindergartens nationwide were run by private entiti

es, among which 43 percent were deemed to be providing inclusive services, the ministry said.

It added that it will encourage more private kindergartens to provide inclusive servic

es. In the meantime, private kindergartens will be allowed to remain profit-oriented to meet public demand.

Chinese authorities have decided to grant a three-year tax benefit to encourage self-employment and hiring by small businesses.

The decision was jointly announced on Feb 2 by the Ministry of Finance, State Taxation Administration and two other government departments.

According to the decision, people in need who start a business can have 12,000 yuan ($1,790) a year deducted from their families’ annual taxes over three years.

The preferential treatment will target four groups: those registered as members of pov

erty-stricken groups; people who have been jobless for more than half a year; those living on su

bsistence allowances; and recent graduates from higher education institutions.

Businesses that have hired individuals from the four groups and paid social insurance for

them can also enjoy tax deductions of 6,000 yuan per person a year for three years.

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WTO should play bigger role in global governancetate Coun

reign Minister Wang Yi has called for the World Trade Organization to play bigger role in global governance.

Wang made the statement at the 18th session of the consultations of the coordinators for the China-France Stra

tegic Dialogue with Philippe Etienne, foreign policy advisor to the president of France, in Paris on Thursday.

Wang highlighted China’s position in upholding multilateralism and the rules-based multilateral trading system with the WTO at the core.

Noting China supports for the reform of the WTO to increase its authority and efficiency, Wang said the core value and b

asic principles of the WTO as well as the direction of trade liberalization should remain unchanged.

The WTO reform should follow the practice of decision-making by consensus, and c

annot be dictated by a few, nor decided by an exclusive small group of Members, he noted.

Wang called for safeguarding the special and differential treatment for developing members in the

WTO reform, saying France should objectively treat China as a developing country.

Priority should be given to the resolution of the issue of Appellate Body member appointment blockage, he said.

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