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China's Xi offers 'deep condolences' on ferry disaster in S. Korea

BEIJING, April 18 (Yonhap) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping sent his "deep condolences" to victims of a ferry disaster in South Korea, saying Beijing is ready to provide search-and-rescue assistance to Seoul. In a letter sent to South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Thursday night, Xi said he was "shocked to learn" of the ferry disaster, according to a statement posted on the website of China's foreign ministry. Xi "expressed deep condolences to the victims and the families of the missing and injured persons," the statement said.

China's Xi offers 'deep condolences' on ferry disaster in S. Korea

BEIJING, April 18 (Yonhap) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping sent his "deep condolences" to victims of a ferry disaster in South Korea, saying Beijing is ready to provide search-and-rescue assistance to Seoul. In a letter sent to South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Thursday night, Xi said he was "shocked to learn" of the ferry disaster, according to a statement posted on the website of China's foreign ministry. Xi "expressed deep condolences to the victims and the families of the missing and injured persons," the statement said.

China unveils mini stimulus to boost slowing economy

China has announced a set of steps to boost slowing growth in the world's number-two economy, including extending tax breaks for small businesses and support measures for poor urban districts. The State Council, China's cabinet, announced the mini stimulus late Wednesday after a meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang. Anticipation has been building recently for some kind of action following a string of disappointing economic indicators, including on industrial production and consumer spending.

Xi says multi-party system didn't work for China

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China experimented in the past with various political systems, including multi-party democracy, but it did not work, President Xi Jinping said during a visit to Europe, warning that copying foreign political or development models could be catastrophic. China's constitution enshrines the Communist Party's long-term "leading" role in government, though it allows the existence of various other political parties under what is calls a "multi-party cooperation system". But all are subservient to the Communist Party.

Chinese general charged with graft

A top Chinese military officer has been formally charged with corruption after he was exposed as owning dozens of homes, gold statues and luxury liquor, state media reported Tuesday. Gu Junshan, a former lieutenant general and deputy logistics chief for the People's Liberation Army, is the highest-ranking officer to face a military trial since 2006, the state-run Global Times newspaper said. He was charged with embezzlement, bribery, misuse of state funds and abuse of power, Xinhua said, quoting the military prosecutors' office, which could not be reached by AFP.

French minister apologises for calling state dinner 'revolting'

An embarrassed French minister has apologised to the head chef at the Elysee Palace after she was caught on camera describing the food at a China-France state dinner as "revolting". Trade Minister Nicole Bricq was caught out after saying the meal served to Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the state banquet on Wednesday night was not up to scratch, unaware that microphones were picking up her comments. "At the Elysee, it wasn't (up to scratch) at all... it was revolting. It has to be said," she was heard saying in a video clip posted online by BFMTV.

China's Xi presides over business deals in Germany, while Merkel presses him on free speech

BERLIN - Chinese President Xi Jinping presided over the signing of a string of deals with automakers and others as he started a visit to Germany on Friday, while Chancellor Angela Merkel prodded him on the importance of free speech. Xi was making his first visit as president to Germany, Europe's biggest economy, as part of a wider European tour that also has taken him to neighbouring France.

China, France sign major business deals on Xi visit

Beijing and Paris signed scores of deals Wednesday worth 18 billion euros ($25 billion) on the second day of a lavish state visit by Chinese leader Xi Jinping, in what President Francois Hollande said would bring much-needed growth. Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan have been given VIP treatment on a nostalgia-tinted trip to France marking the 50th year of full diplomatic ties between the two countries -- a visit due to culminate with a concert at the Versailles chateau on Thursday.

Contracts worth 18 bn euros signed during China leader visit

France and China signed some 50 deals worth 18 billion euros ($25 billion) during a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, French leader Francois Hollande said Wednesday. "The some 50 agreements that were signed today represent a value of 18 billion euros," Hollande said during a joint press conference with Xi. "Eighteen billion euros of contracts -- that is jobs, growth and, most of all, significant prospects for the coming years." ha-swi/mm/dh

Contracts worth 18 bn euros signed during China leader visit

France and China signed some 50 deals worth 18 billion euros ($25 billion) during a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, French leader Francois Hollande said Wednesday. "The some 50 agreements that were signed today represent a value of 18 billion euros," Hollande said during a joint press conference with Xi. "Eighteen billion euros of contracts -- that is jobs, growth and, most of all, significant prospects for the coming years." ha-swi/mm/dh
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