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China urges U.S. to explain leaked intel and spying on other countries



Noting the leaked Pentagon documents, Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said during a regular press conference on Wednesday that the United States should explain to the international community why it is spying on other countries.

Wang made the remarks in response to a query on the recent reports of Pentagon’s leaked documents, which reveal the deep involvement of the U.S. in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, as well as its continuing close surveillance of allies, including Israel and South Korea.

Citing multiple media reports, Wang said the leaked intelligence documents show the U.S. is deeply involved in the Ukraine crisis and that it is still using its technological advantages to secretly spy on countries around the world, including its allies.

The leaks have already drawn responses from some foreign governments. For example, South Korea’s presidential office said on Monday it will demand the U.S. to take appropriate action over reports of the U.S.’s alleged spying on its top security officials, once details of the matter are confirmed.

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Foreign news

China’s first-quarter economy grows by 4.5% as recovery accelerates



China’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 4.5 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2023 as economic activities gain traction, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Tuesday.

“We are seeing an accelerating recovery in all sectors with stronger momentum, including the improving domestic demand,” said Pang Ming, chief economist and director of Research at JLL Greater China.

The growth rate was higher than analysts’ expectation of 4 percent in a Reuters poll.

The market expectation has significantly improved since the start of the year, said Fu Linghui, spokesperson of the NBS. He added that the economy’s growth rate in the second quarter is expected to accelerate significantly compared to the first quarter because of the low comparison base in the same period last year.

Going forward, Pang cautioned that policy support and targeted easing are still needed to secure sustainable growth amid external uncertainties.

China’s macroeconomic policies should keep domestic demand expansion as a priority in light of generally weak external demand, said Cheng Shi, chief economist at ICBC International.

In the first quarter, the total retail sales of consumer goods rose 5.8 percent year on year. Notably in March, consumer spending surged 10.6 percent year on year, 7.1 percentage points higher than that in the first two months.

There is divergence in the recovery pace among different consumption types, said Wen Bin, chief analyst at China Minsheng Bank. Offline and get-together spending continued to pick up, while the durable goods consumption was lacking, reflecting people’s income and willingness to shop require a further boost, he added.

A recent central bank survey of depositors showed that “tourism” tops the list of the expected increase in expenditure in the second quarter.

The investment in fixed assets grew by 5.1 percent year on year in the first quarter while the total added value of large industrial enterprises grew by 3.0 percent in the same period.

China has set a GDP growth target of around 5 percent for this year. Local governments around the country are gearing up support for the economy including optimizing the business environmentstabilizing employment and promoting consumption.

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