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Curtis Wilbur and Coast Guard’s cutter Bertholf through the Taiwan Straits. On March 13, t
wo US B-52H bombers flew near Chinese islands in the South China Sea for the second time this month.
Wu said China resolutely opposes the “provocative actions” by the
US warplanes, and will continue to take necessary actions to safeguard national sec
urity. “The facts have shown that the US is the one militarizing the South China Sea,” he said.
Regarding the US military’s recent interactions with its Taiwan counterpart, Wu said China resolutely opposes any milit
ary interaction between the two sides, whether it involves arms sales to Taiwan or official military exchanges.
“The Taiwan question is a domestic matter for China, and it is related to China’s core interests and the feelings of the Chi
nese people. It cannot be interfered with by outside forces,” Wu said, adding that the one-China policy is a reco
gnized consensus in international relations, and the political basis for Sino-US relations.
“Any attempt to undermine this principle is no different than trying to shake the foundatio
n of Sino-US ties. This does not fit with the basic interests of either nation, and it is very dangerous,” he said.
Chinese local government bonds worth 1.4 billion yuan ($208.5 million) were snapped up by retail investors within a single day, after counter sales in banks we
re made available for the first time. The fundraising will help supplement a broader fiscal deficit this year, analysts said.
On Monday, individuals in China were able to purchase bonds issued by t
he Zhejiang provincial government (five-year term, 3.32 percent coupon rate) and the N
ingbo city government (three-year term, 3.04 percent coupon rate). Proceeds from the sales will be used for land purchases (300 million yuan) and shantytown renovations (1.1 billion yuan), acc
ording to a notice on the website of China Central Depository and Clearing, a clearinghouse under the central bank.
The minimum investment amount for retail investors is 100 yuan, lower than most wealth management products issu
ed by commercial banks. Previously, individual investors could only purchase bonds issued by the central government, kno
wn as treasury bonds. And before Monday, local government bonds were traded mainly in the interbank market.
nts in Sichuan, Shaanxi and Shandong provinces as well as Beijing will eventually be able to sell bonds at count
ers in commercial banks directly to retail investors, and the practice will be expanded nationwide after an additional period of time.
The ministry said individuals do not need to pay taxes on the bonds’ interest income, and this policy is likely to attract more investors.
Selling local government bonds to retail investors should facilitate liquidity
in the secondary market, improve the market-oriented bond pricing mechanism and pu
sh issuers to enhance the quality of information disclosure, said Amanda Du, a Moody’s vice-president and senior analyst.
“Higher coupon rates compared with treasury bonds, and the tax exemption on the interest income, make
local government bonds more attractive for retail investors,” she said. “The fast takeup by retail investors also indicates that the
bonds have won high recognition among individual buyers, supported by the local governments’ high credit ratings.”
domestically rated “AAA”, the safest level. The sale to individual investors is mainly of project-link
ed special-purpose bonds, a type of local government bond vigorously promoted by the government in re
cent years. The cash flows generated from the underlying projects will be used as the primary repayment sources.
In China, there are two types of local government bonds: general bonds and special purpose bonds. According to the country’s 2019 budget repor
t, which was approved by the top legislature earlier this month, the budgeted deficit for local governments is 930 billion yuan, up 100 billi
on yuan compared with 2018, and this fund gap will be supplemented by general bonds.
In the meantime, 2.15 trillion yuan of special purpose bonds will be issued to support la
rge infrastructure projects, such as shantytown renovation projects and railways, said the ministry.
Letting individual buyers invest in local government bonds is a way to narrow the government’s financin
g gap, said Hu Yijian, a tax professor at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. The gap is expected to expand, as policym
akers decided to cut about 2 trillion yuan in taxes and fees this year while at the same time increase spending on investment.