HAMBURG, Germany, July 8 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, met here Saturday to discuss bilateral ties and global hot-spot issues on the sidelines of a Group of 20 (G20) summit.

Xi Trump meet on ties

Xi told Trump that stronger China-U.S. ties are conducive to stability and prosperity and serve the interests of both peoples and the international community in a complex world where various conflicts emerge.

Noting that the two countries have made new progress in bilateral cooperation in many fields since the Mar-a-Lago meeting despite some sensitive issues, Xi urged joint efforts with Trump to keep bilateral ties on track and coordinate in international affairs.

Xi also stressed that the two countries should stick to mutual respect and win-win cooperation, expand practical cooperation in various fields and strengthen coordination on international and regional issues, so as to keep China-U.S. relations healthy and stable.

The two leaders agreed to maintain close high-level exchanges and promote strategic mutual trust.

China and the United States have decided to hold the first round of a comprehensive economic dialogue on July 19, and launch the first round of a law enforcement, cybersecurity, social and cultural dialogue at an early date.

With altogether four high-level mechanisms, the two countries aim to improve mutual understanding and boost practical cooperation.

Noting that the 100-day action plan initiated after the two presidents' meeting at Mar-a-Largo in April has achieved new progress, Xi said the two sides are discussing a one-year cooperation plan.

On advancing military ties, Xi suggested that the two countries' defense ministers carry out an exchange of visits as soon as possible.

He also called for concerted efforts on such affairs as the China visit by the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in August, the first dialogue between the joint staffs of the two countries' militaries in November, and the Chinese navy's participation in the U.S.-led 2018 Pacific Rim military drill.

The two countries should respect each other's core interests and major concerns, and properly address differences and sensitive issues, said Xi.

For his part, Trump hailed the "wonderful relationship" with Xi and expressed confidence in the "success" in addressing common problems together with China.

The U.S. president noted that U.S.-China relations are developing well, with China being an important trade partner to the United States and playing an important role in international affairs.

Trump said his country is willing to expand dialogue and win-win cooperation with China in all relevant fields and maintain communication and coordination on major international and regional issues.

The pair also had an in-depth exchange of views regarding the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.

Xi said China is firmly committed to denuclearizing the peninsula, safeguarding peace and stability on the peninsula, and solving the issue through dialogue and consultation.

China, Xi said, has repeatedly made clear its principled stance that while making necessary responses to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's violations of UN Security Council resolutions, the international community should also increase efforts in promoting dialogue and controlling the situation.

He also reiterated to Trump that the Chinese side opposes the U.S. deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in South Korea.

The two leaders agreed to continue close communication and coordination on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.

They also exchanged views on boosting bilateral coordination and cooperation within the framework of the G20.

Trump was scheduled to pay a state visit to China later this year.

Xi and Trump set a constructive tone for the development of China-U.S. relations during their talks at the Mar-a-Lago resort in the U.S. state of Florida in April. The meeting was the first face-to-face communication between the two heads of state since the new U.S. administration took office.

In Florida, the two presidents spent more than seven hours in in-depth discussions, gained better understanding of each other, cemented mutual trust, reached consensus on many major issues, and built up a good working relationship.

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CARACAS, July 8 (Xinhua) -- Venezuela's jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez has been allowed to serve the remainder of his nearly 14-year sentence under house arrest, the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) said on Saturday.

Jailed Venezuelan opposition leader granted house arrest

His lawyer Javier Cremades confirmed the decision in a Twitter post, saying:" Leopoldo Lopez is at his home in Caracas with (his wife) Lilian and his children ... He was let out at dawn."

The court said it granted house arrest for humanitarian reasons, citing "information received about his health situation," as well as "irregularities" in the legal process.

Lopez, a prominent leader of the right-wing opposition, was sentenced in September 2015 to 13 years, nine months and seven days in jail, after he was convicted of inciting violence, vandalism, arson and conspiracy to commit a crime.

He served the sentence in a military prison in Ramo Verde, in west Miranda state.Violent anti-government demonstrations broke out in 2014 in Venezuela, which left 43 people dead and 800 injured, as well as caused huge damage to public institutions, according to the Venezuelan News Agency (AVN).

Venezuela's ombudsman Tarek William Saab welcomed the decision to grant Lopez house arrest, as was recommended by the Truth Commission that was set up to investigate the deadly protests.

"It (the decision) is a very clear sign that the democratic institutions of the Venezuelan state are working," Saab said.

Communication Minister Ernesto Villegas called on supporters of the socialist government "to abide by the TSJ's decision, whether we like it or not," especially as the court has often come under fire from the right for allegedly showing bias towards the government.

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said the measure was a "result of national dialogue and President Nicolas Maduro's sustained efforts to maintain peace."

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The chart above shows the amazing deflation that has taken place in the US for durable goods (vehicles and parts, household furnishing, furniture, household appliances, household utensils, tools and equipment for the house and garden, sporting goods, video/audio/photographic equipment, computers, etc.) over the last several decades. Compared to 1995, durable goods have fallen in price by 35% (measured by the Personal Consumption Expenditures implicit price deflator for durable goods), while services have increased by 75% and nondurable goods have increased by 46%.  Overall, the implicit price deflator for all Personal Consumption Expenditures has increased by 48%.

How to explain the dramatic 35% price decline since 1995 for durable goods? Here’s one very important reason: China. Scott Grannis explains in his recent post “Durable goods deflation is wonderful” (featuring a chart similar to the one above, emphasis added below):

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the emergence of China as a major exporter of durable goods (e.g., TVs, computers, cameras) coincided with the beginning of a sustained decline in the prices of durable goods. If there’s been an identifiable source of deflation in the US economy, it’s not been the Fed, but the vast increase in the productivity of the Chinese economy, and the vast increase in the volume of imported Chinese goods to the US economy. Thanks to the industrialization of China, the world has been able to produce manufactured goods much more cheaply than ever before.

This has been a boon to just about everyone in the US economy, and the chart above is also proof of that. Consider that the price of “services” is largely driven by wages, and service sector workers are about 86% of total payrolls. What the chart shows is that the earnings of the great majority of US workers have increased 2.7 times more than the price of durable goods. In other words, an hour’s worth of work for the typical American today buys 2.7 times more in the way of durable goods than it did in 1995. When it comes to durable goods, the average American’s purchasing power has nearly tripled over the past 22 years, thanks largely to China.

And China’s total contribution to lower prices in the US isn’t completely captured by the 35% deflation in durable goods because that doesn’t include clothing and footwear (those are classified as nondurable goods), which have also fallen in price over the last twenty years along with durable goods. As the table below of the top US imports from China indicates, Americans purchase a lot of clothing and footwear from China (about $47 billion worth last year), and those consumer items represent three of the top 13 import categories from China (data here). The other 10 items below are durable goods, and would be good examples of the types of goods that have gotten cheaper for Americans since the 1990s due to the emergence of China as a manufacturing superpower.

Bottom Line: We hear a lot about how China “steals” America’s production, jobs, and wealth. According to President Trump, “the money and the jobs China has taken from us is the greatest single theft in the history of the United States.” Here’s another way to look at it: The billions of dollars Americans have saved from buying low-cost products made in China since 1995, and the US jobs that have been created by the additional spending from those savings is one of the biggest transfers of wealth (or “theft” in Trump-speak) in the history of the United States. Instead of continually criticizing our largest trading partner, maybe we should show a little more appreciation to the country that has probably done more to raise America’s standard of living by providing us low-cost durable goods, clothing, and footwear than any country in the history of the United States.

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