Anthony Kuhn

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After three rounds of tariffs and counter-tariffs, both actual and proposed, the U.S. and China appear deadlocked, with the possibility of a trade war still looming. China remains defiant in the face of U.S. threats, while the U.S. appears indifferent following China's pledges to open its markets.

"China will not enter into any negotiations while under threats from the U.S.," Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng told journalists last Thursday. He added that the U.S. has not shown any sincerity about holding talks.

China, the world's second-largest economy, grew at 6.8 percent in the first three months of 2018, thanks to strong consumer demand, robust exports and investment in the country's real estate market.

It was the third-straight quarter for 6.8 percent growth year-on-year and fueled in part by a widening trade gap with the U.S.

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This morning, China is vowing to fight the United States to the finish if the Trump administration continues to escalate what is becoming increasingly like a trade war.

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So a mysterious foreign visit really is not that mysterious anymore.

NOEL KING, HOST:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un paid an unannounced visit to neighboring China, signaling a potential thaw in seven years of tensions between the longtime allies over the North's nuclear weapons program. The visit is Kim's first trip to another country since taking power in 2011, and it follows North Korea's recent agreement to hold talks with the leaders of South Korea and the United States.

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It took just about two weeks from the public announcement to Sunday's legislative vote that erased presidential term limits from the constitution, potentially allowing Xi Jinping to rule China indefinitely.

"After it was announced, the move sent tremors through the Communist Party's intelligentsia," observes Zhang Xixian, an expert on party politics at the Central Party School in Beijing. But thanks to heavy government censorship of media and the Internet, there was little visible debate or opposition to the move.

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After a two-hour flight from Manila, Philippines, the tailhook of the C-2 Greyhound cargo plane snagged a cable on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson and went from about 100 miles an hour to zero in a couple of seconds.

The Carl Vinson is the flagship of the first carrier strike group of the U.S. Navy's 3rd Fleet. It operates in tandem with the 7th Fleet, based in Yokosuka, Japan.

The Navy now has two fleets assigned to operate in the Western Pacific, as the United States shifts its priorities away from the Middle East to potential flashpoints in the Asia Pacific.

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China's ruling Communist Party has proposed scrapping constitutional term limits for the country's president, which would give President Xi Jinping the option to stay on after the end of his second term in 2022. Critics see the move as reversing decades of efforts to create rules in China for the orderly exercise and transfer of political power.

In the hall at the ambassador's residence, there's a black-and-white photograph on the wall of two smiling young men at the center of a group.

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Today marks the start of the Year of the Dog. The Lunar New Year is celebrated in China, Vietnam and many other countries and by ethnic Asian communities all around the world. NPR's Anthony Kuhn has this story from the Chinese capital, Beijing.

China's official People's Daily newspaper reported in December that Chinese scientists had lowered acoustic sensors into the Mariana Trench, at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

China's President Xi Jinping finished 2017 vowing to boost China's role on the world stage.

The streets and alleys of Jiugong Township on Beijing's southern fringes are strewn with rubble from demolished buildings and piles of abandoned clothes and household items.

Authorities have given residents of this migrant laborer enclave just days to clear out before they shut off all electricity and water this week.

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Sitting on a small stool in the lobby of Chinese electronics firm LeEco's Beijing headquarters, contractor Fu Hangxia remembers the company's glory days just a couple of years ago.

"They wanted to create a miracle," Fu says. "They did everything to the highest standards, and burned through a lot of money."

Fu's business boomed, as he produced the product launches and built stores for LeEco in China's southwest Sichuan and Chongqing regions.

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China is claiming a larger role for itself in world affairs. China's president, Xi Jinping, talked last month of making his country a powerful nation that could lead the world.

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President Trump wrapped up a visit to China today, and now we're going to take a look at what each country did or didn't get out of that visit. Trump lavished praise on Chinese President Xi Jinping and his country.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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As the sun went down Wednesday on the vermilion walls and yellow tile roofs of Beijing's Forbidden City, the first families of the U.S. and China took in a Peking opera performance in the palace where China's emperors lived for nearly six centuries.

It was the start of what China's ambassador to the U.S. calls a "state visit plus" — a highly choreographed blend of stagecraft and statecraft, designed to highlight the evolving chemistry between Presidents Trump and Xi Jinping.

Xi Jinping, China's most powerful leader in years, began a second five-year term Wednesday as leader of the ruling Communist Party. He appeared in public in a new leadership lineup — which notably lacked a clear successor, calling into question the stability of China's leadership transitions.

The unveiling of the country's seven most powerful men was the political climax of the year in China. It followed the 19th Communist Party Congress, which handed Xi his second term and enshrined his theories in the party charter.

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Chinese President Xi Jinping proclaimed the arrival of "a new era" in which a reinvigorated Communist Party will lead his nation to modernity, wealth and power as he opened the 19th national congress of China's ruling Communist Party on Wednesday.

The meeting is expected to give him a second five-year term.

Xi's speech, delivered in the cavernous Great Hall of the People overlooking Beijing's Tiananmen Square, lasted for 3 1/2 hours and traced the broad outlines of his vision and the party's policies.

Preparations for a major shakeup of China's Communist Party leadership are all but complete, ahead of a national congress that begins in Beijing on Wednesday. President Xi Jinping, the party boss, is expected to cement his already considerable power and embark on a second five-year term.

Last Saturday, in an auditorium bedecked with red flags and hammer-and-sickle emblems, the party's outgoing central committee members raised their hands in unison to approve the congress's final preparations.

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