China / by Alistair Galloway

An announcement on 29 October revealed a change in China’s one-child policy, with couples now permitted to have two children. China’s 13th Five Year Plan will focus on a greener approach to energy consumption and pollution as well as plans to improve and develop the service industry. President Xi Jinping made his first state visit to the United Kingdom, where he agreed to the terms of a cyber-security pact and discussed foreign policy issues with British Prime Minister David Cameron. On 7 October, four satellites were launched by Chang Guang Satellite Technology Co. Ltd. Agreements were reached between Thailand and China, confirming the desire for a new rail link between Nong Khai and Bangkok, which will pass through southern China. A residential building under construction in Henan Province collapsed, leading to questions over Chinese building safety regulations. Tensions continued to rise in the South China Sea when a United States naval destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of the disputed Spratly Islands. In addition, the Permanent Court of Arbitration declared that it had jurisdiction to hear the Philippines’ dispute against Chinese sovereignty claims in the South China Sea. At the Sixth Xiangshan Forum, a defence official discussed China's commitment to combatting piracy and conducting joint search and rescue missions with neighbours in the South China Sea. A surplus of corn will result in a reduced rate of production in 2016. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange revealed an increased deficit in Chinese foreign service trade. It was revealed that China is the world’s leading online trader, with the number of people utilising e-commerce rising above 360 million. Economists suggested that the target economic growth of 6.5 per cent is becoming more attainable as China enters what the International Monetary Fund called a transitory period of growth. On 21 October, it was revealed that United Kingdom-based EDF Energy had reached a deal with China General Nuclear Corporation, who will contribute one third of the £18 billion GBP required to develop the Hinkley Nuclear Power Plant in Somerset, England.