David Cameron to lead £750m UK-China investment initiative

Former prime minister will take charge of £750m fund to improve transport links between China and its trading partners

David Cameron has taken a job leading a billion-dollar investment initiative agreed between the UK and China.

The former prime minister, who played a key role in efforts to boost trade links with Beijing while he was in Downing Street, will take charge of the £750m fund to improve roads, ports and rail networks between China and the countries it trades with.

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China’s debt levels pose stability risk, says IMF

Health check of financial system says reforms have not gone far enough and notes similarities to US before 2008 crisis

Fears that China risks being the cause of a fresh global financial crisis have been highlighted by the International Monetary Fund in a hard-hitting warning about the growing debt-dependency of the world’s second biggest economy.

The IMF’s health check of China’s financial system found that credit was high by international levels, that personal debt had increased in the past five years, and that the pressure to maintain the country’s rapid growth had bred an unwillingness to let struggling firms fail.

Related: IMF warns China over ‘dangerous’ growth in debt

Related: Adani coalmine project: China Construction Bank won’t grant loan, PR firm says

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Global economy needs more Chinese entrepreneurs

China is expected to step up its efforts in upcoming years to inject positive energy into global economic integration following the 19th National Congress of the CPC last month, said analysts at an economic forum on Tuesday in Beijing.

In Zimbabwe it’s hello China, goodbye Britain | Letters

Zimbabwe is one of many countries where China is acquiring an overseas empire of investment and influence, says Otto Inglis

One aspect of the coup d’etat in Zimbabwe (Chaos in Zimbabwe after Mugabe refuses to resign, 20 November) is highly significant for Britain and the wider world: it has been suggested that shortly before the coup the head of the army, General Constantino Chiwenga, visited China to obtain tacit Chinese government support for the move.

That is a stunning indication of the importance of China to Zimbabwe, especially to its elite, and of the complete eclipse of the influence of Britain as the former colonial power.

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How China made Victoria’s Secret a pawn in its ruthless global game | Paul Mason

The lingerie brand’s star model Gigi Hadid got into trouble over a gaffe that a more seasoned business traveller to China might have anticipated. So what hope for future forays into this repressive state?

As a movie plot, it would work better for Johnny English than James Bond: the lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret saw its launch in China mired in controversy when the People’s Republic refused to issue visas to invited celebrities and journalists. Katy Perry was barred for seemingly supporting the independence of Taiwan, while model Gigi Hadid transgressed by squinting in a way some Chinese people thought was racist, while posing with a fortune cookie that looked like Buddha. Add in China’s standard unpredictability when it comes to issuing press visas and you have loss of face all around.

A brief history

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Trump attacks countries ‘cheating’ America at Apec summit

US president’s tirade against predatory economic policies comes just hours after he heaped praise on China

Donald Trump has abruptly ended the diplomatic streak he displayed on his 12-day tour of Asia by launching a tirade against “violations, cheating or economic aggression” in the region, just hours after heaping lavish praise on China.

Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) conference in Da Nang, Vietnam, on Friday, the US president’s words had the tone of a fierce reprimand. The speech was clearly, sometimes explicitly, focused on China and other countries he blamed for predatory economic policies, accusing them of having “stripped” jobs, factories and industries out of the United States.

How serious are the allegations?

Related: The Guardian view on Trump in China: a bromance unlikely to run smooth | Editorial

Related: Chinese media hails success of Trump’s ‘pilgrimage ‘ to Beijing

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As Trump turns his back on the world, the stage is set for President Xi | Larry Elliott

The newly emboldened Chinese leader will exploit US isolationism, giving America its first serious challenge since the collapse of the Soviet Union

It was a symbolic moment. High in the Swiss Alps, before an audience of the super-rich gathered for their annual shindig in Davos, China’s Xi Jinping delivered a powerful defence of globalisation. Protectionism, he said, was like locking yourself in a dark room. “While wind and rain may be kept outside, that dark room will also block light and air.”

On that January day nine months ago, the target for Xi’s comments was more than 4,000 miles away on the other side of the Atlantic, preparing for his inauguration as president a couple of days later. The message was simple: if Donald Trump is going to turn his back on the world, China will fill the vacuum.

The US has its weaknesses too, and Trump’s tough guy act should fool nobody. It is unlikely to impress Xi

Related: The $900bn question: What is the Belt and Road initiative?

Related: We are obsessed with Brexit and Trump: we should be thinking about China | Martin Kettle

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The Guardian view on New Zealand’s new PM: managing an uncomfortable alliance | Editorial

If Jacinda Ardern looks familiar to Britons, she should – she once worked for Tony Blair. Now she must reconcile Labour beliefs with the demands of her disparate backers

Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s new prime minister, has brought Labour back to power after nearly a decade in the wilderness. She became party leader only seven weeks before last month’s general election, and instantly transformed the party’s prospects – only to have the lead she quickly established beaten back in the final days of the campaign by a brutal National party attack on her tax policies. In the end, Labour won 37% of the vote, National 44%, but it was Ms Ardern rather than the National leader Bill English who managed to construct a governing coalition that stretches from the populist New Zealand First party to the Greens, who, for the promise of a climate change commission and more money for the environment, are committed to a confidence-and-supply arrangement – supporting Labour budgets and backing it on confidence motions. Now she has been sworn in, the country’s youngest prime minister in 150 years and its third female leader since 1997.

Labour campaigned to reduce child poverty, build more affordable homes, make university free and every river swimmable: so far, so Labour. But she also committed to slow the rate of immigration from 50,000 to 30,000 a year and ensure that employers looked for New Zealand workers before they brought in migrants – even though employment rates are high, and unemployment low and forecast to stay that way. Her first move in power was equally populist: she announced plans to ban foreigners from buying existing homes: New Zealand real estate has become a priority item on the global super-rich’s shopping list, not only for buyers from China and the rest of Asia but for Americans looking for investments secure from the consequences of a Trump presidency – what the New Yorker called Doomsday prep. The discovery that the PayPal founder and Trump supporter Peter Thiel had been given New Zealand citizenship and then bought a £4.5m property on the ultra-desirable Lake Wanaka provoked a media storm, but although Auckland house prices have rocketed to an average price of over NZ$1m, it is not obvious that banning foreign buyers will do much to free up housing for New Zealanders at the affordable end of the market.

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