Visa-free policy boosts flights by more than 20%, says CAAC

The visa-free policy introduced by the Chinese government has boosted passenger flights by more than 20 percent, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said on Friday.

In the second quarter, the number of scheduled passenger flights to Malaysia, Spain, Hungary, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Kazakhstan and other countries that have implemented visa-free policies increased by more than 20 percent, Xu Qing, an official from the CAAC said at a press conference on Friday. 

In addition, since the second quarter, Chinese and foreign airlines have launched or resumed passenger routes from China to six countries - Bahrain, Cuba, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Mexico, and Ireland - further broadening China's international route network, Xu added. 

Currently, 38 ports in 18 provincial-level regions throughout China offer visa-free transit policies for 72 or 144 hours to nationals from 54 different countries.

In the first six months of this year, China saw foreign arrivals increase to 14.64 million, according to the National Immigration Administration (NIA) on July 5.

The NIA said from January to June, the figure for visa-free entries by foreigners topped 8.54 million, accounting for 52 percent of the inbound trips and representing a year-on-year surge of 190.1 percent.

The CAAC said China's international air passenger transport market continues to recover, with flight numbers reaching roughly 80 percent of the level in 2019 for five consecutive months since February of this year. From July 1 to 7, Chinese and foreign airlines operated a total of 6,045 international passenger flights.

Currently, China operates flight services to a total of 72 overseas countries. The number of passenger flights from China to 30 countries including the UK and the United Arab Emirates has exceeded the 2019 level, and flights to seven countries including Egypt and Saudi Arabia have more than doubled the level in 2019.

The CAAC said the industry is expecting international travel to remain strong over the summer, and the most popular routes will continue to be concentrated in surrounding traditional tourism markets such as Japan, South Korea, and Southeast Asian countries.

Chinese firms, products shine at major global sports events

China on Saturday officially announced its 716-member delegation to the upcoming Paris Olympic Games. As more than 400 Chinese athletes, including 42 Olympic champions, are headed for Paris for the competitions, Chinese companies are churning out equipment and other products that will be used at the biggest sports event in the world.

The presence of Chinese products and brands at major international sports event has been expanding rapidly in recent years. Before the Paris Olympic Games, Chinese brands became a highlight at the Euro Cup 2024. Such a growing presence underscored the rising competitiveness of Chinese businesses, not just in manufacturing but in other fields as well, experts said.

At the Paris Games, which are scheduled to open on July 26, Chinese companies Alibaba Group and Mengniu Group, one of the leading dairy product manufacturers in China, will be among the top partners of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As a global leading Cloud Services Partner, Alibaba Cloud, the data intelligence backbone of the Alibaba Group, will provide world-class cloud infrastructure and services supporting the digitization of the Olympic operations to optimize, secure and enhance the experience for the athletes and fans from across the globe, according to the IOC.

With a joint partnership with Coca-Cola, Mengniu became the first Chinese fast-moving consumer goods company to become a top partner, the IOC's official website said.

In addition to Chinese firms' partnerships with the IOC, Chinese equipment and other products will be used at various venues and sports competitions at the Paris Games. TaiShan Sports, a leading sports equipment manufacturer, is among the main equipment suppliers of the Olympics. 

The company said that it has served five Olympic Games, three Youth Olympic Games, five Universiades, six Asian Games and more than 1,000 domestic and international sports events.

For the Paris Games, the company said it will provide equipment for wrestling, cycling, taekwondo, gymnastics, track and field, and other competitions, and it will provide pre-match training and indoor fitness equipment for the Chinese National Team training base, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

He Wenyi, a deputy director of the National Sports Industry Research Base at Peking University, said that the trend of Chinese firms' growing sponsorships at major international sports event is in line with the robust development of China's manufacturing industry, which continues to upgrade in all aspects.

"As China is a standard-setter in smart manufacturing, and made-in-China continues to become globalized, major sports events like the Olympics have become a big international stage for advanced Chinese companies to go global," He told the Global Times on Sunday.

China has been dominating the manufacturing industry for years, and its continuous upgrade toward smart manufacturing has further cemented the global leadership of made-in-China. More than just manufactured products, Chinese technologies and services, such as cloud and telecommunications, have become new bywords of Chinese manufacturing, experts said.

The growing visibility of Chinese companies at the Euro Cup 2024 made global headlines. According to media reports, among the tournament's 13 top-tier sponsors, five are Chinese companies, making China the largest source of sponsors for the event. The five Chinese companies are Hisense, a leading appliance and electronics manufacturer, Alipay, a payment services under Alibaba, Vivo, a smartphone maker, AliExpress and BYD, an electric vehicle maker. 

Vivo told the Global Times on Sunday that the company showcased its commitment to digital inclusivity by providing X100 series smartphones to visually impaired and elder fans, aiming to enhance their experience and promote social equity.

"Vivo captures legendary moments with exceptional imaging technology and enhances the event experience, showcasing the beauty of sports and the joy of humanity on the international stage by Chinese-made video equipment," the company said. "Vivo is committed to technology that serves people and to sustainable innovation, empowering greater products and sharing the beauty of technology with consumers worldwide."

The presence of the Chinese sponsors at the Euro Cup highlighted Chinese companies' competitiveness in not just manufacturing but also technologies. Hisense, for example, said that in addition to brand promotion at the Euro Cup, it also became a technological cooperation partner for the championship in terms of video assistant referees.

Bian Yongzu, a senior industry researcher, said that Chinese home appliance manufacturers have long been top sponsors of major international sports events, but recently more and more Chinese companies in other fields have become major sponsors, indicating the comprehensive rise of various Chinese industries.

"It shows that in addition to traditional industries, Chinese companies in various industries are also on the fast track of internationalization through active efforts to open up to the outside world," Bian told the Global Times on Sunday.  

Chinese cities call for energy-saving measures to cope with spike in electricity usage

To cope with the peak electricity consumption in summer, many regions in China have urged government agencies, businesses, and residents to join in efforts to conserve energy, such as reducing decorative lighting, suspending unnecessary light shows, and promoting the use of energy-efficient appliances.

We call for a united effort from all sectors of society to actively promote green and low-carbon production and lifestyle practices. Let’s work together in practicing off-peak power consumption and conserving energy, read a recent proposal released by the authorities in East China’s Jiangxi Province.

It is important to prioritize public safety during nighttime travel by ensuring that street lights all work efficiently and promoting the use of renewable energy-efficient lights. Unnecessary lighting displays, landscape projects, and commercial signs are encouraged to be suspended to conserve electricity, according to the proposal.

Meanwhile, industrial enterprises should scientifically and reasonably arrange production schedules, avoiding peak production through planned maintenance and shift adjustments, achieve energy saving and cost reduction, and alleviate power supply pressure during peak hours, said the authorities.

In regions of Southwest China’s Chongqing, from 12 am to 8 am the next day, electronic display advertisements should be turned off, while other types of outdoor advertising facilities should be turned off or kept at minimal brightness, according to local officials.

Public institutions must lead in energy conservation efforts by setting cooling temperatures no lower than 26 C. Residents are encouraged to choose off-peak time consumption, with lower rates for nighttime usage and slightly higher rates for other times, according to the authorities in East China’s Anhui Province.

Total electricity consumption across China increased by 6.7 percent year-on-year in 2023. The growth rate of electricity consumption in 2024 is forecast to be close to that of 2023, with new installations of renewable energy are expected to continue to increase at a rapid pace, according to the report of China’s electric power industry 2024 released by the China Electricity Council on July 10.

National electricity supply and demand are generally balanced, with peak consumption expected during summer and winter. Some regions may experience tight supply, leading to demand-side management measures being implemented at certain times, according to the report.

China's deep-sea heavy-duty mining vehicle reaches record depth in sea trials

China's deep-sea heavy-duty mining vehicle has completed sea trials at depths exceeding 4,000 meters, the Shanghai municipal government announced on Tuesday. The vehicle's explorations set six records in the field of deep-sea mining in China, with technological performance reaching the leading domestic and advanced international levels.

In the deep-sea experiment, the vehicle, "Kaituo 2" successfully completed five consecutive dives in the seabed polymetallic nodule and cobalt-rich crust mining area, including one dive to a depth of 4,000 meters and four dives to a depth of 2,000 meters.

The mining vehicle reached depths of 1,802.4 meters, 1,929.9 meters, 1,955.8 meters, 2,048.5 meters, and 4,102.8 meters respectively, marking the first time that domestic deep-sea heavy-duty mining vehicle has conducted deep-sea mineral resource trial mining at a depth of 4,000 meters.

The vehicle also demonstrated powerful underwater rock drilling and collection capabilities during its dives. It has efficiently extracted various types of deep-sea minerals, including multi-metal crusts tightly attached to hard rocks and multi-metal nodules buried in soft deep-sea sediments. Over 200 kilograms of multi-metal crusts, multi-metal nodules, and seabed rocks were successfully obtained.

According to the research team from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the vehicle has achieved six breakthroughs in similar research in China. For example, for the first time, it has achieved a water depth breakthrough of over 4,000 meters for deep-sea heavy-duty mining vehicle deployment operations. It pioneered high-mobility technology for complex deep-sea seabed terrain, and it also pioneered deep-sea multi-mineral composite drilling and mining technology, achieving efficient mining and collection of different types of ores such as polymetallic crusts and polymetallic nodules.

The mining vehicle is also equipped with an environmental monitoring system, which comprehensively monitors and evaluates the environmental impact of seabed plume generation and diffusion, underwater operation noise, etc., providing valuable first-hand materials and data for China's deep-sea mineral resource exploration and green environmental protection mining.

China-Solomon ties 'model of mutual support'

In the five years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the relationship between China and Solomon Islands has positioned at the forefront of China's ties with Pacific Island Countries (PICs), becoming a model of mutual support and joint development between countries of different sizes, Chinese Ambassador to Solomon Islands Cai Weiming recently told the Global Times ahead of a visit to Beijing by Solomon Islands' prime minister.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Jeremiah Manele is paying an official visit to China from July 9 to 15. 

In addition to Beijing, Manele will also visit East China's Fujian and Shandong provinces. Both provinces are economically strong coastal provinces and have played significant roles in cooperation with PICs.

"In September 2019, China and Solomon Islands established diplomatic relations, opening a new chapter of solidarity, cooperation and joint development," Cai said. "Under the strategic guidance of the leaders of the two countries, political mutual trust has been solidified, the results of mutually beneficial cooperation have been fruitful, and cultural exchanges have been vibrant. This has positioned our relationship at the forefront of China's ties with PICs, becoming a model of mutual support and joint development between countries of different sizes."

"Solomon Islands has firmly stood on the right side of history, adhering to the one-China principle and firmly supporting China's just stance on issues related to Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Xizang, and human rights," Cai noted.

The two countries have maintained close exchanges at all levels, continuously upgrading their relationships and establishing a comprehensive strategic partnership for a new era, he said. 

According to Cai, over the past five years, China has remained Solomon Islands' largest trading partner and top export destination, with affordable and high-quality Chinese goods enriching the lives of Solomon Islands' residents.

Chinese aid has improved local living standards. For instance, Chinese-aid national sports stadiums and Solomon Islands National University dormitories have been constructed one after another, becoming new landmarks in Honiara. 

The National Referral Hospital Comprehensive Medical Center and the National Broadband Network construction projects are progressing steadily and will significantly improve healthcare and communication conditions in Solomon Islands once completed. China has carried out hundreds of small livelihood projects in Solomon Islands, improving local living conditions.

In terms of security cooperation, China Police Liaison Team have been dispatched to Solomon Islands, providing substantial professional equipment and skills training to local police, contributing positively to local stability.

Additionally, China has provided hundreds of opportunities for Solomon Islands people to study and train in China, helping many ambitious young people pursue their dreams and fostering a large number of talents for Solomon Islands' economic and social development.

China has sent medical teams to Solomon Islands and organized the Peace Ark hospital ship visit, treating over 30,000 patients in Solomon Islands, alleviating the suffering of the people with benevolence and medical skills. 

Fruitful local exchanges between the two countries have also taken place, with Guadalcanal Province, Malaita Province, Western Province, Isabel Province, Renbel Province and Honiara City steadily advancing friendly cooperation with Chinese provinces and cities, bringing more support to the people of Solomon Islands.

In April this year, Solomon Islands held a general election, attracting international attention. The O.U.R. Party won most seats, and former foreign minister Manele was elected as the Prime Minister. 

"The new Solomon Islands government has just been formed, and Prime Minister Manele is visiting China shortly after taking office. During his visit, the leaders of the two countries will exchange views on China-Solomon relations and important issues of common concern," Cai stated. 

"China stands ready to work with the new government of Solomon Islands, making Prime Minister Manele's visit as an opportunity to strengthen strategic communication, expand practical cooperation, and promote the continuous development of bilateral relations. I believe both sides should continue to consolidate the foundation of political mutual trust and continue on the path of mutual understanding, mutual trust, mutual support and mutual assistance," he said.

He quoted Manele's remarks in a media interview, stating that the establishment of diplomatic relations with China in 2019 was standing on the right side of history, and it was the most important decision made in the 46 years of Solomon Islands' independence. 

"I am fully confident that China and Solomon Islands, standing at this new historical starting point, will jointly write new stories of friendship, plan new cooperation blueprints, and jointly open up a better future for the people of both countries," Cai said.

China calls on parties involved in Ukraine conflict to exercise rationality and restraint: Chinese envoy to UN

China reiterated its call for all parties involved in the Ukraine conflict to exercise rationality and restraint, effectively comply with international humanitarian law, and avoid attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, Geng Shuang, China's deputy permanent representative to the UN, said on Tuesday.

Since the crisis in Ukraine escalated in February 2022, the ongoing conflict has led to a large number of casualties among innocent civilians and destruction of infrastructures, triggering a dire humanitarian crisis and generating a huge spillover effect, which is a source of deep concern for China, Geng said at the UN Security Council briefing on Ukraine, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

China remains deeply concerned that the war has not ceased, but rather intensified, and that vicious attacks have occurred from time to time, resulting in serious casualties, Geng added.

There are no winners in conflict and confrontation, and military means cannot bring lasting peace. Geng stressed that an early ceasefire and political settlement is in the interests of all parties, and the priority is to cool down the situation by observing the "three principles" of no expansion of the battlefield, no escalation of fighting and no fanning of the flame by any party.

On the Ukraine issue, China has always maintained that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected, the purposes and principles of the UN Charter should be adhered to, the legitimate security concerns of all countries should be taken seriously, and all efforts conducive to the peaceful resolution of the crisis should be supported.

China calls on the parties to the conflict to demonstrate political will, meet each other halfway and start peace talks at an early date. Geng also urged the international community, based on an objective and impartial position, to create conditions conducive to putting an early end to the fighting and play an active role in this regard.

China will continue to actively promote peace and dialogue in its own way, and will make unremitting efforts and play a constructive role in promoting a political settlement of the Ukrainian issue, Geng said.

Russia on Tuesday rejected claims of the country's alleged attacks on a children's hospital in Kiev, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Peskov said Russian strikes are carried out against critical infrastructure and military targets related to Ukraine's military potential.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said Tuesday that "many eyewitnesses and other sources" have confirmed that the hospital had been hit by a Western-made surface-to-air missile from the Ukrainian air defense system that went off course.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday on Telegram that the Okhmatdyt children's hospital in Kiev was hit by a Russian missile on Monday, adding that the strikes had killed 38 people and injured 190, according to preliminary reports.

China vows ‘all necessary measures’ against additional US tariffs

China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) on Tuesday urged the US to immediately cancel the additional tariffs on Chinese products and vowed to take resolute measures to defend its rights over US' announcement to increase tariffs on Chinese products including electric vehicles (EVs)

The plan to impose additional tariffs will mark another significant escalation in Washington's multi-year, ill-conceived campaign to crack down on emerging Chinese industries that are gaining global prominence, experts said, noting that the politically motivated move won't stop the rise of relevant Chinese industries, due to their small presence in the US market.

The Biden administration announced new tariff rates Tuesday on several Chinese products, including a major hike in levies on Chinese EVs. 

Starting this year, President Joe Biden will quadruple tariffs on imported Chinese electric vehicles, from 25 percent to 100 percent. The tariff rate on lithium-ion EV batteries will more than triple to 25 percent.

The announcement also added new tariffs on solar equipment and semiconductors.

The import tax on Chinese solar cells will double, from 25 percent to 50 percent in 2024. Starting in 2025, tariffs on imported Chinese semiconductors will jump from 25 percent to 50 percent.

Chinese medical supplies such as syringes and needles will also face additional tariffs of 50 percent.

The MOFCOM slammed the US move, saying that it is a politicization and weaponization of trade issues and a typical case of political manipulation that will seriously impact the atmosphere for bilateral cooperation.

The US decision to increase the tariffs goes against President Biden's commitment of not seeking to suppress China's development, and not seeking to decouple with China. It is also not in line with the spirit of consensus reached between the two heads of state, the MOFCOM said.

China's Foreign Ministry vowed earlier on Tuesday to take "all necessary measures" to safeguard the nation's legitimate rights and interests.

The move is part of the Biden administration's plan to revise the Trump era tariffs, known as "Section 301 tariffs," so as to target China's strategic industries. The Chinese EV industry, which has been rising rapidly to global prominence, has become a top target for the US crackdown, experts said.

"The development of China's new energy industry, including new-energy vehicles, photovoltaic and lithium battery products, is causing increasing anxiety for the US, so now they are suppressing our emerging industries," Wei Fulei, a research fellow with China Development Institute, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The new plan comes after US officials have in recent weeks been hyping accusations of "overcapacity" in Chinese new-energy industries, which they say poses risks to US industries and jobs. Chinese officials have repeatedly slammed such accusations as an attempt to create a pretext for Washington to take protectionist, bullying actions against China's emerging industries. 

Commenting on the US tariff plan at a press briefing on Tuesday, Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said that China has always opposed violating WTO rules and unilaterally imposing tariffs. "China will take all necessary measures to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests," Wang said.

Wang also slammed US officials' "overcapacity" claims, saying that the US is engaging in protectionism, trampling on market economy principles and international economic and trade rules, and engaging in blatant bullying, and Wang warned the US against repeating the mistake of protectionism.

Countermeasures 

Chinese auto association on Monday blasts US plan to impose higher tariffs on Chinese EVs, calling it typical protectionism.

China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) on Monday slammed the US' imposing higher import tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles, saying the industry's development needs global cooperation.

Experts said that any bullying actions by the US will be countered.

"China will firmly oppose such moves, because this is absurd and extraordinarily unreasonable," He Weiwen, a senior fellow from the Center for China and Globalization, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

He noted that China has different options to counter Washington's moves that won't necessarily involve US cars, but other areas. "How China responds specifically depends on what would be the most favorable opportunity and the most beneficial option for us." 

As China responded firmly to previous US bullying acts, including punitive tariffs, some US officials expect a firm response from China on the new tariffs. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said this week that the US could see a "significant" response from China, according to Reuters. 

Chinese officials and experts slammed the US move as politically motived amid toxic politics during an election cycle, since the US administration's accusation that relevant Chinese products pose threats to the US is baseless, given their minimal presence in the US market. Also for the same reason, additional US tariffs will not stop the rise of relevant Chinese industries, they said. 

"[The US move] will not have a major impact on relevant Chinese industries, because China exports a very small number of EVs to the US," He said, adding that the US plan is not based on economic considerations, but political optics that aim to show a tough stance on China. 

China exports very few EVs to the US, with Geely being the only Chinese EV maker that exported to the US in the first quarter, according to industry data. In terms of solar cells, exports to the US only accounted for less than 0.1 percent of China's total exports in 2023, according to media reports.

In terms of the solar industry, over the years, the export of solar panels from China to the US has significantly decreased due to US' protectionism, Wei said.

Moreover, the move could also backfire on the US, as it will not help build its domestic capacity, experts said.

"It seems that US politicians woke up from a hangover after decades of consumerism, during which they cared for consumption and not production. Now, they want to rebuild their manufacturing capacity, but the horse has already bolted. The solution would be exactly the opposite of what they are doing, that is, they should rebuild their capacity with the help of - and not against - Chinese industrial power," Claudio Celani, economic editor of news magazine Executive Intelligence Review, told the Global Times. 

Zhang Xiang, Director of the Digital Automotive International Cooperation Research Center of the World Digital Economy Forum, told the Global Times that as China has already taken the lead in the new-energy sector, with the largest industry chain globally, any attempt by the US to boycott Chinese products and components would also result in losses for the US.

"The automotive industry is now highly internationalized and interconnected, and it is not feasible for any country to produce vehicles in isolation," Zhang said.

Collective actions in Africa driving development, overcoming challenges

The rise of the Global South is being boosted as developing countries, African countries in particular, awaken to a sense of autonomy. They are actively putting forward their own proposals and solutions for global governance.

The recent Africa Pulse report by the World Bank projected that economic activity is set to rebound in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, the recovery remains fragile. Africa still needs to overcome significant challenges.

Compared with last year, the inflation rate of most African economies has decreased, averaging from 7.1 to 5.1 percent, but it is still higher than the level before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the global context of post-COVID recovery, Africa is facing three main challenges. If these problems can be solved, Africa will secure better development.

First, regional conflict and unrest are major obstacles to economic recovery in Africa. The World Bank report warned that increased conflict and violence in the region will continue to weigh on economic activity. The regional political unrest has led to the spread of extremism and violence. Foreign investment in Africa is increasingly taking into account the local security situation, leading to a lack of momentum in the economic recovery and growth in Africa.

Second, major-power rivalry is a factor that disrupts the development process for Africa. The African continent is home to many underdeveloped countries and is a key region for the United Nations' "2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development." However, in a multipolar world, countries like the US and Japan are engaging in competition with emerging market countries, making it difficult for African countries to avoid the dilemma of "taking sides." As a result, Africa's development process is being hindered by major-power rivalry.

The US has repeatedly threatened to cut off aid to African countries for engaging in trade with Russia. The rise in youth unemployment in Africa has fueled discontent with pro-Western governments on the continent. The shadow of a "new cold war" has loomed over the African continent, making the development agenda difficult to advance.

By 2023, progress had been made in over half of African countries toward climate action goals and responsible consumption and production goals. However, the other 15 of the 17 UN sustainable development goals are facing various challenges, with 10 of them not being achieved in any African country. African countries are also facing challenges in achieving the zero hunger goal.

Third, the burden of debt is a chronic problem that restricts economic growth in Africa. After the 2008 international financial crisis, and the decline in prices of international commodities such as oil, metals, and agricultural products, the debt risks faced by African countries increased again. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem. At the same time, the increase in debt obligations has directly caused liquidity problems, squeezing out development expenditure, and making it more difficult and costly to obtain external financing.

In recent years, South-South cooperation has injected momentum into development. With Ethiopia officially becoming a member of the BRICS mechanism, the collective cohesion of developing countries has been further strengthened, enabling them to address their development challenges through regularized mechanism cooperation and targeted solutions.

The African Continental Free Trade Area is moving in the right direction, with African countries collectively promoting liberalization and integration of trade within the region. The Belt and Road Initiative is helping to drive shared development benefits for many African countries, providing more development funds and diverse options for Africa's recovery and development. It is believed that African countries will be able to explore their own development models and paths through South-South cooperation, making greater contributions to global economic growth.

It is estimated that by 2050, the population of Africa will account for nearly a quarter of the world's population, making the development prospects of Africa crucial for the stability and sustainable development of the global economy. However, the current growth of the African economy is still slow and insufficient to provide a significant contribution to poverty reduction. The international community should pay more attention to development issues in Africa with a rational and objective attitude, and make continuous efforts for the lasting peace and common development of human society.

China's first direct air passenger route to Latin America starts services

The first direct passenger flight between China and Mexico landed in Mexico City on Saturday after a 16-hour journey, marking the official opening of China's first direct passenger route to Latin America without any stopover, China Southern Airlines said on Saturday.

The flight, which runs from Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, to Mexico City twice per week, covers more than 14,000 kilometers, the longest direct international route in China and also one of the 10 longest direct flights in the world, the airline said.

Previously, Chinese passengers flying from China to Mexico or other Latin American countries had to make one or two transfers or stopovers at other airports in North America, Europe or the Middle East, and the journey could take as long as 30 to 40 hours.

Mexico has a long history and rich tourism resources, and is one of the biggest outbound tourism destinations for Chinese citizens. The country is China's second-largest trading partner in Latin America.

The opening of this route facilitates personnel exchanges and builds a bridge for continued exchanges and deepened cooperation in the fields of tourism, the economy, culture and other fields, market watchers said.
China Southern Airlines attributes the demand for the route to rising China-Latin America economic, trade, development and personnel exchanges, which will further promote high-level opening-up.

Data from the General Administration of Customs of China showed that China-Latin America trade exceeded $489 billion in 2023, a year-on-year increase of 1.1 percent.

So far, 22 Latin American countries have signed cooperation agreements with China on the Belt and Road Initiative, deepening and strengthening cooperation in various fields, such as infrastructure construction, trade, investment, finance and tourism.

For example, a free trade agreement between China and Ecuador took effect on May 1, aiming to further unleash the potential of trade and investment cooperation.

The Shenzhen-Mexico City route is the third intercontinental route operated by China Southern Airlines from Shenzhen. The airline currently operates 13 international and regional routes, including three intercontinental routes from Shenzhen to Mexico City, Sydney and Moscow.

China Southern previously announced that it will launch a direct flight from Shenzhen to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on June 3.