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Liu Yandong heralds bilateral cooperation in education and research

By Du Xiaoying in Edinburgh | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-12-05 22:11

Vice-Premier Liu Yandong receives an honorary doctorate from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland on Tuesday. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]

Visiting Chinese Vice-Premier Liu Yandong received an honorary doctorate from the University of Edinburgh on Tuesday during the second day of her four-day official visit to the United Kingdom.

Speaking at the ceremony during which she accepted the honor, which was made in recognition of her contribution to the deepening of Sino-UK ties in the "golden era", Liu stressed that "China has entered a new era, and China-UK relations have entered a golden age".

She said universities now play an important role in the future of China and UK cooperation.

"We hope that universities in both countries can be engaged in more practical cooperation and cultivate more talents with global vision and open minds, so they can keep generating more strategic and innovative products in order to contribute more to China-UK relations, and together solve many global challenges that we face today," said Liu.

The University of Edinburgh has a long tradition of welcoming students from China and the first Chinese students ever to graduate from a European university studied at the university. Timothy O'Shea, principal of the University of Edinburgh, said it also has a proud tradition of promoting the teaching of the Chinese language and Chinese culture to students from all over the world.

"This visit by Vice-Premier Madame Liu Yandong to Scotland and the university is another manifestation of our longstanding partnership and common aspiration in promoting global education and nurturing new generations of global citizens," he said.

Jonathan Seckl, vice-principal of the university, said: "It is a great honor and privilege to present Madame Liu Yandong with the doctorate of the university. In doing so, we recognize her leading role in promoting and nurturing our teaching and research capacity in Chinese language and culture, as well as the university's profile and reputation in China."

He said the university acknowledges Liu's immense contribution to promoting the understanding of China and its culture globally, and promoting friendship and understanding between nations.

The university is also home to a Confucius Institute, which was established 10 years ago to promote the teaching of Chinese language and culture.

The university has 2,839 students from the Chinese mainland, its largest group of international students.

Liu also chaired Shaping Cultural Landscapes on Tuesday, which is a mechanism aimed at intensifying cooperation and exploring complementary strengths between Chinese and British creative industries, including art, film, TV production, and creative art incubators.

During her visit, Liu will co-chair the fifth-annual UK-China High-Level People-to-People Dialogue — the highest level Sino-UK dialogue to be held in the UK this year. Jeremy Hunt, Britain's secretary of state for health, will also co-chair the event.

And Liu is also scheduled to meet with a number of senior figures, including Prime Minister Theresa May, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, and Princess Anne and Prince Andrew at Buckingham Palace.

"The UK-China relationship is strong and continues to deliver benefits for both countries, so I am delighted to welcome Madame Liu to the UK for the People-to-People Dialogue," Johnson upon her arrival in the UK.

Hunt said: "I am delighted to once again co-chair the People-to-People Dialogue, which will reaffirm the strong ties between the UK and China and underline our commitment to working together to solve some of the biggest issues facing the world today."

Liu is also set to witness the launch of the UK-China Joint Science and Innovation Strategy, and join a roundtable of young leaders, including young parliamentarians.

The meeting, which is also known as the P2P Dialogue, will cover 10 policy strands. The subjects that will be talked about are: health, education, culture and creative industries, science and innovation, tourism, sport, issues affecting young people, regional cooperation, issues impacting women, and social equity.

This year's P2P theme is the "Spirit of Youth", which connects to a UK government campaign that aims to inspire the next generation of leaders in China and the UK, and the promotion of deeper collaboration and exchange.

At the meetings, ministers are expected to agree upon a range of initiatives, including a new joint UK-China health agreement that will advance work to tackle a number of healthcare challenges. The initiatives will also advance collaboration on female leadership and empowerment, and strengthen existing collaboration between higher education institutions.

"I think the future for the UK-China relationship is very exciting and we've already established a 'golden era' in UK-China relations," said Barbara Woodward, the UK's ambassador to China ahead of Liu's visit. "I think we'll see a deepening and broadening of our overlapping interests with China, and opportunities for building a very bright future together."

Zhang Yangfei in London contributed to this story.

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