BEIJING: Britain's new ambassador to China said Wednesday he expected to see a considerable acceleration of China-Britain relations in his four-year term.
Sebastian Wood, who takes up the post in succession to William Ehrman in January, made the comment when he met with reporters at the British embassy, after arriving in China less than a week ago.
Wood learned mandarin Chinese in the 1990s and later worked in the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group in the run-up to Hong Kong's return to China.
"Since I learned Chinese in the 1990s, I've watched our relations grow very steadily. I think the fundamentals of our relations are strong," said Wood.
According to Wood, since 2007, China has been UK's leading export market besides the United States and the European Union. Of the EU members, UK has invested the most in China.
The two countries saw growing number of students studying in each other country and bilateral scientific cooperation is also growing, said Wood.
UK-China relationship has the potential to grow faster, Wood said. The two countries can work more together on shared challenges such as curbing trade protectionism, coping with climate change, and development of low-carbon economy.
The ambassador also has great expectation of the World Expo to be held in Shanghai in May, calling it a timely opportunity to highlight the quality of British economy and ability to innovate, and said he himself will go there "more than once".
Wood has planned a tour of "8 cities in 88 days", which he said will give him a chance to feel China's urban development and help him better understand China's economic and social transformation.
Apart from Shanghai, Chongqing and Guangzhou, where the UK has established Consulates, he will also visit Hong Kong and other key cities which are important in China's development and opening-up.