China envoy: Sino-UK ties have huge prospects

Updated: 2011-06-23 10:01
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LONDON - The China-UK relationship has huge opportunities for further development, according to Chinese Ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming.

In a joint interview with British-based Chinese media prior to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Britain, Liu said here Tuesday he believed China-UK ties were now blessed with four opportunities.

The first was an opportunity for growth, he said, noting that China was implementing its 12th Five-Year Plan while Britain had formulated a development strategy for the medium to long term.

Both the Chinese plan and the British strategy, he said, gave priority to economic restructuring and economic growth and were committed to promoting two-way trade and investment.

China and Britain shared similar ideas about development, and cooperation between the two nations had great prospects, given their complementary strengths, the ambassador said.

There was also an opportunity for a harmonious society, Liu said, citing China's vigorous efforts to improve both the people's livelihood and governance and Britain's endeavors with public service reform.

"It serves our best interests if we exchange ideas about governance issues on a regular basis," Liu said.

The two nations also had an opportunity for mutual understanding, the ambassador said, noting that China was Britain's largest source of overseas students while Britain was home to the largest number of Confucius Institutes and Classrooms in Europe.

"I am also delighted that two lovable giant pandas will soon be settling into Edinburgh Zoo. There are many indicators that increasing numbers of people in China and the UK are showing a keener interest in knowing more about each other," he said.

Noting that both Beijing and London were working to play a more active and constructive role in major global issues, such as reform of the international financial system and climate change, Liu said the two sides had an opportunity to improve international governance.

Commenting on Wen's June 25-27 Britain tour, Liu said the trip would allow the two sides to carry out in-depth discussions and gain greater understanding of each other's domestic and foreign policies, and thus give a strong boost to China-UK ties in all respects.

The two sides would map out plans for the growth of the China-UK relationship in the coming years, establish guidelines for closer cooperation in various fields, and sign a series of governmental agreements and commercial contracts in such fields as energy, transport and infrastructure, he added.

The two sides would also discuss ways to promote diverse forms of cultural exchanges, which were gathering momentum and were crucial to the future of bilateral relations, Liu said.

As China and Britain were both countries with important influence in the world, he said, and the two sides would exchange views on major international and regional issues of mutual interest during Wen's visit.

With an eye on the future, Liu said China and Britain needed to strengthen mutual respect despite the differences in their approaches to some issues caused by their different histories, cultures, development levels and political systems.

"We need to be open-minded... Only in this way can we solidify the comprehensive strategic partnership and ensure a smooth and sound relationship," he said.