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PRC's anniversary celebrated in UK

By Yu Yilei and Lei Xiaoxun in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-09-11 08:49

China's top envoy to the United Kingdom has called for mutual respect, open cooperation, mutual learning and shouldering of responsibilities between both countries for the well-being of mankind.

Liu Xiaoming, China's ambassador to the UK, made the remarks at a reception in central London on Monday to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

The reception is among China's prime UK public diplomacy events this year, which saw dignitaries, key implementers, and movers and shakers of the burgeoning China-UK relationship at the landmark Guildhall.

Stressing that the Chinese people have created an economic miracle through hard work, the ambassador reflected on China's tremendous achievements over the past seven decades.

Ninety-eight percent of Fortune 500 companies have investments in China while 129 Chinese companies have made it to the 2019 Fortune 500 list, marking the biggest country group for the first time, bringing in participants such as Sherard Cowper-Coles, the chair-elect of China-Britain Business Council, which reaffirms that Sino-UK trade ties are on the right track.

"It (China-UK) is an indispensable economic relationship, indispensable for the UK because of our need to engage with an economy of the size and sophistication of China's, indispensable for China because China's best friend in the West is the United Kingdom," said Cowper-Coles, who emphasized that huge synergy lies in the Sino-UK partnership on the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.

"China has the political will and the economic will, Britain sometimes has the expertise... (they) can form win-win partnerships that are of mutual benefit," he said.

Ambassador Liu said China has gone through reforms and opening-up and changed from a secluded, backward and impoverished nation to a strong nation of prosperity and strength.

China's GDP increased by more than 450 times, from $30 billion in the early years of New China, to more than $13.6 trillion last year.

China is not only the world's second largest economy, but also the largest industrial country, the largest trader of goods, the biggest holder of foreign exchange reserves and the top producer of more than 200 products.

That is part of what Stephen Perry, chairman of the 48 Group Club, described as "incredible testimony "to the ability of the Communist Party of China and the Chinese people to realize these goals, to realize the transformation of China "from one of the most backward countries to one of the most advanced countries in the world in just 70 years".

The 48 Group Club is a British business association that started the UK's trade links with China, and is committed to promoting China-UK trade.

"There is a lot to be done," said Perry, while urging China and the UK to address some of the world's most pressing problems, such as "the excess debt in the world, the problems with climate control, populism and nationalism.

"It will take a lot of clever and effective work by the major nations to keep the world together and to keep it focused," he said.

China has lifted more than 700 million people out of poverty since the start of reforms and opening-up 40 years ago and it has built the world's largest network, with a basic pension insurance system covering more than 900 million people and a basic health insurance system covering 1.3 billion people, said the ambassador.

Most importantly, the average life expectancy in China has more than doubled from 35 to 77.

"The Chinese nation has been unwavering in its original aspirations, namely the pursuit of happiness for the people and rejuvenation of the nation. This is the force that has been driving generations of Chinese forward in defiance of all hardships," Liu said.

"No matter how strong China is, it will be committed to self-improvement but will not bully, firm in safeguarding its interests, but will never seek hegemony, and it will continue advocating exchanges, mutual learning between different civilizations, pursue peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation, and act in accordance with international law."

On behalf of the UK government, Richard Moore, director general for political affairs of UK Foreign Office, delivered British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's message of congratulations, in which the new leader said the Sino-UK relationship is "broad and deep, and this relationship will continue to be important as the UK prepares to leave the European Union. I want to be ambitious with greater trade and investment between our countries".

A photography exhibition titled Beautiful China: Man, Nature and Harmony, showcasing China's nationwide picturesque landscape, and The Development of Chinese Enterprises in the UK, a photo gallery on China's decades-long deepening business relationship with the UK, were also held on the occasion.

Ouyang Xueyan in London contributed to this story.

Contact the writers at leixiaoxun@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily Global 09/11/2019 page3)

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