Home / World / China-UK

Visit to Britain provides lasting ties for China

By Wang Mingjie and Li Wensha in London | | Updated: 2017-10-17 11:00

Xi's stops at a pub, soccer club made him a man of the people

President Xi Jinping's historic state visit to the United Kingdom in October 2015 has been hailed by British and Chinese officials as the start of a "Golden Era" of relations.

It was the first official visit by a Chinese head of state for a decade. In five days, Xi attended more than 30 events, varying from traditional royal pageantry to modern creative display.

Memorable highlights, which grabbed the headlines both in China and abroad, included a carriage ride to Buckingham Palace with Queen Elizabeth II, a visit to a country pub in the company of then-prime minister David Cameron and a selfie photo with Manchester City soccer player Sergio Aguero.

"President Xi's state visit heralded a new era for China-UK relations," Liu Xiaoming, China's ambassador to the UK, told China Daily ahead of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

"China-UK strategic mutual trust was strengthened. Our shared determination on closer cooperation was firm. The foundation for our bilateral relations was consolidated."

A Financial Times editorial saw the visit as marking "a fundamental recalibration in the UK's great power relations."

Jim O'Neill, then commercial secretary to the Treasury, who accompanied Xi on various engagements during his visit, said it "happened at a time when China is more focused on the quality of growth than just the amount of growth, which is almost ideal for what the UK excels in".

"It was an extraordinary potential benefit for the UK, relative to other countries," O'Neill added.

The UK has now become a top destination for Chinese investment. So far, $18 billion of Chinese nonfinancial investment has made its way into a wide range of sectors in the UK. The Hinkley Point C project, a deal inked during Xi's visit, becomes the first-ever China-backed nuclear power plant constructed in a developed economy and is progressing well in southwestern England. And the country pub in rural Buckinghamshire has witnessed busloads of Chinese tourists.

Xi and Prime Minister Theresa May, who took office after the Brexit referendum in June 2016, reaffirmed the shared commitment to building the China-UK "Golden Era" over the past year. They have maintained close personal contact, exchanging letters on many issues and holding two meetings and one telephone talk.

It is "a strong reassurance for the continued, healthy growth of our bilateral relationship and our ever deepening cooperation across the board," Liu said.

Previous 1 2 3 4 Next

Most Viewed in 24 Hours
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349