Business / Economy

AIIB ushers in "golden decade" for China, Britain

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-10-19 10:06

BEIJING - At the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II, President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to Britain from Oct 19 to Oct 23, the first such visit by a Chinese president in a decade.

The visit will raise bilateral ties to a whole new level and usher in a new "golden decade," strengthened by Britain's active involvement in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a China-advocated multilateral development institution tasked with financing infrastructure construction in Asia.

British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, during his China visit last month, promised that Britain will work with China to make AIIB a professional, responsible, transparent and effective financing platform.

"We want a golden relationship with China that will help foster a golden decade for this country. It is an opportunity that the UK can't afford to miss," according to an opinion piece by Osborne and Jim O'Neill, commercial secretary to the Treasury, in The Guardian. "Simply put, we want to make the UK China's best partner in the West."

Britain announced its intention to join the AIIB in mid-March. It was the bank's first Western founding member.

"Britain's positive attitude toward the AIIB was an exemplary move for opening a new chapter of golden relationship between the two countries," said Feng Zhongping, deputy head of China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

Britain led the way for other Western countries to join the AIIB. The institution can gain invaluable experience from Britain's expertise in the financial sector, Feng said.

As an international financial hub, Britain has a lot to share with China. Meanwhile, the City of London has sought to become a key Western hub for Chinese-yuan trade since 2012, offering the country an additional edge in AIIB participation.

Cui Hongjian, head of the European division under the China Institute of International Studies, concurred with Feng, "cooperation in the AIIB will help raise mutual trust."

The two countries can build on AIIB cooperation to seek closer relations in all aspects.

China and Britain entered into a "comprehensive strategic partnership" in 2004. In the past decade, huge improvements have been made in political, economic and people-to-people exchanges.

To enhance political trust, the two countries completed mechanisms for bilateral exchange, including the annual meeting between the Chinese premier and British prime minister; high-level cultural exchange mechanism; and the China-Britain strategic dialogue.

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