Ambassador Liu
  Video & Audio
  Former Ambassadors
China-UK Relations
  Political Exchanges
  Economy & Trade
  Science & Tech
  Local Exchanges
Embassy Information
  Embassy Events
  Tour the Embassy
  Office Hours and Address
  Economic and Commercial Counsellor’s Office
  Education Section
Consulate-General in the UK

Chinese Embassy in UK WeChat

Chinese Embassy in UK
Home > Embassy News > 2010
Ambassador Liu Xiaoming on Prime Minister David Cameron's Visit to China and China-UK Relations

On November 3, 2010, on the eve of British Prime Minister David Cameron's visit to China, Chinese Ambassador Liu Xiaoming gave a joint interview to Chinese correspondents from five major media organisations, namely People's Daily, Xinhua News Agency, CCTV, China News Agency and China Daily, answering questions from journalists on Mr. Cameron's visit and China-UK relations.

Journalist: As Prime Minister Cameron will lead a large senior delegation to China, what is China's expectation of this visit?

Ambassador Liu: At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao, British Prime Minister David Cameron will pay an official visit to China on 9-10 November. He will lead the largest delegation to China in British history, which will consist of four cabinet secretaries of state namely Chancellor of the Exchequer, Secretary of State for Education, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and about 50 senior business leaders. During the visit, President Hu Jintao will meet with Prime Minister Cameron and Premier Wen Jiabao will hold talks with him. The Prime Minister will also attend the China-UK Business Summit together with Chinese leaders. Meanwhile, the two sides will also hold the Economic and Financial Dialogue, the Joint Economic and Trade Committee session, the Education Summit and the Energy Working Group Meeting.

This is Prime Minister Cameron's first visit to China since taking office in May. As a visit at such a crucial juncture, it will further enhance the political mutual trust between China and the UK, promote bilateral cooperation in various fields and is therefore of great significance for the long-term development of China-UK relations. China attaches great importance to this visit and is ready to work with the British side to ensure the success of the visit and inject new vigour into the development of China-UK relations. As the Prime Minister's visit comes just before the G20 Summit in Seoul, China is ready to strength communication and coordination with UK to jointly work for positive results of the Summit.

Journalist: After the general election in UK this May, the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrat Party formed a coalition government. What are the changes in the coalition government's policies towards China? How do you see the current China-UK relations?

Ambassador Liu: China-UK relations a major bilateral relationship between countries with great importance in today's world. The UK is one of the first Western countries to recognise the People's Republic of China. In 1972, the two countries established diplomatic relations at ambassadorial level. In 1997, after the handover of Hong Kong, China-UK relations entered a new stage of comprehensive development and were set on the path of equal exchange and mutually beneficial cooperation. After the establishment of its coalition government this May, UK continues to pursue an active policy towards China. At present the development of the bilateral relations is showing a good momentum.

First, the two countries are strengthening their political mutual trust. China-UK comprehensive strategic partnership is constantly enriched, with relatively complete mechanisms for political dialogue and close high-level exchanges between the two countries. The two side established a range of mechanisms of high-level exchanges, including annual Prime Ministers' meeting, Economic and Financial Dialogue, Strategic Dialogue, exchange of visits between foreign ministers, etc., and also set up communication channels such as the defense consultations, young politician forum, foreign policy consultations and human rights dialogue. Since the formation of the coalition government, both the Foreign Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer have visited China, and the two sides have also held a new round of China-UK Strategic Dialogue.

Second, mutual benefit and win-win results are highlighted. Over the years, the UK remains the EU's largest investor in China and the third largest trading partner of the country. In 2009, while UK exports to other major countries fell significantly, its exports to China grew by 6.2%. This year two-way trade experienced a rapid recovery and sustained growth. From January to September, China-UK trade in goods amounted to 35.75 billion USD. As of the end of July 2010, the actual investment in China from the UK amounted to 16.75 billion USD. By the end of last year, China's non-financial direct investment in UK totalled to over 1 billion USD. China became UK's sixth largest foreign investor last year in terms of investment project.

Third, there are active cultural and people-to-people exchanges. Currently about 100,000 young Chinese students are studying in UK, and 3,000 British students are in China. Many Chinese are well familiar with the works of Shakespeare, many are Janeites (that is, fans of Jane Austen) and Harry Potter fans, not to mention the huge number of Premier League fans. In the UK, on the other hand, there has been an emerging China and mandarin fever, with over 500 British primary and secondary schools opening mandarin courses and 12 Confucius Institutes and 54 Confucius Classrooms being set up under China-UK cooperation. During the just ended Shanghai Expo, the two peoples got even closer, as the Chinese people experienced the creativity and innovation of a modern UK from the distinctive design of the British Pavilion while the British visitors saw a friendly and confident China that embraces openness and inclusiveness.

Fourth, the bilateral relations are taking on greater global and strategic significance. In the post-crisis era, where the international landscape is undergoing faster changes and a variety of traditional and non-traditional issues are intertwined, China and the UK, as two influential major countries and permanent Security Council members, share important responsibilities and broad common interests in maintaining world peace and stability and promoting global economic prosperity. The two countries have made good interaction within the frameworks of the United Nations and G20 and have kept close communication and coordination in global governance, non-proliferation, the Millennium Development Goals, climate change and other global issues.

Journalist: The current development of China-UK relations is stable. What aspects do you think the two countries should focus on to promote and deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries and make new progress?

Ambassador Liu: I think under the new situation, the following three aspects need to be focused on for the further development of China-UK comprehensive strategic partnership:

First, we need to enhance high-level exchanges and improve political mutual trust. Both countries should take full advantage of the high-level communication mechanisms and various dialogue mechanisms to conduct timely communication on major issues of mutual concern, so as to enhance mutual understanding and trust, constantly strengthen the political foundation for the comprehensive strategic partnership, promote cooperation and exchanges between the two countries in various fields and ensure a steady and sound development of China-UK relations.

Second, we need to promote practical cooperation. Both sides should make full use of the complementary advantages of the two economies to achieve maximum benefits and to allow the two peoples feel the benefits of the development of China-UK relations; improve the quality of cooperation in education and technology and jointly develop high-level professionals; work together against trade protectionism, facilitate reforms of global economic governance and jointly promote economic growth in both countries and economic prosperity in the world.

Third, we need to conduct equal-footed dialogue to properly handle our differences. As China and UK are different in social systems, development stages and cultural traditions, it is natural that they have different views on some issues. As Chinese culture emphasizes "harmony without uniformity", we need to enhance mutual understanding and trust through exchanges and dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect, and bridge differences while expanding consensus with courage and wisdom.

Journalist: Since you came to office early this year, you have met with quite a number of British businessmen and visited many British companies, do you have any comments and recommendations on the development of China-UK economic and trade cooperation?

Ambassador Liu: At present, as China-UK relations are standing at a new starting point, the cooperation in economy, trade and investment between the two countries are faced with great opportunities for development. The two sides should seize the opportunities and push the trade and investment cooperation to a higher level.

First, we should tap the potential for cooperation and strengthen the complementary advantages. post-industrial UK's strengths lie in advanced manufacturing such as aeroplane and automobile, high-end service industries such as financial, information, shipping and consultancy services, and the high-tech industries on energy conservation, environmental protection and low-carbon technologies. China, on the other hand, is in the process of industrialisation with a large labour force, a comprehensive industrial system, a strong manufacturing sector and a vast consumer market. The potential for cooperation between China and the UK is perfectly matched in manufacturing, design and services.

Second, we need to create a good environment and remove barriers to investment. The Chinese government is constantly deepening the reforms in the system for foreign investment, actively expanding market access, effectively protecting intellectual property rights, and is committed to creating a more open, fair and transparent investment environment for foreign companies. We hope that the British government and relevant departments will also further improve the investment environment and provide Chinese enterprises with more favorable conditions for investing and operating in UK.

Third, we must build an exchange platform to promote cooperation between enterprises. The governments, relevant departments and industry associations of the two countries should strengthen communication, act as a bridge between their enterprises, especially SMEs, to conduct exchanges and cooperation, help them enhance mutual understanding, carry out smooth cooperation and create a mutually beneficial win-win situation.

Suggest to a Friend
Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland All Rights Reserved