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Home > Embassy News > 2013
People's Daily Published an Article By H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming: Create A Wonderful Season in China-UK Relations
2013/08/13

      On 12 August 2013, the Essays of Ambassadors on the third page of the People's Daily carried an article by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming, entitled Create A Wonderful Season in China-UK Relations. The full text is as follows:

      Having gone through many ups and downs, China-UK relations have moved forward from estrangement to understanding, antagonism to amity, inequality to equality, and from competition to cooperation. Going forward, we should strive to create a wonderful season of a new type of big-country relationship between China and the UK.

      The UK was the first major western country to have exchanges with China. At the end of last year, I delivered a speech at the renowned Oxford University, during which I used five phrases to capture the eventful centuries in China-UK relationship.

      The five phrases were: a failed diplomatic mission; an unjust war; a well-timed diplomatic upgrading; a historic negotiation, and finally, a new partnership. To be specific, King George III sent a delegation, the famous Macartney Mission to China in 1793. In 1840, the Opium War broke out and Britain forced open the door of China with gunboat policy. In 1972, China and Britain established diplomatic relations at ambassadorial level and normalized their relations. In 1984, the two governments signed in Beijing the Joint Declaration over Hong Kong, removing barriers to the growth of the China-Britain relations. In 2004, China and the UK established a comprehensive strategic partnership, setting new goals for bilateral relations in the 21st century.

      Although the five phrases marked five points in time, they together show the trajectory in China-UK relations. It is a generally upward trend from estrangement to understanding, from antagonism to amity, from inequality to equality and from competition to cooperation. China-UK relations have moved forward in spite of these twists and turns.

      The title History Tells was chosen in the hope that China and the UK could learn and draw inspiration from history as bilateral relations were at low ebb.

      More than half a year later, I gave another speech at the prestigious Queen's University of Belfast in Northern Ireland and called for a new type of big-countries relations between China and the UK. If my Oxford speech was about looking back at history, this one was more about looking ahead into the future.

      Borrowing from popular British dramas, if the past 220 years are the "previous seasons" in China-UK relations and the future is the "next season". I see good foundation and favorable conditions for it. The two countries have no geopolitical conflicts or outstanding historical issues. Both are major powers of important international influence with extensive common interests and responsibilities. Being highly complementary in economic terms, the two countries enjoy huge cooperation potential. And with splendid culture, both find each other's culture fascinating.

      The next season of China-UK relations has just begum. How can we make it a wonderful one? I believe that to establish a new type of relations between big countries, four things are essential: understanding, mutual trust, dialogue and cooperation. We should seek cooperation on the basis of greater understanding through dialogue and by building mutual trust.

      At present, cooperation between the two countries in various fields is expanding and deepening and positive energy is being built up in China-UK relations. This year has seen continued rapid growth in Chinese investment in the UK and important projects contracted. The two central banks signed currency swap agreement, the first between China and a major developed country. The British government announced the launch of Generation UK initiative, supporting 15,000 British young people to go to China to study or take up internships every year in the next three years. Aren't these good beginning for the next season?

      As China-UK relations continue to grow and develop, there will be more cooperation opportunities as well as challenges. But I believe as long as China and the UK respect and trust each other, show wisdom in handling disputes and solving problems properly, take persistent and firm actions and demonstrate courage and resolve in tacking whatever difficulties we may encounter, China-UK relations will be able to keep to the right direction and write down wonderful chapters one after another.

      China and the UK should work together and follow the trend of the times to make the next season of China-UK relations one of mutual trust, understanding, dialogue, cooperation, mutual benefit and win-win progress. Together, China and the UK should build a new type of big-country relationship to the benefit of Chinese and British people as well as world development.

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