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Minister Ma Hui Attends the Inaugural Wakefield-China Steering Group Meeting

On January 9, 2020, Minister Ma Hui of the Chinese Embassy in the UK attended the launching ceremony and inaugural meeting of the Wakefield-China Steering Group upon invitation and delivered a speech. Around 20 guests were present, including representatives from the government of Wakefield, the cultural, educational, commercial and trade communities in Wakefield, Arts Council England and Greater Leeds region.

In his speech, Minister Ma pointed out that China-UK “Golden Era” was initiated in 2015 when President Xi Jinping visited the UK. In the past five years, exchanges and cooperation between China and the UK at the sub-national level have become an important pillar for China-UK relations. Last year, Wakefield and Nanning saw mutual visits of their leaders and the two sides signed a Friendship Agreement last May. This has laid an important foundation for exchanges and cooperation across the board. The establishment of China-Wakefield Steering Group displays the vision of Wakefield Council and represents a concrete step in enhancing friendly exchanges and business cooperation between Wakefield and Nanning as well as the whole China.

Minister Ma said China and the UK enjoy promising prospects in sub-national cooperation. Nanning is an important hub on the Belt and Road, linking the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It has a profound history and diverse ethnic culture. The city is working to build a pilot zone for comprehensive financial reform. It is committed to developing a smart city and becoming an international financial centre in this region. Wakefield enjoys a sound foundation in its creative industries, rich cultures, and rapid economic development in recent years. The two sides should enhance the synergy of their development strategies, give play to their respective strengths, actively explore the possibility of strengthening economic and trade cooperation under the frame of BRI, and build closer cultural and people-to-people links. The Steering Group is well positioned to play a bigger role in promoting more tangible outcomes between the two sides in various sectors.

Samantha Harvey, MP of Wakefield talked about the visit of the delegation of Wakefield to Nanning in 2019 and made the proposal about enhancing the cooperation between the two cities. Participants at the meeting exchanged views on further promoting the mutual understanding and cooperation in economy and trade, culture and education.

During his visit to Wakefield, Minister Ma also met with Mayor of Wakefield Charles Keith and visited local enterprises.

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