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Minister Ma Hui Attends the Launching Reception of the Fifth China-UK Regional Leaders' Summit

The Fifth China-UK Regional Leaders’ Summit, hosted by the Midlands Engine of England, will be held in Birmingham from February 17 to 19, 2020. On January 17, the Midlands Engine held the launching ceremony of the Summit in Birmingham. Minister Ma Hui of the Chinese Embassy in the UK attended the reception and read out Ambassador Liu’s message of congratulations entitled Pool Regional Strength and address Global Challenges to the reception. Sir John Peace, Chairman of Midlands Engine, Marian Sudbury OBE, Director of UK Regions, DIT, and approximately 60 representatives of British government, business, culture, education, media and overseas Chinese and Chinese students from Birmingham, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, and Staffordshire attended the event.

Ambassador Liu sent a congratulatory message to the event, saying that the China-UK Regional Leaders’ Summit is one of the outcomes of President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the UK in 2015. It is the first mechanism of regional cooperation between our two countries. Previous meetings had been held in London, Shanghai, Belfast and Dalian since the Summit was inaugurated in 2016. Over the years, the Summit has played an important role in promoting China-UK regional cooperation and advancing our bilateral relations. Regional cooperation and exchanges constitute an important pillar for China-UK relations and a solid basis for China-UK friendship. This year marks the fifth anniversary of China-UK “Golden Era”. He sincerely hoped that the Summit would create new opportunities through matching the development strategies of China and the UK, deepen China-UK friendship and mutual trust, and shoulder the new mission of addressing global challenges, so as to play a greater role in the new journey of China-UK relations.

Sir John said that China’s rise has attracted worldwide attention. “If the UK’s ambition is to trade with the world post-Brexit, then building a strong and balanced economic relationship with China will become increasingly important.” The Fifth China-UK Regional Leaders’ Summit will help the UK and China strengthen friendship and cooperation at the regional and even national level, meet common challenges, and continue to forge a new “Golden Era” between the UK and China. The Midlands enjoys a long-term friendship with China. With frequent visits between the two sides in recent years, the cooperation in various fields has continued to deepen and achieved fruitful results. The Summit held in Birmingham provided an important opportunity for the Midlands to learn from China, further expand cooperation, and achieve common prosperity. The Midlands Engine team will work closely with various partners to make full preparations to ensure a successful conference.

Sir John also introduced the concept of organizing the meeting and its framework.

Sudbury said that China, as Britain’s fifth largest trading partner and sixth largest export market, is a key trading and strategic partner for the UK. Midlands has close relations with China, and last year Leicestershire celebrated the 30th year of its twinning relationship with Sichuan, China. For a long time, the Midlands has benefited greatly from cooperation with China. In recent years, Geely Group has invested in new energy taxis in the UK, and Jaguar Land Rover has expanded its business in China. In 2019, CRRC Corporation Limited and China Chang'an Automobile Group Co., Ltd opened their innovation centres in Birmingham, and “each of these investments brings high value employment and future proof skills into the Midlands. Successful Clean Energy projects and successful Smart Cities are likely to rely on the innovation in these research centres.” The UK Department of International Trade will, as always, support the Midlands to strengthen its twinning relationship and sub-national cooperation with China, and support the Midlands Engine to host the Summit. He was convinced that the Summit would bring new opportunities for China-UK bilateral cooperation.

Participants stated that there is huge potential for sub-national cooperation between the two countries and believed that the Summit could enhance mutual understanding and promote mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries.

Minister Ma gave an interview to the BBC at the Summit. Talking about the results of economic and trade cooperation between the two countries, he believed that the Summit would strengthen cooperation between the two countries in the areas of economy, trade, and people-to-people and cultural exchanges, so as to achieve common development.

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