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Home > Ambassador Liu > Remarks > 2010
Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the Icebreakers Reception of the 48 Group Club
(30th November 2010, Chinese Embassy in the UK)

Mr Stephen Perry,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to the Icebreakers Reception jointly hosted by the 48 Group Club and the Chinese Embassy. Let me offer my congratulations to all those who are going to receive the Fellowship Award and Honorary Membership of the 48 Group Club later tonight.

More than half a century ago, during the Cold War, a group of far-sighted British business leaders saw the great potential of New China and China-UK cooperation. Defying Western blockade of the young People's Republic, they came to China after a long journey and started doing trade with China, which led to the founding of the 48 Group. Since then, the 48 Group and the 48 Group Club led by the late Mr Jack Perry and Mr Stephen Perry have worked tirelessly to promote China-UK friendship and cooperation. They have stood with China through thick and thin, regardless of whether China was poor or prosperous and whether China-UK relations were thriving or otherwise. We highly appreciate and commend their persistent efforts and unfailing commitment.

Today, China has come a long way. And the world is undergoing profound changes. So are China-UK relations. Looking back, we cherish deeply the icebreakers' vision, courage and pioneering spirit.

Looking forward, we need even more the vision of the "icebreakers". China-UK relations have made enormous progress in the past decades, and have also stood the tests and challenges. Our relations are now at a crucial, new starting point. We need to have strategic and long-term vision and deepen exchanges and cooperation in all areas, particularly those among the young people. This will inject a strong and sustained impetus to our bilateral relations.

We need the courage of the "icebreakers". Some in the West tend to focus on China's economic and social progress, but fail to give credit to the political and institutional factors that have contributed to this success. These people should be courageous enough to recognise China's development and progress and show understanding to China's ideas and model of development.

China and the UK differ in levels of development, social system, historical and cultural heritage. We do not see eye to eye on everything. We should face these differences squarely and enhance mutual understanding and seek common ground through dialogues based on equality and mutual respect.

We need the pioneering spirit of the "icebreakers". In the past 5 decades and more, China-UK trade has started from scratch and quickly grew into a booming and mutually beneficial relationship. In the first 9 months of this year, trade between us stood at 35.7 billion US dollars and the figure for the whole year is expected to hit a record high of 50 billion. But this is no reason for complacency. We must work even harder to unleash the potential in our cooperation and convert our respective strengths into visible progress in our cooperation in energy, environmental protection and high-end manufacturing. We should also aim to expand trade in technologies and mutual investment, and work together to explore the global market, with a view to raising China-UK trade to a new level.

Friends from the 48 Group Club,

You are important players and direct participants in our endeavour to further strengthen China-UK relationship. I look forward to greater vision, courage and pioneering spirit of the icebreakers from you and greater contributions by you to China-UK partnership.

Thank you.

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