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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's remarks on the upcoming visit to China by Prime Minister Theresa May and China-UK relations

Q: British Prime Minister Theresa May is about to visit China. Can you give us more information regarding her schedule and China's expectation?

A: We announced Prime Minister Theresa May's visit last week. The year of 2017 marked the 45th anniversary of the establishment of China-UK ambassadorial diplomatic ties. During their successful meeting at the sidelines of the G20 Hamburg Summit, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Theresa May reached important consensus on developing the China-UK relations in the next stage. Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Theresa May also exchanged congratulatory letters with each other on the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties at ambassadorial level, reaffirming their shared aspiration to develop bilateral relations.

This visit marks the first annual China-UK Prime Ministers' meeting following President Xi Jinping's historic state visit to the UK in 2015. It is also Prime Minister May's first official visit to China after she took office. China attaches great importance to it. During the visit, Chinese leaders will meet and hold talks with Prime Minister May on separate occasions and exchange in-depth views on bilateral relations and regional and international issues of mutual concern. Prime Minister May will also visit Shanghai and Wuhan, Hubei Province.

As the visit draws near, the two sides are in close communication on its schedule and outcomes. We look forward to achieving fruitful outcomes, including stepping up political mutual trust, expanding practical cooperation in trade and all other fields, and enhancing communication and coordination on major international and regional issues. We stand ready to work with the British side to take this visit as an opportunity to achieve new development of the China-UK global comprehensive strategic partnership for the 21st century.

Q: Do you think the UK has achieved its goal of becoming China's closest partner in the West now? Second, does China welcome a dialogue with Prime Minister Theresa May on human rights issues during her visit to China?

A: Cooperation can always be bettered. As to whether China and Britain have become the closest partners, we may need to wait and see how Prime Minister May's visit this time plays out. The position of the Chinese side is very clear. We are willing to develop increasingly closer and friendly cooperative relations with all countries in the world, including the United Kingdom.

On the human rights issue, China is willing to conduct exchanges and dialogues with other countries around the world. However, such exchanges and dialogues must be based on equality and mutual respect. No country in the world can claim to be perfect on human rights. We hope that countries could learn from each other and make progress together through equal-footed and mutually respectful exchanges, dialogues and cooperation.

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