Full text of Reuters' Q&A with Chinese President Xi Jinping
Updated: 2015-10-19 09:10
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Britain on Monday for a state visit at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II, the first state visit to the United Kingdom by a Chinese leader since 2005.
In advance of the trip, President Xi conducted a written interview with Reuters, providing written answers to questions posed in writing by Reuters.
The answers, given in English, were prepared by Chinese officials but reviewed and approved by Xi, according to foreign ministry officials.
The questions and answers follow in full.Q: Britain says it wants to be China's best partner in the West, and that its economy is wide open to Chinese investment. At the same time, many in Britain fear China's intentions and think the British government is too eager to please China. What are China's aims in fostering a stronger relationship with Britain, and how do you intend to ensure that it is mutually beneficial?
A: I visited London, Oxford, Glasgow and Edinburgh in 1994. I was deeply impressed by the visit, particularly Britain's long history, unique culture, friendly people and its beautiful environment.
During my upcoming state visit to the UK at the invitation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, I look forward to having discussions with British leaders and engaging the British public on our bilateral ties. I hope this will chart the course for the future growth of China-UK relations, inject new impetus in practical cooperation between our two countries in all fields and enable us to jointly usher in a "golden time" for China-UK comprehensive strategic partnership.
Public opinion surveys conducted in Britain show that views of China are largely favorable among the British people. Our two peoples appreciate each other's time-honored and unique cultures. This is an important foundation and favourable condition for growing bilateral ties. It is true that some people have some misgivings about China-UK cooperation. What I want to stress is that in today's world, no country can afford to pursue development with its door closed. One should open the door, warmly welcome friends and be hospitable to them. This is recognized international practice. The UK has stated that it will be the Western country that is most open to China. This is a visionary and strategic choice that fully meets Britain's own long-term interest. China looks forward to engaging with the UK in a wider range, at a higher level and in greater depth.
In recent years, while global growth has slowed down, China-UK investment and business cooperation has kept growing. The UK has become the EU's second largest investor in China as well as China's second largest trading partner and investment destination in the EU. China has been the UK's second largest non-EU trading partner. In 2014, China-UK trade volume for the first time exceeded US$80 billion, and China's import from the UK has doubled in five years. Two-way investment between China and the UK has grown rapidly. China's investment in the UK has risen at an annual rate of 71.7% over the past three years. Last year, the UK investment in China increased by 87.6% year-on-year, the fastest among major EU countries.
The British government has introduced ambitious plans on upgrading infrastructure, building the Northern Powerhouse in the north of England and implementing the strategy of UK Industry 2050. These plans and the "Road and Belt Initiative" and the initiatives of "Made in China 2025" and "Internet Plus" undertaken by China complement each other in many ways. China is ready to partner with the UK in the spirit of inclusiveness, opening up and seeking win-win progress through cooperation to upgrade and expand cooperation to deliver more benefits to our two peoples.
This year marks the beginning of the second decade of the China-UK comprehensive strategic partnership and the 40th anniversary of China-EU diplomatic ties. Both China-UK relationship and China-EU relationship face important opportunities to build on past success for new progress. Since the UK is an important member of the EU, China-UK relationship and China-EU relationship reinforce each other. During my visit to the EU Headquarters last year, EU leaders and I agreed to build China-EU partnership of peace, growth, reform and civilization. I believe new progress in China-UK relationship will inject new momentum into the growth of China-EU relationship across the board and make new contribution to the building of China-EU partnership as a whole.
Q: London is one of the world's financial centers, and is keen to play an important role in China's financial development, whether by serving as an offshore trading hub for the renminbi or by possibly one day having a trading link between the London and Shanghai stock exchanges. What role do you envision London playing in the modernization and globalization of the Chinese currency and stock markets?
A: The reform and opening up of China's financial sector has made remarkable progress since China embarked on the path of reform and opening up 37 years ago. This has been especially obvious in the past several years. China will continue to adopt multiple measures to advance the reform and opening up of its financial sector so that its financial market can better adapt to financial modernization and globalization.
As one of the global financial centers, London is an important pump station in the world economic lifeline, so to speak. Strengthened financial cooperation with London is definitely a win-win choice for both countries. China-UK financial cooperation started early. It has enjoyed rapid growth, has tremendous potential and leads China-UK cooperation in various areas. We have accomplished much in recent years. Our two countries signed the bilateral currency swap agreement. China set up an RMB clearing bank in London. The UK became the first country outside Asia to obtain the RQFII (Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor) initial investment quota, the first Western country to issue RMB-denominated sovereign bond and the first major developed country to include RMB into its foreign exchange reserves. This is a highlight in our bilateral cooperation.
Back in 2012, London officially launched the plan of Centre of RMB Business. London has since then become one of the most dynamic and most important RMB trading centers and offshore RMB markets. In 2014, RMB trading in London grew by 143% year-on-year and its RMB deposits reached 20 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 37%.
When conditions are in place, China is ready to consider strengthening the connectivity of the financial markets of the two countries. London can leverage its unique strengths in the financial field to get actively involved in the modernization and globalization of China's financial market.