China, UK set to resume high-level dialogue

Updated: 2013-09-26 01:15

By Zhang Chunyan and Xie Songxin (China Daily)

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China and Britain will resume high-level visits and dialogue soon, the Chinese ambassador to the UK said.

"The prospect of China-UK relations is good after going through some difficulties over the past year," Ambassador Liu Xiaoming told China Daily on Wednesday.

The countries are preparing for high-level talks, including the China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue, cultural and educational exchanges and a summit meeting, Liu said.

His words came on the sidelines of a reception for the 64th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China, held by the embassy in London.

"China and the UK have maintained cooperation in many fields," Liu said, adding that bilateral relations have returned to normal after being affected by the Dalai Lama issue over the past year.

China is the UK's second-largest trading partner outside the EU. Bilateral trade is expected to hit $100 billion by 2015.

Chinese investments in Britain are impressive. Since the beginning of last year, Chinese investment in Britain has totaled more than $12 billion and the two central banks signed a currency swap agreement worth 20 billion British pounds ($32.11 billion). It was the first of its kind between China and a major developed economy.

"This summer we witnessed a really exciting series of China-UK cultural exchanges," Liu said.

"We have enjoyed the ballet production of Jane Eyre in London by the Shanghai Ballet Company. Then there was the premiere of The Tragedy of Coriolanus by the Beijing People's Art Theatre at the Edinburgh International Festival."

In education, Britain has launched the Generation UK program, which aims to send 15,000 young Britons to study or work in China over the coming three years.

"Just this week, Britain will have one more Confucius Institute opened at Aberdeen University," Liu said.

Famous museums from both countries will also cooperate in the near future, he added.

In his speech at the reception, Liu told the story of a Briton named Tony Day who started a charity program called the Yellow River Soup Kitchen in Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi province.

"He and Chinese volunteers give out food to people in need every week. Tony Day has been running this program for eight years," Liu said.

In China Lei Feng is a household name for someone who is always ready to help, and Day is now known as the "British Lei Feng", he said.

British Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "Today the relationship of the two nations is more important than ever. The UK and China are both countries that bear focus on the future, on advising our economies, on opening up opportunities for both."

The UK was the top destination for Chinese overseas investment in Europe last year, McLoughlin said, adding, "The stronger potential for us is to work together for the countries to develop a high-speed network in years to come."

Liu stressed the two countries should truly respect each other's core interests and main concerns, work together to enhance political mutual trust and strengthen practical cooperation, which will bear fruit and allow them to write more touching stories.

McLoughlin said, "For the future, the next stage of UK-China development, we want China to succeed, and that is good for China, good for the UK and good for the world."

Wang Mengzhen contributed to this story.