On 29 January 2018, the Daily Telegraph and its website published a signed article by Ambassador Liu Xiaoming entitled “The UK-China ‘Golden Era’ can bear new fruit”. The full text is as follows:
The UK-China ‘Golden Era’ Can Bear New Fruit
In a few days, Theresa May will pay an official visit to China, her first and the first by a British prime minister in four years.
Both China and the UK now stand at the entrance to a new era. The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China marked the beginning of a new era for socialism with Chinese characteristics. Here in the UK, amid critical Brexit negotiations, a new era for “Global Britain” is also being unveiled. This sets the stage for Prime Minister May’s visit, which offers the opportunity to shift the China-UK “Golden Era” into a higher gear and upgrade bilateral relations in three ways.
First, the visit could deepen political trust, which underpins China-UK cooperation. Over the past two years, President Xi and Prime Minister May had meetings at both G20 Summits in Hangzhou and in Hamburg and reaffirmed on several occasions their commitment to the China-UK “Golden Era”.
The “Golden Era” is the strategic definition of China-UK relations and it is important that the two countries keep to it. The forthcoming visit is a chance for the UK and China to show that they have in mind the larger picture of the international landscape as well as their bilateral relations, and respect each other’s core interests and major concerns. This is the key to enhancing mutual understanding and building a relationship based on mutual respect, mutual trust and win-win cooperation that could serve as an exemplar for other countries.
Secondly, the visit could increase business cooperation. Leaders of the two countries are expected to witness the signing of a number of agreements. These will enable the UK and China to further match their development strategies, take mutually-beneficial cooperation to a new level, and seek to harvest more “golden fruits” across multiple areas, from the Belt and Road Initiative to financial services, scientific innovation, environmental protection, clean energy and bio-science.
Earlier this month, I had a round-table with the Chinese business community here in the UK. For the most part, we talked about the new opportunities offered by an increasingly open and independent Britain. This fully reflects the confidence of the Chinese business community in the economic prospects of the UK and the prospects for China-UK cooperation. And this has led me to believe that, if China and the UK seize the opportunities of this new era, our business cooperation can gather new impetus.
Thirdly, the visit could broaden our international cooperation. As permanent members of the UN Security Council and important members of G20, both China and the UK have shown their broad global vision, open minds, and sense of responsibility and obligation to a world that is undergoing profound and complex changes.
From opposing protectionism to tackling climate change, from promoting economic globalisation to improving global governance, from the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue to the situation in the Middle East, China and the UK are broadening consensus on how to address a wide range of international and regional issues. The two countries have every reason to join hands and work harder for world peace and development. In the words of Prime Minister May at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet last year, China’s decisions together with Britain’s will “shape the world around us”.
While the British film industry basks in the recent success of Darkest Hour, China-UK relations will embrace their brightest hour. The protagonist of the film, Winston Churchill, once remarked: “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” His words echo a Chinese saying: “Always embrace a new day and make new changes.” Nothing could be more pertinent to the China-UK “Golden Era”. To advance this important relationship, we need to embrace change, seize new opportunities and build new consensus in order to open up new prospects.
I am convinced that Prime Minister May’s visit can take our bilateral relationship a step further, by building a China-UK “Golden Era” 2.0 and an ever brighter future for the people of our two countries.