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Opening Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the Press Briefing on Premier Wen Jiabao's Visit to the UK
(June 22, 2011, Chinese Embassy in the UK)
2011/06/22

Good morning.

At the invitation of Prime Minister David Cameron, Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council of China will pay an official visit to the UK from 25th to 27th of June.

In the context of this visit, I would like to give you some observations about the relationships between our two countries.

In recent years China-UK relations have been expanding and enjoyed a path of positive progression.

China and Britain have established the following key elements of dialogue:

  • The comprehensive strategic partnership.
  • We have put in place a host of exchange mechanisms such as the Annual Prime Minister's meeting.
  • The Economic and Financial Dialogue
  • Also there is the Strategic Dialogue.
  • And we have had regular high level exchanges that are resulting in productive cooperation.

The statistics provide impressive evidence of the expanding exchange in trade:

  • The UK is now China's third largest EU trading partner.
  • Britain is the second largest EU investor in China.
  • In turn the UK is a major destination of Chinese investment overseas.
  • China is the UK's second largest trading partner outside the EU.
  • Chinese statistics point to a China-UK trade in goods of 50.08 billion US dollars in 2010.
  • China is also the UK's 10th largest export destination and third largest source of imports.
  • Last year saw a year-on-year increase of 40.9% in the UK's export to China; that is the fastest growth among Britain's top 15 export destinations.
  • China-UK trade has maintained this fast growth since the beginning of this year.
  • During 2011 the trade volume was 20.97 billion US dollars for the first five months or a year-on-year increase of 17.4%.
  • By the end of April this year, the UK had invested in a total of 6,830 projects in China, with paid-in investment of 17.4 billion US dollars.
  • In turn, China had a direct investment of 1.25 billion US dollars in the UK.
  • China has risen to be the UK's 6th largest investor in terms of number of projects, and ranks the second in London in terms of number of investing companies.

China-UK exchanges reach far beyond trade and investment. Chinese and British relations are marked by a strengthening scientific, educational and cultural cooperation:

  • The UK now stands as China's number one research partner in the EU.
  • Britain attracts more students from China than any other EU country.
  • There are nearly 120 thousand Chinese students studying in the UK.
  • Across Britain there are 13 Confucius Institutes and 54 Confucius Classrooms; this is more than any other country in the EU.

Now about the visit. This will be the first by a Chinese Premier to the UK since the coalition government was in place. The meetings between the two Premiers will provide another important top level exchange between our two countries following Prime Minster David Cameron's visit to China last November. The dialogue will build on the exchanges held during Vice Premier Li Keqiang's visit to the UK this January.

The two Premiers will set the shape and direction of China-UK relations in the months and years to come. They will have:

  • In-depth exchange of views on China-UK relations, and
  • Dialogue on major international and regional issues of mutual interest.

In addition the two Premiers will witness the signing of government agreements and business contracts spanning from energy to transport and investment.

I can report that the drafting of the relevant documents are well underway.

In addition Premier Wen will deliver an important speech during his stay in London.

Also Premier Wen will go to Birmingham to visit the MG Motor business and attend the launch of the new model MG6 Magnette.

This visit and launch provides an example of the mutual benefits of trade and exchange. The MG6 Magnette combines the strengths of British automotive design and creativity with the advantages of Chinese manufacturing skills.

The MG Motor UK Ltd is a fully Chinese funded subsidiary of the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation after its acquisition of the MG Group.

The MG6 cars are the latest example of how China and the UK work together for mutual gain. The cars are designed in the UK, made in China and assembled in the UK.

We hope this visit to the UK by Premier Wen Jiabao will serve two purposes.

Firstly, promote practical cooperation. China and the UK share similar ideas about development. Both are restructuring their economies. Each country is trying to evolve improved forms of governance so as to serve their peoples better. Through this continual dialogue China and Britain can benefit by the exchange of experience and so learn from each other.

There is great potential to be gained from learning from each other and cooperating. There are many examples to provide a guide:

  • With infrastructure.
  • High-end manufacturing.
  • Financial services.
  • Green and low-carbon industries.
  • Energy efficiency and environmental protection.

We should also explore new areas of cooperation.

China and the UK shoulder major responsibilities over peace and stability of the world.

Within the United Nations China and Britain have big responsibilities as two of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

These roles and responsibilities provide compelling reasons why China and the UK should maintain close dialogue and coordination on major international and regional issues.

Secondly, increase mutual understanding. It is essential to be realistic that China and UK dialogue and relations will face many challenges. The realism is needed given our differences in social systems, historical and cultural heritage. We also have different levels of development.

China and UK can only overcome difficulties and challenges and maintain a stable relationship by building political mutual trust as an underpinning. In all our dialogue we must always treat each others as equals and respect each other. At all times we must be sensitive to and address the other's concerns.

The international political landscape is undergoing profound changes. The global economy remains volatile. This makes it all the more important for China and Britain to deepen understanding. Linked to this changing political landscape, deeper dialogue is essential as many global issues can only be resolved through international agreement and collaboration.

Major issues of mutual concern needing this dialogue are the global financial system, climate change, nuclear security, world trade negotiations, counter terrorism and cybersecurity. China and the UK share many common interests in tackling these global issues so it is therefore all the more important for us to work together.

This visit to the UK by Premier Wen Jiabao provides China and Britain an important opportunity for us to take our relationship forward.

Both the Chinese and British governments are working hard to ensure that Premier Wen's visit to the UK will be a success.

I believe the preparations being made will boost mutual understanding and trust between China and the UK.

The plans being formulated will facilitate fresh exchanges and cooperation.

The result will be to bring our relations to a new level, to the benefit of all our peoples and humanity right around the world.

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