On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in the UK, I would like to extend my warmest congratulations on the launch and one month countdown of the fifth China-UK Regional Leaders’ Summit! My heartfelt thanks go to the Midlands Engine team for their meticulous preparation for the Summit!
China-UK Regional Leaders’ Summit is one of the outcomes of President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the UK in 2015. It is the first mechanism regional cooperation between our two countries. Previous meetings of the Summit had been held in London, Shanghai, Belfast and Dalian since the first in 2016. Over the years, the Summit has played an important role in promoting China-UK regional cooperation and advancing our bilateral relations.
I am glad to learn that the fifth China-UK Regional Leaders’ Summit will be held in Birmingham from 17 to 19 February. It will bring together hundreds of representatives from local governments, businesses and universities of our two countries to match development strategies, explore cooperation and seek common development.
Regional cooperation and exchanges constitute an important pillar for China-UK relations and a solid basis for China-UK friendship. As we celebrate the fifth anniversary of the China-UK “Golden Era” this year, I sincerely hope that the fifth China-UK Regional Leaders’ Summit will play three important roles on the new journey of China-UK relations.
First, I hope it will create new opportunities through matching the development strategies of our two countries.
Regional development in both China and the UK is facing new opportunities. China is promoting the coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, the building of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the integration of Yangtze River Delta. Here in the UK, Midlands Engine and Northern Powerhouse are important focuses of government efforts to revitalise the economy.
The Summit could serve as a bridge between Chinese and British governments and businesses to dovetail their development strategies and bring their complementary strengths together, so as to achieve more fruitful outcomes.
Second, I hope the Summit will deepen China-UK friendship and mutual trust.
Close to 200,000 Chinese students are studying in the UK. Mutual visits between our two sides reached two million last year, setting a new record. Every week, 168 flights operate between our two countries and this figure is still increasing.
This Summit could serve as an opportunity for China and the UK to work together to give new vitality to the cultural and people-to-people exchanges between our two countries and contribute to building closer bond between our peoples.
Third, I hope the Summit will shoulder the new mission of addressing global challenges.
The international landscape is experiencing profound adjustment. Unilateralism and protectionism are on the rise. As major players of global influence, China and the UK shoulder important responsibilities.
This Summit could encourage local governments and businesses of our two countries to stand up for free trade, support multilateralism and oppose protectionism in the spirit of openness and inclusiveness. Together we can take the lead in the pursuit of win-win cooperation.
In conclusion, I wish the launch of the fifth China-UK Regional Leaders’ Summit success!