|China and Britain at an Opportunity Point|
|Speech at China Association Luncheon|
Hugh Ll Davies,
Other distinguished guests,
Thank you for inviting me to join you today.
Recently, the Chinese Foreign Minister, Mr. Yang Jiechi paid an official visit to the U.K..
This is the first and only European visit he has made, not only because he was a LSE graduate, but mainly because China views UK as a major international partner.
One of his objectives was also wanted to pave the way for the coming visit by Mr. Gordon Brown to China. He and Mr. David Miliband had the most 'transparent' discussion at the 'highest point', as they started the meeting in a glass pod on the London Eye. They had 'cozy' understanding at the end of the visit as they finished the day in the Pugin Bar of the Palace of Westminster.
The Chinese Minister left with a clear understanding of the positive objective of Britain for its relations with China.
Before leaving, Minister Yang told me that he believed that China UK relations are at an opportunity point. He found that the meeting ground of our strategic interests is widening at a time when the world is undergoing major changes. There is wide social and public support for furthering the relations of the two countries.
China, which is at a critical stage of industrialization, needs an international environment where peace and cooperation prevail.
Britain is one of the countries which is sensitive to changes and is always able to pre-position itself vis-à-vis changes. As an ancient Chinese poem goes, ' As soon as the water lily a ting tip but newly shows, on it already hovers the shadow of a dragonfly'. We see Britain as a partner which has longer experience on the world stage and which sees China's growth as an opportunity.
China sees in Britain a partner on international issues. We share with Britain the belief in free trade, openness, internationalization and innovation. Our common view on many of the international issues should be a solid foundation for working together in meeting many of the global challenges.
We also see Britain as a partner in our effort to deepen reform.
At the 17th Party Congress, a long list of priorities were laid down for promoting comprehensive development with emphasis on services industry, education, finance, research and technological renovation, especially in environmental protection and reducing emission. Britain has advantages in almost all the areas China intends to work on.
On the other hand, we don't have serious conflict of interests. The two countries have developed a mature relationship throughout the years and we have learnt to accommodate each other's concerns.
China appreciates David Miliband's statement on the Taiwan issue. He said that Britain is not supportive of the referendum on application for UN under the name of Taiwan.
Recently the Chairman of CIC Mr. Lou Jiwei paid a visit to London. When asked why he chose London for his first international visit, he said, first, coming to London was coming to the world; second, people in London are serious when they said they welcome Chinese investment.
I understand that Britain's interest is not like 'Lord Ye' in a Chinese proverb whose Love for Dragons was not the real dragon, but something that merely looked like a dragon.
When Britain says it welcomes the investments, people are serious. Mr. Lou received a lot of good advice here.
I am glad that I have inherited an office for which the focus of work is mainly positive though not less intensive.
Now, the main thing that is on my mind is the preparations for the Prime Minister's visit to China in the coming month.
He is coming at a time when China just had the first National Economic Conference after the 17th Congress.
According to the Economic Conference, in the short run, the focus in China would be greater macro measures to: one, slow down the over-speedy growth so as to avoid over-heating; two, to curb the price increase to prevent inflation.
The meeting stated that China will take quality as priority for major task of current economic work. In the long run, the objective is to achieve faster transfer of the growth pattern from depending only on export and investment to increasing the role of domestic consumption in promoting growth.
Another policy emphasis is on reducing energy cost and emission which will be achieved mainly through renovation and import of technology. There will be comprehensive measures to encourage efforts in these areas including pricing, taxation as well as financial stimulus.
Agricultural and social security remain one of the priority areas and there will be continuous funding support in an effort to better share the benefit of reform with the rural population and disadvantageous group.
The Prime Minister will be visiting China at an opportune time when China is looking for international cooperation in services, technology and expertise.
The business summit which will be held during his visit is well underway at which I hope many of you will come and the two business world could inter-act.
Between 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and 2012 London Olympic, there will be strong interest in the two countries for exchanges with each other. It will also be a good opportunity for boosting the images of the two countries.
I want to thank the enterprises for the support to next year's China Now program in the U.K.. Approximately 700 programs have been on the list which will upsurge the exchanges between the two countries.
I look forward to a successful visit by the Prime Minister and hope it would open up more cooperation for the two countries. Wish you happy holidays and a productive New Year!