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China, Britain highlight rapport, friendship amid deals
2008/01/21

BEIJING, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Ping-pong matches, an Olympic invitation and exchange of well-known proverbs together with trade and climate change deals featured British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's first-day visit to China.

    Brown, accompanied by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, sat with students, scholars, sportsmen and entrepreneurs for a 45-minute dialogue at the Renmin University of China, and took questions ranging from Olympic cooperation to the ever-popular "Is China's rise a threat?"

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) gestures as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown listens during the informal discussions with students and citizen representatives at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, China, Jan. 18, 2008.  (Xinhua Photo)

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) gestures as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown listens during the informal discussions with students and citizen representatives at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, China, Jan. 18, 2008.  (Xinhua Photo)
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    In a gambit to the dialogue, Wen quoted famed Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw in saying, "If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas."

    He said, "Both Prime Minister Brown and I are here to listen to what you have to say so that it will help us better work for the people."

    Brown also went metaphorical and said, "There is an old Chinese saying that 'snow means there will be a good harvest.' You had snow in Beijing yesterday. I believe we will see good harvest ... in a strong and developing relations that will bind our two countries in the future."

    The British leader arrived in Beijing on Friday morning for a three-day visit, his first as prime minister since taking office in last June. He last visited China as Chancellor of the Exchequer in 2005.

    In the morning talks, both leaders reached extensive agreement, renewed trade goals to 60 billion U.S. dollars by 2010, and landed sizeable 800 million U.S. dollar deals in fields such as education and energy.

    The consensus continued into the afternoon with a question-and-answer session, as the two leaders were seated casually in antique wooden chairs against a blue backdrop pictured with patterns of peony and rose, representing the two countries. The session hall, located in the elite Renmin University of China, was crowded with an 100-strong Chinese and British audience.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) gestures as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown listens during the informal discussions with students and citizen representatives at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, China, Jan. 18, 2008.  (Xinhua Photo)

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) gestures as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown listens during the informal discussions with students and citizen representatives at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, China, Jan. 18, 2008.  (Xinhua Photo)
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     Both leaders stressed friendship between the two peoples, similarity in government policies to "do more for the people", and cooperation in every area possible.

    Responding to a Chinese scholar's question on Sino-British cooperation on climate change, Brown said, "There is an old British saying 'you can't bring coal to Newcastle'. We can't bring coal to China, but we can bring clean-coal technology to China, and reduce carbon emissions by using different sources of fuel."

    The Olympics seemed to fit in quite well in talks between the two Chinese and British leaders, whose capitals will host the next two Olympics: Beijing this summer, and London in 2012.

    In the dialogue, Brown drew laughter from the crowd when he said, "I know China will win a lot of medals (in the 2008 Olympics). I hope there will be some medals left so that Britain may win a few."

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (3rd, R) and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown (3rd, L) pose with players and coaches of the two countries for a group photo at Renmin University of China in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 18, 2008. Wen and Brown came to the Renmin Unviversity of China to watch a table tennis match of players from China and Britain.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (3rd, R) and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown (3rd, L) pose with players and coaches of the two countries for a group photo at Renmin University of China in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 18, 2008. Wen and Brown came to the Renmin Unviversity of China to watch a table tennis match of players from China and Britain. (Xinhua Photo)
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    He also assured the crowd that he will "definitely come to the Olympics if invited." Wen immediately added that "on behalf of the Chinese government, I would like to extend the invitation again to Prime Minister Brown and Mrs Brown to China for the Olympic Games."

    Both leaders said they had agreed on a program to provide mutual mentoring and training to young athletes in the two countries as they watched young table tennis players in a stadium of the university.

    Wen said he hoped that "Sports, a transcending force that links people's hearts and souls, can serve to deepen friendship and cooperation between China and Britain."

    In a goodwill gesture before traveling to China, Brown invited 20 prominent members of the Chinese community in Britain to his No.10 Downing Street base. They included Chinese footballers ZhengZhi of Charlton Athletic and Manchester United's Dong Fangzhuo.

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