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China-UK cooperation: Best times to come

Editor: Li Kun 丨CCTV.com

08-14-2015 15:11 BJT

By Zhang Bei, assistant research fellow, Department for European Studies, China Institute of International Studies

A new round of China-UK Strategic Dialogue took place on August 13. China’s State Councilor Yang Jiechi and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond co-chaired the dialogue. The dialogue preceded President Xi’s visit in October and is also the first since the election of a Conservative government in May.

The birth and development of Sino-UK Strategic Dialogue is the result of strengthening China-UK ties. The first China-UK Strategic Dialogue started in 2005 following the establishment of a China-UK comprehensive strategic partnership. It was initially at vice-foreign minister level, but following a meeting of then-Premier Wen Jiabao and Foreign Secretary David Miliband in 2010, it was elevated to State Councilor level.

The strategic dialogue in turn plays its due part in promoting China-UK relations. The strategic dialogue, along with the economic and financial dialogue and high-level people-to-people dialogue, are the three high-level dialogues at the annual prime ministers’ meeting. Economic and financial dialogue explores strengthening trade and financial cooperation. High-level people-to-people dialogue promotes friendliness and understanding between the two peoples. Strategic dialogue is an important platform for China and the UK to communicate their views on global and regional hotspot issues and bridges the perception and understanding gap between the two strategic powers.

China-UK Strategic Dialogue is a reflection of strengthening China-UK cooperation. In fact, it seems China-UK cooperation is entering a new era.

Since the beginning of this year, a series of high-level visits and communications have highlighted positive interaction between China and the UK. In March this year, Prince William’s visit to China, the first royal visit in almost 30 years, attracted great attention and goodwill. Soon after the general election in May, Prime Minister Cameron phoned Premier Li Keqiang and restated his commitment to China-UK relations. That was followed by two high-ranking Chinese leaders’ visits to the UK. And the big event for both countries is President Xi’s visit to the UK in October, regarded by both sides as another landmark in China-UK relations.

The strengthening of China-UK cooperation is reflected in hard figures. China-UK trade in goods totaled $36.74 billion in the first half of 2015, making China the UK’s fourth-largest trading partner. The UK has become China’s second-largest trading partner in the EU. Two-way investment is advancing. The UK is China’s number one investment destination in Europe. Total investment stands at more than $40 billion. Projects cover a wide range of economic fields from infrastructure, commercial property, brand network to research and development centers and high-end manufacturing. China-UK financial cooperation has been full of highlights. Following the launch of offshore Renminbi business in London in 2011, breakthroughs have been made including the first currency swap agreement between China and the UK and the UK being awarded the first Renminbi RQFII quota outside Asia.

The biggest sign of China-UK cooperation is that the UK has been open and supportive towards China-UK cooperation in both the EU and on the international stage. In March this year, the UK became the first West country to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and has played an important exemplary role. The UK has also been a strong supporter of a China-EU investment agreement and supported feasibility studies for a China-EU free trade agreement.

The strengthening of China-UK cooperation is the natural result of the realization by both sides of the enormous benefits of closer bilateral cooperation. The UK, a top economic and strategic power, is an important partner for China in its bid to further reform and development and play a more active role on the global stage. The UK, ever since the European debt crisis of 2009, has invested much of its energy in promoting commercial opportunities in emerging countries. China is a priority partner to boost British interests and bring prosperity home. It is its mutually beneficial nature that makes China-UK cooperation full of vitality and vigor.

The strengthening of China-UK cooperation ultimately benefits from the pragmatic approach of the two sides in dealing with China-UK relations. A look at China-UK relations over the last 10 years reveals that as long as a pragmatic approach and mutual respect is applied, China-UK relations are destined to continue improving.

Eleven years have passed since the establishment of a comprehensive strategic partnership between China and the UK. Great achievements have been made to the benefit of both countries and peoples. There are still many new growth points in the China-UK comprehensive strategic partnership to be discovered and worth further efforts from both sides. President Xi’s visit to the UK in October will definitely usher in a new era for China-UK relations and create further opportunities for China-UK cooperation.

 

( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )

 

 

Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

 


 

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