The Belt and Road Initiative will add new momentum for China-UK Cooperations, said Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese ambassador to the UK in an exclusive interview with China Radio International. [Photo:CRIENGLISH.com]
This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of ambassadorial diplomatic relations between China and the UK, and the two countries will see more opportunities emerging from bilateral and global cooperation, said Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese ambassador to the UK in an exclusive interview with China Radio International.
The Chinese ambassador said that in retrospect, China-UK relations have grown from diplomatic relations to a global comprehensive strategic partnership during the past four decades, with the "super state visit" in 2015 by Chinese President Xi Jinping to the UK bringing Sino-UK relations into a "Golden Era". During the visit, the two sides sealed a record number of trade deals including the joint investment into the Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Project. This is the largest single investment China has ever made in the UK and Europe.
Moreover, the two governments are also engaging in frequent high level exchanges through the China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue, Strategic Dialogue and People to People Dialogue, the Chinese Ambassador noted. In the last few years, under themes like China-UK Year of Cultural Exchange, people to people and cultural exchanges between the two countries have flourished. A new two-year visa system was introduced in early 2016 to encourage Chinese travelers to visit the UK.
In a historical referendum in June 2016, the UK voted to leave the European Union. The Chinese Ambassador said that admittedly, the decision to leave the EU has brought uncertainties to both the UK and its international partnerships, but Brexit can also open up new opportunities for China-UK cooperation as the UK aims to build "a truly global Britain".
The UK is the first Western country to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as a founding member and in November 2016, the country announced a 40 million pounds (about 49 million US dollars) investment into an infrastructure fund under the bank, making it the second contributor to the fund after China.
The Chinese Ambassor cited the Belt and Road Initiative as another example, saying that the UK's clearly defined role as an important partner of the initiative will add new momentum to China-UK cooperation. He said that the UK is ideally placed to offer its expertise in areas such as financing and innovation to the initiative.
In an earlier speech addressing investors in London, Ambassor Liu Xiaoming explained that in the first three quarters of 2016, China's trade with and investment in countries along the Belt and Road totaled 689.9 billion and 11 billion US dollars respectively. Infrastructure projects have also seen substantial progress with the construction of the Eurasian railway networks being one of the highlights.
On 18th January, the first direct freight train linking China and the UK arrived in London, marking the latest outcome of China-UK cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative. The freight train, loaded with cargo worth some 5 million US dollars, completed a cross-continental journey of 12,451 kilometers before finally arriving in London.