World / Europe

China-UK ties to remain strong despite Brexit, envoy says

By Cecily Liu in London ( Updated: 2016-07-01 07:35

China-UK relations will stay strong on despite Britain's decision to leave the European Union, said Liu Xiaoming, Chinese ambassador to the UK.

Liu, who was speaking on Thursday at the Young Icebreakers 8th Annual Dinner, said China respects the choice of the British people, and Britain's choice for its own development path, and hopes that the UK and EU will consult and negotiate and reach an early arrangement that is acceptable to both sides.

In particular, he said China's relationship and business exchanges with the UK will stay strong, and the two countries' cooperation to tackle issues of global significance will continue.

"Firstly, China values its relations with the UK. This position remains unchanged whether the UK is in the EU or out of the EU; we will take strategic long-term perspective. China and the UK are countries of global influence. A healthy, stable and win-win partnerships between China and the UK serves not just the fundamental interests of our two peoples but also peace and prosperity of the world," Liu said.

"We hope that regardless of any British domestic political changes, a positive relationship with China will remain the consensus for both the UK government and also the opposition political party."

Secondly, China is committed to business cooperation with the UK, and this position remains unchanged, said Liu.

"Given the immediate market fluctuations and uncertainties, Chinese businesses will inevitably need to be more prudent and stay cool-headed. But in the long run there is no way our bilateral collaboration should be allowed to go down. We are respectively the world's second and fifth largest economies, that means we have much to offer to each other and there is huge potential for cooperation," said Liu.

Liu said that as testimony to this booming business relationship, in June two direct flights between China and the UK have just been launched. The first is between Beijing and Manchester, operated by Hainan Airlines, and the second is between Tianjin, Chongqing and London, with Tianjin Airlines.

"These business moves sent a clear message that Chinese businesses have confidence in the British market. China is taking a long term perspective. I'm confident Britain will do all it can to strengthen its economic understanding to attract foreign investors and to keep business open to Chinese investors," Liu said.

Thirdly, China continues to attach importance to its cooperation with Britain on global issues and this position remains unchanged, Liu said.

China and the UK are now engaged in comprehensive global strategic partnerships for the 21st Century based on the two countries' international responsibilities and commitments.

China will host the G20 summit in Hangzhou in September, where it will work with other G20 members to boost global growth and improve global economic governance, and China will also look forward to Britain's contribution to the summit, Liu said.

"It is also our hope that China and the UK will reinforce our cooperation on serious global issues including sustainable development, counter-terrorism, anti-corruption, anti-microbial resistance, etc. China and the UK working together have a great deal to contribute to the peace, stability and prosperity of the world, and sustainable deployment of the world."

Liu also said that China and the UK's cooperation so far this year is very strong, demonstrated through government exchanges, business cooperation and cultural exchanges.

Examples of flagship collaborations this year he mentioned include the Chinese Ministry of Finance's issuance of the first sovereign renminbi bond in London, and a cultural project to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the deaths of the great Chinese playwright Tang Xianzu and Britain's William Shakespeare.

"I hope China-UK relations will sail steadily forward in the right direction, and China and the UK will continue to ride new charters for the golden era of our two countries. In this way we will bring benefits to the peoples of both countries and beyond," Liu said.

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