Xi, Cameron voice hopes for Sino-British ties to deepen

2015-10-19 08:09Global Times Editor: Li Yan

Candid exchanges during UK visit set examples for Europe

In interviews ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the UK, Xi and British Prime Minister David Cameron said that they expect to deepen Sino-British relations and advance practical cooperation between the two countries.

Analysts believe that the interviews are setting the tone for Xi's state visit to the UK and a warm China-UK relationship will play a model role in boosting cooperation between China and other European countries.

Xi will arrive in London Monday, and will leave on Friday.

In an interview with Reuters released Saturday, Xi said that he hopes his trip will chart the course for future growth in Sino-British relations, inject new impetus in practical cooperation between the two countries in all fields and enable them to jointly usher in a "golden time" for the China-UK comprehensive strategic partnership.

Cameron also said in a China Central Television news program, broadcast on Sunday, that he welcomes Xi's state visit to the UK, adding that the relationship between the two countries has entered a "golden era" and it is a rare opportunity to deepen China-UK relations.

"Giving an interview before a state visit has become a diplomatic routine for Chinese leaders. It sets the tone for the trip and will contribute to its smooth progress," Su Xiaohui, deputy director of the Department of International and Strategic Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times Sunday.

Su said that agreeing to an interview from the British media will help British citizens understand more about the visit, while Cameron's responses show his friendly intent toward the Chinese people.

Strategic choice

During the interview, Xi called the UK's statement that it will be the Western country that is most open to China as a "visionary and strategic choice" and said that China is ready to consider strengthening the connectivity of the financial markets of the two countries.

In the coming decade, China's overseas investment will continue to grow and is forecast to reach $1.25 trillion, Xi said, adding that China looks forward to engaging with the UK more widely, at a higher level and in greater depth.

Separately, Cameron said that the UK and China can work together on global issues like climate change and tackling poverty, and said that Chinese investment has brought many beneficial changes to both countries.

"Xi's visit sets a good example for further cooperation between China and other European countries. He has called for China and Europe to build four bridges of peace, growth, reform and progress of civilization to step up friendship and cooperation. Closer ties between China and the UK will boost cooperation between China and other European countries, especially on nuclear power plants, high-speed rail lines and other leading technologies," Su said.

In 2014, China-UK trade volume for the first time exceeded $80 billion, and China's imports from the UK have doubled in five years.

Cui Hongjian, director of the department of EU Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times that previously, there was some divergence in the two countries' cooperation, most of which was caused by misunderstandings.

"During this visit, Xi and Cameron can exchange ideas more frankly and better understand each other's political stances. It will help China and the UK remove divergences and seek more consensus," Cui said.

When asked about Chinese football, Xi said his greatest expectation is for the Chinese team to be one of the best in the world and for football to play an important role in making people stronger in body and mind. He vowed that in the next five years, football training will be introduced to 20,000 Chinese schools, which means huge potential for cooperation between China and the UK in the training of players, coaches and referees.


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