Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday that China is ready to work with the United Kingdom to uphold multilateralism and free trade and promote the world's open and inclusive development.
He made the remark in a congratulatory message to participants in activities organized by the 48 Group Club commemorating the 65th anniversary of the "ice-breaking trip" to China made by a group of farsighted people from the British business community.
Li said that for more than 60 years the friendly British people, including those from the 48 Group Club, have been actively pushing forward trade, cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and the UK.
They have helped promote the country's reform and opening-up process and win-win cooperation between the two countries, Li added.
The spirit of the "ice-breaking trip" represents the active willingness of the British people to develop friendly cooperation with China, and also demonstrates the unstoppable trend of human societies toward open and inclusive development, he said.
Li lauded the efforts made by the 48 Group Club in enhancing the China-UK friendship and said he hopes the organization will continue to carry forward the spirit of the "icebreaking trip" and make greater contributions to the deepening of friendship between the two peoples.
China stands ready to work with friends from various fields in the UK to make consistent efforts to strengthen bilateral relations on the basis of mutual respect and treating each other as equals, Li said.
In 1954, 48 businessmen from British companies, which later became known as the 48 Group Club, made the "ice-breaking trip" to China despite multiple hurdles, including a US-led Western embargo on the newly founded Asian country.
The founding ice-breakers were the first Westerners to establish trade relations with China. Jack Perry, founder of London Export Corp and the father of the chairman of the 48 Group Club, Stephen Perry, led the delegation.
Because of his contributions to China-UK friendship over the past years, Stephen Perry was awarded the China Reform Friendship Medal in December.