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Ideology should not impede engagement: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-08-29 20:56

When he arrives in Beijing on Wednesday, United Kingdom Foreign Secretary James Cleverly will become the first top diplomat of the UK to visit China since Jeremy Hunt in July 2018. Whatever the result of his talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, the visit sends a message that both sides attach importance to engagement.

Despite the fact that UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in November last year that the "golden era" of relations with China was over, he also said that China's significance in world affairs could not be ignored.

Whatever Cleverly's personal opinion on UK-China relations may be, he said in a speech at London's Mansion House in April that it is his department's task to shape the course of future events, not succumb to fatalism. Given that, he must understand that it is an inescapable fact that no significant global problem — from climate change to pandemic prevention, from economic instability to nuclear proliferation — can be solved without China.

It goes without saying that, despite appearances to the contrary, Cleverly is not alone in the UK government in believing that it is important to develop good relations with China, or that at least the UK should rebalance its ties with Beijing, demonstrating more strategic autonomy as a key player on the world stage.

China, on its part, has never changed its stance and it is willing to develop relations with all countries on the basis of equality and mutual respect. The UK is no exception to that. The once-heralded "golden era" of Sino-UK ties has been prematurely and unilaterally terminated because the UK has been unable to accept that the world has changed. It is the UK that has failed to realize the risk of sticking to the outdated Cold War mentality in developing ties with countries with which it has differences.

The world faces grave common challenges such as climate change, the anemic post-pandemic economic recovery and the distorting and breaking of the global industry and supply chains. The international community will not be able to deal with these challenges without the concerted endeavors of all countries, especially the joint efforts of major countries.

China has put forward the Global Development Initiative, Global Security Initiative and Global Civilization Initiative with the aim of pooling global efforts to respond to the challenges standing in the way of sustainable development, and promote the well-being of humanity.

It is hoped that the UK foreign secretary can pay a visit to China with an equally problem-solving mentality and make due efforts to develop healthy and sustainable relations with China.

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