China / Politics

Cultural ties vital to China, UK, Li says

By ZHOU WA and ZHAO YINAN (China Daily) Updated: 2014-04-24 02:29

Premier Li Keqiang called for more cooperation between China and the United Kingdom in cultural fields including education, health, youth exchanges and tourism, as the two countries held a high-level people-to-people dialogue on Wednesday.

Beijing and London should do more to create flagship programs in people-to-people exchanges, to deepen the understanding between the countries' citizens, Li said during a meeting with visiting British Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt.

The people-to-people dialogue has boosted the high level of China-UK cooperation and pushed forward their comprehensive strategic partnership, Li said.

Hunt said the UK wants to enhance high-level exchanges with China and improve China-UK cooperation in culture, education, health and other areas.

Earlier on Wednesday, Vice-Premier Liu Yandong and Hunt hosted the Second Meeting of the China-UK High-Level People-to-People Dialogue. The meeting is the first of its kind held in China since its establishment in 2012. The first session was held in the UK.

Liu described people-to-people exchanges as a "booster" for bilateral relations.

The two sides should "promote communication between the two countries' citizens, especially between the two younger generations", Liu said.

According to Liu, there are more than 100,000 Chinese nationals studying in the UK, making the country one of the largest recipients of Chinese students in Europe, while more than 5,000 British students are studying in China.

There are 25 Confucius Institutes and 92 Confucius Classrooms across the UK, ranking it No 1 among the EU states for having the most schools. More than 600 schools in the UK have started Chinese classes.

This dialogue is the third of its kind between China and a major country. Similar dialogue mechanisms have been established with the United States and Russia.

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