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UK wants no limit to relations

By Zhang Chunyan in London | China Daily | Updated: 2013-11-30 08:15

There should be no limit to the cooperation that China and Britain are looking to, British Prime Minister David Cameron told China Daily on Thursday.

Cameron, who will begin a three-day visit to China on Dec 2, said in a face-to-face interview that he sees this visit as the start of a bigger, stronger and deeper relationship between the two nations.

The 47-year-old leader of the British government said he also wants to see the Chinese economy continue opening up as was outlined by the Third Plenum of the Communist Party of China's 18th Central Committee.

The report, issued by the plenum, "talks about opening; it talks about the importance of intellectual property reform; it talks about the importance of using the market to distribute goods and services," Cameron said.

"I think it's a very important document which we are studying very closely."

Cameron also said "there is a real opportunity that we want to be a part of China's future success".

Cameron said the British government welcomes investment from Chinese companies in infrastructure projects, including its high-speed railway, known as HS2.

The United Kingdom's planned HS2 will connect London with cities such as Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield. The first phase of HS2 construction, between London and Birmingham, will begin in 2017, and the railway is expected to open in 2026.

"We already see Chinese investment into Heathrow Airport, into Manchester Airport and of course into Hinckley Point Nuclear Power station," he said.

Britain is probably one of the most open countries in the world in terms of welcoming Chinese investment, Cameron stressed, citing China's high-tech giant Huawei's investment in the UK as an example.

He added that he wants to make sure that investment goes both ways. "We want a win-win situation, and that's partly what my visit is about."

China and Britain have strong trade and investment relations. According to the Chinese embassy in the UK, from January to October, China-UK bilateral trade increased 7.5 percent with a total volume of $56.1 billion.

China is UK's second-largest trading partner, outside the EU. Bilateral trade is expected to hit $100 billion by 2015.

Since 2013, Chinese companies have invested or are planning to invest in more than 10 major projects in Britain worth nearly $5 billion.

These projects cover a wide range of areas, including infrastructure and real estate.

But according to Cameron, "we are going to see even more infrastructure cooperation".

He also highlighted that bilateral relations "should include high-level diplomatic relations, high-level business and trading relations, but also we should not underestimate the people-to-people dialogue and also the importance of cultural relations".

Before leaving the UK, Cameron visited London's Victoria and Albert Museum for a special exhibition, "Masterpieces of Chinese Painting: 700-1900".

"I think this exhibition is absolutely superb," he said. "Because students in the UK have learned a lot about European art and architecture but haven't learned as much about the breadth, range and depth of Chinese art."

Major contributors

Cameron also noted that Chinese people in Britain make an immense contribution to the society. "If you look at all the figures, the Chinese community in Britain has one of the lowest unemployment rates, the lowest crime rates and one of the highest rates of educational attainment. They make a major contribution to our country and are extraordinarily welcome," he said.

Cameron added that Chinese students are always welcome to come to the UK to study.

"They have to have an English-language qualification and a place in a British university, but as long as they have those two things, there is no limit on the number that can come," Cameron said.

Wang Mingjie contributed to this story.


UK wants no limit to relations

British Prime Minister David Cameron (right) takes a look at the newly discovered and previously unknown oil sketch painting by John Constable entitled Landscape with a Kiln from 1821 or 1822 on a visit to the "Masterpieces of Chinese Painting: 700-1900" at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London on Thursday. Cameron will start a three-day visit to China on Dec 2. Matt Dunham / Associated Press

(China Daily 11/30/2013 page8)

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