Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

China, UK can write new chapter together

By Liu Xiaoming (China Daily) Updated: 2016-09-01 07:16

China, UK can write new chapter together

Francis Bacon, the 16th Century British statesman, observed that: "Time is the greatest innovator". Two months ago, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, and both Europe and the rest of the world felt the shock. Post-Brexit Britain is now in a time of adjustment-with the coming of a new prime minister, a new government and new policies. The China-UK relationship is also entering an important historical period with new development opportunities.

I have had the honor to have been China's Ambassador in the UK for the past six and half years. From this unique vantage point, I have been deeply impressed by the extraordinary progress made in China-UK relations in recent years. This progress was highlighted by President Xi Jinping's successful "Super State Visit" to the UK last year, which greatly advanced bilateral exchanges and cooperation across the board. During that visit, the two countries agreed to build a global comprehensive strategic partnership for the 21st century together.

Such a strong relationship and close friendship between China and the UK has extensive popular support in both countries, since it serves the fundamental interests of our two peoples and benefits world peace and development. Both countries have worked hard to come this far and both should cherish what has been achieved. Experience tells us that the important fundamentals for a healthy and stable China-UK relationship have remained unchanged-our two countries need to respect each other, treat each other as equals and attach importance to each other's core interests and major concerns.

Next year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of ambassadorial-level diplomatic relations between China and the UK. As I reflect on what this relationship has gone through and envision its future, I am convinced that a number of steps need to be made in order to maintain the momentum in the relationship and bring more benefits to our peoples. Below is a course of action I believe the two countries should follow.

First, we must make continuous efforts to build stronger political mutual trust. Mutual trust is the foundation for cooperation. Progress in China-UK bilateral ties is always powered by mutual understanding, support and friendship between our two peoples.

It is natural that our partnership will be accompanied by differences of views, as China and the UK differ in political systems, development stages and cultural traditions. But the old Chinese saying, "truth does not fear contention", embraces the spirit that can be followed to advance relations. Being fair in a dialogue requires the ability to "stand in others' shoes". Candid and in-depth communication and thinking from the perspective of one's interlocutor will help to build trust, expand consensus and clear misgivings.

Since the new British government took office in July, China has reiterated its unchanged commitment to growing ties with the UK. The new British government has also stated its position of attaching importance to relations with China.

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