China-Britain 'global' partnership sealed with declaration, personal bonds

Source:Xinhua Published: 2015-10-23 10:03:16

China and Britain issued Thursday a joint declaration on building a "global comprehensive strategic partnership for the 21st Century," and visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping is adding personal chemistry to cement the ties.

The declaration specified the bilateral relations with pledges of joint efforts in fields ranging from the internationalization of China's currency RMB and China-European Union (EU) free trade to cyber security and climate change.

Xi's visit to Britain, the first one by a Chinese president in a decade, was hailed to have opened a "golden era" in China-Britain relations featuring enduring, inclusive and win-win cooperation.

"The two sides recognize the global significance and strategic importance of stronger China-UK relations in promoting global peace, stability and prosperity," the declaration said.

The two sides will enhance trade and investment as well as political trust based on equality and mutual respect, it said.

Britain "welcomes the progressive participation of Chinese companies in its civil nuclear energy projects," it said, one day after Chinese and French companies signed an agreement to build a British nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in southwestern England.

British Prime Minister David Cameron described the deal as "historic" as the project, with the Chinese side taking a one-third stake, would provide reliable, affordable energy to nearly 6 million homes and create more than 25,000 jobs.

Both sides have a strong interest in cooperating on each other's major initiatives, namely China's "Belt and Road" Initiative and Britain's National Infrastructure Plan and the Northern Powerhouse. They will further discuss a "China-UK infrastructure alliance," said the declaration.

Britain reassured its supports to the inclusion of RMB into the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) special drawing rights (SDR) basket.

Both sides support the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange to carry out a feasibility study on a stock connection, according to the declaration.

The two countries call for the swift launch of a joint feasibility study for a China-EU Free Trade Agreement.

They would also establish a high-level security dialogue, with both sides agreeing not to conduct or support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, trade secrets or confidential business information, the declaration said.

Multilateral cooperation would be increased to tackle the conditions that give rise to terrorism and extremism, it added.

Personal chemistry

While the declaration focused more on political and economic collaboration, Xi is bringing more cultural flavor and personal bonds to the ties during the visit.

Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan bid farewell to Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace on Thursday before their trip to Manchester.

Xi expressed his sincere appreciation for the hospitality and thoughtful arrangement made by the British royal family, government and people, saying the visit has given him a "deep and beautiful impression."

Later in the day, Xi addressed an opening ceremony of an annual meeting of Confucius Institutes in Britain, saying the essence of Chinese and British cultures has brought a fantastic "chemical reaction" into their own people's way of thinking and lifestyle through people-to-people exchanges.

By attending the event, which included a student's recitation of Xi's poem praising a hardworking county official, the president is apparently winning more hearts and minds.

Steve Bradley, a professor of economics at Britain's Lancaster University, said he was so proud of his student who cited the poem.

"It's very important that the president comes to support the Confucius Institutes and Classrooms around the UK. It helps our relations to be strengthened over the next few years," Bradley said.

Professor Lutz Marten, director of London Confucius Institute, said he agreed with Xi that true cooperation between countries involves people and hearts.

"It is through exchange visits, through learning about language, culture and literature that relationship between the two countries become meaningful," Marten said. "I believe only on the basis of this can we build successful political and economic collaboration."

Since his arrival in Britain, Xi has in many speeches reviewed friendly exchanges between the two countries in history and modern days.

He cited how 24 Chinese naval cadets took part in the Normandy landings during World War II and received personal thanks from Winston Churchill for their gallantry, and how China helped save a British military medic earlier this year who contracted Ebola virus while volunteering in Sierra Leone.

On Thursday, Xi also met a group of British friends including former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Stephen Perry, chairman of the 48 Group Club, an independent British business network committed to promoting links with China.

The president thanked for their painstaking efforts to make China-Britain relations remain unshakable and become firmer, saying he hoped that they would continue to support the development of bilateral relations.

Perry told Xinhua after the meeting that he had the feeling that Chinese and British enjoyed being together.

"It was much more than just business," he said. "My wish that Britain develops a special relationship with China has been launched in a very real way."

Later in the day, Xi will also dine and hold talks with Cameron at the latter's country retreat, Chequers.

The two leaders were expected to exchange views on issues of great concerns in the private talks.

"The effect of Britain-China relations is to enable the two to discuss any world affairs as friends and not trying to push views on the others," Perry said. "This enables them to work together to find solutions."

Read more in Special Coverage:

Posted in: Diplomacy

blog comments powered by Disqus