Britain-China partnership has potential to become model for major-country relations

Source:Xinhua Published: 2015-10-30 14:48:12

The current "golden" relationship between Britain and China has the potential to become a model for handling relations between major countries in the world, British experts have said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping made a successful state visit to Britain on Oct. 19-23, which was widely hailed as one that ushered in a "golden decade" for the two countries' global comprehensive strategic partnership.

"As has been shown in the results of President Xi Jinping's state visit to the United Kingdom, the relations between China and the United Kingdom have the potential to become a model for relations between a major developed country and a major developing country; between permanent member states of the United Nations Security Council; and between countries with different social systems," said Keith Bennett, a veteran China watcher.

As deputy chairman of the 48 Group Club, an independent business network committed to promoting relations between Britain and China, Bennett told Xinhua: "Such an achievement has been hard won and must be carefully nurtured and safeguarded."

The expert also pointed out that the state visit had struck a chord among the British public as a whole.

"Not only is the degree of attention from our country's political leaders unprecedented, but so is the level of press and media attention and public interest," he added.

He stressed that the cultural, educational and people-to-people aspects of the visit, including school visits, the Confucius Institute conference and the visit to Manchester City Football Club, had caught the public's attention.

"Strategic issues and huge business deals may have been at the core of the visit," but it was also strong on the societal front, he said.

Analysts also highlighted the two countries' positive responses toward each other in their evolving relationship.

Tim Summers, a British diplomat-turned-academic, said Britain, by announcing its intention to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), had demonstrated an understanding that "China has already become a significant economic power and that Beijing's approach to international economic governance matters and requires a positive and flexible response from other countries."

Commenting on an interview given by President Xi to Reuters ahead of the state visit, Summers said: "Successive British governments have been working to attract Chinese investment and increase trade with China for many years. If managed well, this can serve the interests of the UK and of its major trade and investment partners."

"I agree that the development programs of both British and Chinese governments create new opportunities for commercial collaboration, in China, the UK and in third markets," said Summers, who is also a senior consulting fellow with the Asia program at British think-tank Chatham House.

He suggested that the cooperation be developed "on a sustainable basis with sound research into the business opportunities and careful risk management."

During what was dubbed a "super state visit" to Britain, President Xi witnessed the signing of deals worth 40 billion pounds (61.5 billion US dollars), including a much talked-about project that would see China hold a one-third stake in Britain's first new nuclear plant in a generation.

"Whilst some deals, such as that involving nuclear power, have rightly earned the major headlines, it is also important to emphasize the broad range and scope of the numerous deals that have been signed in the course of this visit," said Bennett.

Bennett added that the deals, taken together, would have a major impact on the British economy, infrastructure and people's lives.

"However, as significant as they are, there is still potential for much more and the concept of a UK-China Infrastructure Alliance needs to be actively explored and taken forward," the expert said.

During the state visit, President Xi also stressed that China and Britain were becoming "a community of shared interests," and proposed to create a "community of common destiny for mankind."

"The concept of a community of common destiny is a wise and profound one, one that has common prosperity at its core," Bennett commented,

"A community of common destiny is actually the only sustainable and realistic option in the globalized world of the 21st century," he added.

"Initiatives such as One Belt One Road, the AIIB, BRICS and its New Development Bank, and many others are the building blocks of this new community of common destiny, one which is being built now for a shared, prosperous and harmonious future," he said.

Posted in: Diplomacy

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