Promote the Steady and Sustained Development of the China-UK Relationship on the Right Track
Ambassador Zheng Zeguang Wrote an Article for People’s Daily
13 March 2022
On March 13th, 1972, China and the UK signed and published the Communiqué on an Exchange of Ambassadors. This year, as we mark the 50thanniversary of this milestone event in the history of the China-UK relationship, the two countries should seize the opportunities, face the challenges head on, and work together to achieve steady and sustained development of the relationship on the right track.
China and the UK have maintained frequent high-level exchanges, which is the strong driving force for the development of the bilateral relations. The two sides have established the Economic and Financial Dialogue, Strategic Dialogue, High-Level People-to-People Exchange and dialogue mechanisms in many other areas. Last October, in his telephone conversation with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, President Xi Jinping comprehensively elaborated on China’s principled position on how to develop China-UK relations, pointing the direction forward for the two sides in promoting the steady and sustained development of the relationship under the current circumstances.
Practical cooperation between the two countries have kept expanding, covering areas of trade, investment, financial services, science and technology, health care, clean energy, digital economy, green finance and FinTech. Bilateral trade in goods increased from a little over 300 million US dollars 50 years ago to more than 110 billion US dollars in 2021. China has been the largest source of imported goods in the UK for seven quarters in a row. The two countries have also maintained communication on international and regional issues, especially enhanced cooperation in recent years on global issues such as fighting Covid-19, addressing climate change and preserving biological diversity.
The two countries have deepened exchanges in areas of education, culture, sports and tourism. Before the pandemic, mutual visits per year was close to two million. At the moment, over 220,000 Chinese students are studying in the UK.
Cooperation serves the interests of China and the UK as well as the world. It is the best choice for both sides. Given the different national conditions, China and the UK should seek to develop together on the basis of mutual respect, and work for win-win results by seeking common ground. Looking to the future, the two countries should proceed from the fundamental interests of the peoples of both countries and the people of the world, resist disruptions, overcome obstacles, and continue to move the bilateral relations forward.
We should keep to the right direction of China-UK cooperation, which is the correct choice that serves the interests of both countries and meets the common aspirations of both peoples. We should firmly oppose the wrong remarks and actions that advocate decoupling from China, clamour for “China threat” and hype up ideological confrontation. We should keep to dialogue and cooperation, and put the relationship on the right track.
We should tap the enormous potential of China-UK cooperation. The two sides should leverage their respective strength to deepen the cooperation in traditional areas, explore ways to work together in new areas, and expand practical partnership in third markets. It is also important to enhance communication and coordination on international and regional issues, and join hands to meet global challenges. This will bring more benefits to the peoples of both countries and promote world peace and prosperity. The UK is welcome to participate in the Global Development Initiative proposed by China and inject driving forces to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
We should avoid creating obstacles for China-UK cooperation. Fifty years ago in the Joint Communiqué, the two countries confirmed the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs and equality and mutual benefit; the UK side acknowledged the position of the Chinese Government that Taiwan is a province of the People’s Republic of China, and recognized the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal Government of China. These principled positions form the important cornerstone for the establishment and development of diplomatic relations between China and the UK, and must be observed at all times.
We should boost public support for China-UK cooperation. Friendship between the peoples is the strong powerhouse for the continued growth of China-UK relations. The two sides should explore more channels and provide facilitation for people-to-people contact, especially between the young generation. It is also important to deepen exchanges and cooperation in areas of education, culture, sports and tourism.
Now is a new starting point. China and the UK should maintain sound communication and work closer together to contribute to an early victory over Covid-19 around the world, better global governance and greater development and prosperity. Joining hands, the two countries can create a brighter future for their people and beyond.