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China, Britain lift ties to “global” level

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and British Prime Minister David Cameron meet media after their talks at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, Oct. 21, 2015. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)

LONDON, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) — China and Britain agreed Wednesday to raise their ties to a “global comprehensive strategic partnership” in the 21st century. The two countries will open up a golden era of enduring, inclusive and win-win relationship and jointly create a brighter future for bilateral relations, visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping told a joint news conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron after their talks.

China and Britain are both major countries with significant influence, and now their partnership is standing at a new starting point, the president said, urging the two countries to seize opportunities to promote their ties.

The two leaders achieved important consensus on bilateral relations as well as international and regional hotspot issues, according to a statement issued after the Xi-Cameron meeting at 10 Downing Street.

It is the right time for the two sides to deepen their bilateral relationship and mutually beneficial cooperation as their “comprehensive strategic partnership” is embracing the second decade, Xi said during the meeting.

Britain has pledged to be China’s best friend in the West and the most open partner of the world’s second largest economy.

Xi said China appreciates Britain’s stance and is willing to make joint efforts to ensure the bilateral relations remain enduring and stable on a higher level.

The two countries should respect each other’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity as well the development path, and treat each other with an open and inclusive mind, the president said.

As long as both sides stick to mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, inclusiveness and mutual learning, the China-Britain relationship can develop in an enduring, stable and healthy way, he said.

China will encourage its enterprises to invest in north England, and it welcomes Britain’s decision to be the first major Western country to become a prospective founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Xi said, adding that China also seeks Britain’s support in joining the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Xi’s state visit, the first by a Chinese president in a decade, is bearing rich fruit as a series of agreements have been reached covering many big projects.

Britain is ready to expand cooperation with China in finance, energy, creative industry and visa policy, Cameron said during his talks with Xi, adding that his country welcomes Chinese investment and supports China in reaching a free trade agreement with the European Union.

The two sides agreed to maintain high-level exchanges and enhance communication and cooperation on such issues as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, international economic and financial governance, climate change and peacekeeping, according to the statement.

They also vowed to promote cooperation in fields ranging from trade, finance and infrastructure to high-end manufacturing, new energy, environmental protection, bio-pharmaceutical technology and capital market, and expand people-to-people exchanges.

The two countries also pledged to maintain communication and cooperation within the framework of the United Nations, according to the statement.

In the news conference after their talks, Xi said that during his visit to Britain, some inter-governmental and business cooperation documents would be signed, including one concerning the Hinkley Point nuclear power station. Cameron said the project would provide reliable, affordable energy to nearly 6 million homes and create more than 25,000 jobs.

“Our relationship goes beyond trade and investment,” said Cameron at the news conference. He called China and Britain “global powers” with shared interests in a stable and modern world.

As permanent members of the UN Security Council, the two countries should deepen cooperation across the globe, Cameron said.

Ramon Pacheco Pardo, a senior lecturer in international relations with King’s College London, said it is time to lift the China-Britain relationship to a new level.

Economic links still dominate Britain-China relations, yet issues ranging from climate change to post-conflict reconstruction are now part of the relationship as well, Pardo said.

Noting that British perceptions of China have been improving over the past few years, he said that despite the misgivings that some have about Chinese foreign and economic policy, for the most part Britain has recognized that China is becoming more of a cooperation partner.

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