Ambassador Liu Xiaoming Gives His Views on China’s Economy and Globalisation in an Interview with Lord O’Neill on BBC Radio
On 6th January 2017, BBC Radio 4 broadcasted a new episode of The New World programme entitled The New World: Fixing Globalisation, in which Ambassador Liu Xiaoming was interviewed by the renowned economist Lord O’Neill and shared his views on China’s economy and globalisation.
The transcript of the interview is as follows:
Jim O’Neill: As I said, when talking about globalisation, it’s kind of impossible to ignore China. I’ve become well-known for creating the acronym of BRIC, which refers to Brazil, Russia, India and China. China is bigger than the other 3 put together. And even growing by just 6.5 percent, slower than India’s rate of more than 7 percent, China will add the equivalent to nearly two “brand new” Indias before this decade is over. For further flavor of the staggering impacts China has on the world, I’ve met with Chinese Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming.
Ambassador Liu: The achievement China has achieved is really a miracle that has never been seen in the history of humanity. China has pulled 600 million people out of poverty just within 30 years. China has developed into a country which has more than 100 million middle-class population with the life expectancy tremendously increased to about 76 years. It is much higher than the world average and also much higher than any other developing country.
Jim O’Neill: Through this remarkable journey, China has become in many ways the most important country in world trade.
Ambassador Liu: As a matter of fact, China is the largest trading partner with over 120 countries and regions.
Jim O’Neill: 120, so more than half of the world’s population.
Ambassador Liu: Yes, very much so. China is also the largest export market for more than 70 countries and regions. Every year, China imports about 2 trillion US dollars of goods, so it is a huge market for many countries. And for the next 5 years, China will import more than 8 trillion US dollars of goods from the rest of world. So that shows what kind of contribution China is making and China is going to continue to make.
Jim O’Neill: But the challenges brought up by globalisation is not just about making sure people are trained and ready for new industries. What about those whose skills are no longer needed? The Chinese Ambassador explained how the Chinese government approaches this dilemma.
Ambassador Liu: We also have people in China who felt left behind in this economic, structural transformation, and you have to do away with overcapacities. For instance, there is a lot of talk about the steel industry. In fact, when I read news that 4,000 people have to be laid off in this country, I fully understand their feelings because we also face the same challenge to reallocate about 2 million steel workers.
Jim O’Neill: What’s the best way of doing though?
Ambassador Liu: You have to train these workers, and you have to create new start-up business. So on the one hand, we have redundant steel workers; on the other, there is still big demand for services, domestic care, logistic services, etc. So we can train these steel workers to work in these sectors.
Jim O’Neill: Maybe western policy makers need to consider doing more to boost the sharing of income for workers. And this of course is something I think China has been deliberately doing in a significant way in the past decade.
Ambassador Liu: Very much so. The wages of workers have been increased. And our government has also set the minimum level of basic wages that you have to guarantee. And lots of efforts have been made to improve the livelihood of migrant workers in the city. Every year, around 100 million migrant workers settle in the big cities. So the government made a lot of efforts, such as building affordable houses. The slogan in China is, “do not let a single person be left behind”.
Jim O’Neill: “Not a single person left behind.” But one can’t just assume that markets will be able to spread the considerable benefits of globalisation on their own. If we could solve this, globalisation has got lots of good to spread it to all, and it’s not stopping anytime soon. In fact, the Chinese are planning a new Silk Road that is gonna take it up to another gear.
Ambassador Liu: I regard this as new globalisation. One of the reasons why there’s resentment towards globalisation is that some people feel left behind and some countries feel left behind. So the purpose of the Belt and Road, or the main theme of it, is ‘inclusiveness’, to include all countries.
Jim O’Neill: So we are talking about countries like Kazakhstan.
Ambassador Liu: Yes. And Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and also many European countries along the Silk Road. For instance, in the past three years, the Eurasia Express railway has been very successful. 2000 trains have been in operation, transporting goods from China all the way to European countries.
Jim O’Neill: Going through Vienna, if I am not mistaken.
Ambassador Liu: Yes. The other road we are talking about is the new maritime Silk Road linking China to Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Indonesia, etc. Though China’s growth slows down a little bit, China is still an engine of the world economy. So China wants other countries to share the benefits of its growth. China believes it can only continue this momentum by linking with other countries.
On 15 January 2017, the Sunday Telegraph and its website published a signed article by Ambassador Liu Xiaoming entitled “China will play its part in the new globalisation”. The full text is as follows:
China Will Play Its Part in the New Globalization
Fifteen years after China’s accession to the World Trade Organisation, the “substitute nation” method for calculating anti-dumping measure against China has finally expired. This is according to Article 15 of the Protocol on China’s accession to the organisation back in 2001. It means fellow members should no longer discriminate against Chinese exports under “anti-dumping” measures.
The spirit of the contract is the foundation of the market economy and adherence to international treaties is one of the basic norms of the international law. All WTO members are obliged to ensure honest contractual performance and to uphold the authority of the multilateral trading regime, which in turn serves the interests of the members themselves.
Regrettably, however, both the United States and the EU, as well as a few others, have so far refused to fulfil their obligations under Article 15 by upgrading China’s WTO status. Indeed, the EU has gone further, intending to replace “non-market economy” criteria with “market distortion” criteria. These fancy concepts cannot disguise the undeclared intention to renege on international treaty obligations or even to misinterpret WTO rules in order to continue with anti-dumping cases against China. This, in essence, is protectionism, which not only jeopardises mutual trust and cooperation between WTO members but also undermines international confidence in multilateral trading regime and rules.
Pasta Sunt Servanda. Or as the Chinese say: “You can’t get a proper square without a ruler or a circle without a compass.” Both Western and Oriental wisdom emphasises the most fundamental principle of international law – that agreements must be kept. Over the past 15 years, China has earnestly fulfilled its WTO obligations, being an active and resolute participant in, upholder and contributor of the multilateral trading regime. On 1 January 2010, China fully completed its tariff reduction commitment well in advance, winning international acclaim. In 2016, China hosted the successful G20 Summit in Hangzhou, initiated the G20 Trade and Investment Working Group, and led the making of the G20 Strategy for Global Trade Growth. The Summit also laid out the first global framework of multilateral rules governing international investment. These are China’s contribution to global economic governance. It is now time for the US and the EU to fulfil their commitment.
Through its active participation in the multilateral trade system, China has made huge contribution to world economic growth. It is now the second largest economy, largest trading nation in goods and the biggest trading partner for more than 130 countries around the world. It is also the number one destination for foreign investment and second largest outbound investor. As an important powerhouse of the world economy, China in recent years has contributed 25 per cent to global growth.
At present, globalisation is in difficulty. International trade and investment is sluggish while protectionism is on the rise. However, anti-globalisation and protectionism offer no way out. The future of the world economy lies with economic globalisation. As a study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics finds, if the US placed 45 per cent tariffs on Chinese goods and 35 per cent tariffs on Mexico, and China and Mexico did the same to US goods and services, US exports and imports would shrink, consumption and investment would plunge, unemployment would rise, and economic growth would slow down to recession within three years.
Economic globalisation is in temporary adjustment and transition. That’s nothing to fear. What we must do is to adjust and adapt, and to build an upgraded version of globalisation. Countries should find the match between globalisation and their own development, address issues of fairness and justice, and work together to build a more inclusive world economy that benefits all.
There should be stronger support for the WTO’s multilateral trading regime and greater priority given to trade and investment facilitation and liberalisation. Fragmentation of regional trade agreements must be effectively addressed to ensure that trade arrangements are open and inclusive rather than closed and exclusive. If countries of the world work together to dovetail their development strategies and co-operation initiatives, they will be on the right path toward common development. China will continue to take an active part in that.
The complexity and challenges of the world economy call for countries to co-operate. The UK has always been committed to free trade and now to building a “truly global Britain”. China stands ready to work with the UK and other like-minded nations to advance a new type of globalisation, to oppose protectionism, to improve and uphold the multilateral trading regime, and to build an innovative, invigorated, interconnected and inclusive world economy.
Stronger China-UK Energy Cooperation Paves the Way for Building a Community of Shared Future
– Keynote Speech by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the UK Energy Investment Summit 2017
London, 26 January 2017
Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is a real pleasure to join you for the UK Energy Investment Summit. This summit focuses on a highly pertinent issue because energy is closely linked to our daily life. It is an important subject that bears on the trend of global economy and the future of mankind.
Indeed, how do we judge the trend of the world economy and the future of global governance? To try to answer this question, let me quote President Xi Jinping.
In his keynote speech not long ago at the World Economic Forum in Davos, President Xi said:
We should not blame economic globalization for the world’s problems. Rather, we should keep to the goal of building a community of shared future for mankind.
We should adapt to and guide economic globalization. We need to relentlessly pursue innovation.
We need to build an open global economy to share opportunities through opening-up.
We should deliver the benefits of economic globalization to all countries and all nations.
From the perspective of building a community of shared future, let me share with you my thoughts on the issue of energy and my suggestions for China-UK energy cooperation.
Talking about energy, the first thing we must admit is that energy makes it possible for building a community and a future where everyone has a stake. The history of human progress is, in a way, a history of discoveries of new forms of energy.
We have traveled a journey from the discovery of fire to the use of electricity, and from the excavation of fossil fuels to the rapid development of renewable energies. And every time, the discovery of a new source of energy and the replacement of the old always played a crucial role in human progress. The reasons are simple. Large scale exploitation and application of energy helps increase productivity in a dramatic way. This stimulates scientific and technological progress. This reduces the distance between countries and regions. And this drives economic globalization.
However, the development and use of energy also create environmental and security problems, which have posed challenges for us all. The growth of population and economy leads to immense increase of energy consumption. The global ecological and environmental system is now under huge pressure. Global challenges such as climate change and energy security are increasingly acute.
For all seven billion people on this planet, the earth is our only home. We have only one choice, and that is to cherish and care for our home. And there is only one way to do this, and that is to go green and go low-carbon. This is how we can grow the world economy in a sustainable way.
Just as President Xi said recently in Geneva,
“We must not exhaust all the resources passed on to us by previous generations and leave nothing to our children, or pursue development in a destructive way.”
“Clear waters and green mountains are as good as mountains of gold and silver. We must maintain harmony between man and nature and pursue sustainable development.”
In recent years, the idea of green development has prevailed in global energy governance. It is now an international consensus that energy cooperation should aim at the development of clean energy.
This is the spirit of sharing weal and woe and undertaking responsibility together. China and the UK, working in such a spirit, have respectively made unremitting efforts to advance the global energy governance.
The UK has been a world leader in energy related technology and innovation. It took the lead in the 18th century during the industrial revolution. It was among the first to build civil nuclear power plants in the mid-20th century.
In recent years, the UK has kept making progress in this field. Investment in new and renewable energy is increasing. Special laws are made and policies adopted to tackle climate change. The target is set for reducing emissions by at least 80% in 2050 from 1990 levels. And for the first time in 2016, wind energy provided 11.5% of UK’s total electricity output, overtaking coal generated power at only 9.2% of the total.
On part of China, it is now the world’s largest energy producer and consumer. In energy conservation, emission reduction and renewable energy development, China’s achievements over the years have been widely recognized.
We are committed to the new development concepts that focus on innovation, balanced growth, green economy, opening-up and inclusive development.
We are accelerating our efforts to build a modern energy system that is clean, efficient, secure and sustainable.
Our energy consumption structure has been constantly optimized. It is going through a gradual transition from the resource-intensive and low-efficiency model to one that is energy-saving and highly efficient.
In the future, China will remain committed to green and low-carbon development.
At present, China has greater installed capacity in hydropower, wind power and solar power than any other country in the world. Of the total energy consumption in 2016 (4.36 billion tons of standard coal), non-fossil fuel accounted for 13.3%, which was 1.3 percentage points higher than the previous year. In the first three quarters of last year, GDP per unit of energy use downed by 5.2% year on year. Such progress is largely attributed to green development.
Indeed, as urbanization and agricultural modernization remains an ongoing process in China, energy conservation and emission reduction becomes a daunting task. One example is the autumn and winter haze resulting from air pollution.
China is taking on this task. We will strive to make the growth in energy supply mainly green and low-carbon. To this end, we have set a number of targets to be met by 2020. These include:
Increasing the share of non-fossil fuel in primary energy consumption to 15%,
Increasing the proportion of natural gas to at least 10%,
And keeping the percentage of coal consumption below 58%.
This will enable us to reach the emissions peak before 2030.
On the world scene, China also played an active part in the negotiation of the Paris Agreement. China was among the first to ratify the agreement. China pushed the G20 to issue its first Presidency Statement on Climate Change. China also led the making of the G20 Voluntary Action Plan on Renewable Energy. The Presidency Statement and the Action Plan will help ensure the smooth and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement. China will continue to take steps to tackle climate change and fully honour its obligations.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Last year’s Brexit referendum and the UK’s government reshuffle caused some uncertainties in China-UK relations. However, our two countries have since then worked together to steady our relationship in time of transition and to sustain its momentum of development. Leaders of both countries reaffirmed the shared commitment to the “Golden Era” of China-UK relations and global comprehensive strategic partnership for the 21st century.
Energy cooperation features prominently in the win-win cooperation between our two countries. China and the UK have had cooperation in the field of fossil fuels, such as oil and gas. Meanwhile, our cooperation on clean and renewable energy is showing a strong momentum. Chinese companies are actively involved in Britain’s new energy projects, from nuclear power plants to offshore wind farms, from solar energy projects to biomass electricity generation. Their growing cooperation with the UK also includes next-generation green transport. The most familiar examples are the zero-emission electric bus and the ultra-low-emission London Black Cabs.
What is particularly worth mentioning is the package deal of the Hinckley Point C nuclear project. Its official signing by China, Britain and France last September was a milestone – a substantial step that China and the UK have taken in nuclear cooperation. This project will create more than 20,000 jobs and provide reliable energy supply to millions of British families. It will facilitate closer cooperation between China, Britain and other relevant countries on clean energy. It will help tackle climate change. It will drive the sustainable development in China, in the UK and beyond.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
We are now in an interesting time of profound transformation and massive changes. It is also a time of numerous challenges and increasing risks. Building a community of shared future for mankind is an exciting goal, and it requires all countries to undertake responsibilities and overcome difficulties together.
2017 is a year for consolidating the “Golden Era” of China-UK relations. 2017 also marks the 45th anniversary of the Ambassadorial-level diplomatic ties between China and Britain.
There are certainly new opportunities for China-UK relations. Energy cooperation, among others, should be our focus for producing more “golden fruits”.
I think there are a number of specific areas where we can strengthen our energy cooperation.
First, we should work to ensure the smooth implementation of the Hinkley Point C nuclear project. This is a flagship win-win project. We Chinese like to say: “Good things deserve good results.” British people say: “All is well that ends well.” We sincerely hope that this project will proceed smoothly, start to generate electricity on an early date and contribute to UK’s energy security.
Over the past 30 years, China has kept a good operation and security record. Our achievements in nuclear power development and security supervision have been highly recognized by international institutions. And we have always cooperated closely with our international partners.
I appreciate the UK government’s decision to start the generic design assessment of China’s nuclear reactor HPR1000, and we look forward to its early application in the UK.
We expect the British security assessment to be transparent and open, so that Chinese companies, like all foreign investors in the UK, will be treated equally and have their legitimate rights and interests protected.
Now, let me talk about the second area of energy cooperation.
Of all the fields where the next scientific, technological and industrial revolution could take place, the energy sector has the greatest potential. Here, China and the UK are well placed to work with each other and explore energy-related technology and innovation.
China is in a transition toward low-carbon development. There is a huge demand for new technologies and investment, and hence great business opportunities.
China has a complete nuclear industrial chain, mature nuclear power technology, world-class equipment building and rich construction experience.
China is also a world leader in the field of solar power technology, both R&D and application.
The UK leads the world in offshore wind power, tidal power, smart energy, distributed generation, carbon capture and sequestration, etc.
China and the UK can draw on our respective strengths in technology and resources. We can engage each other in win-win cooperation.
The third area of China-UK energy cooperation is opened up by the “Belt and Road” Initiative.
The “Belt and Road” Initiative is a major effort of China to strive for all-round opening-up. It is a platform for all-dimensional, cross-field cooperation among multi-entities.
Most of the countries along the “Belt and Road” routes are developing nations. The demand for energy facilities and electricity generation is huge. And so are the prospects for cooperation.
China is good at energy equipment building, development planning and facility construction, while the UK has strengths in financing and special services. Along the “Belt and Road” routes, there are demands for energy as well as interest in cooperation with international partners. Based on such demands and interest, China and the UK can engage regional partners in discussions over the content and form of multi-party cooperation and build an “energy silk road”. This will bring greater benefits not only to our two countries but also countries of the third market.
The fourth areas for China-UK energy cooperation is global governance regime.
Important outcomes on the issue of energy were reached at the G20 Hangzhou Summit. By highlighting the importance of efficient and clean energy in the future, the G20 demonstrated its unique role in global energy governance.
As members of the G20, China and the UK can work together on the following:
Greater energy policy dialogue and coordination.
Ensuring implementation of the G20 outcomes by all its members.
Increased investment in the energy sector.
Stronger monitoring system and an emergency response mechanism for the international energy market.
And improved energy security.
By working together, China and the UK can jointly contribute to a more efficient and inclusive global energy governance regime.
Last but not least, China and the UK can join hands to promote cooperation on climate change.
The Paris Agreement on Climate Change came into effect last November. It is a new chapter in the global response to climate change. It is a milestone in the history of climate governance. It is in line with the trend of global development. But it did not come easily and deserves to be cherished.
China and the UK have many common interests in tackling climate change. We have similar positions and share broad agreement on this issue. Both countries can play a leading role in the implementation of this agreement and contribute to the global cause of emission reduction.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
President Xi Jinping said this in his New Year message: “China believes that everyone belongs to one family in a united world.”
He went on to say in his speech in Davos: “As long as we keep to the goal of building a community of shared future for mankind and work hand in hand to fulfill our responsibilities and overcome difficulties, we will be able to create a better world and deliver better lives for our peoples.”
In just two days, we will ring in the Chinese New Year of the Rooster. In Chinese culture, the rooster is a symbol of hard-working, renewed vigor and good luck.
I am full of confidence and expectations for the year of the Rooster. I believe by working together China and Britain will enable greater progress in energy cooperation and contribute more “golden fruits” to the “Golden Era” of China-UK relations.
By working together, our two countries will make even greater contribution to green, inclusive and sustainable development in building a community of shared future for mankind.
On 2 February 2017, the Daily Telegraph published a signed article by Ambassador Liu Xiaoming entitled “Steady Chinese growth is lifting millions out of poverty”. The full text is as follows:
Steady Chinese Growth Is Lifting Millions out of Poverty
In his New Year message, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that China lifted another 10 million people out of poverty in 2016. Impressed by this number, some of my British friends came to me for the answer to why China was able to make such a remarkable achievement. I think the answer lies in not only strong and targeted policy measures to relief poverty but also sustained and steady economic growth to deliver greater benefit to more people. A bigger “pie” means that each and everyone’s share will be bigger.
Now, more and more economists have come to the point that, in the coming years, growth in China will not be a U or V-shaped rebound or experience a further dip. It is going to be L-shaped. This L-shaped curve means China’s economic growth, though slower than before, will sustain a steady speed.
This curve also means long-term steady growth. Indeed, 6pc to 7pc growth is slower than the double-digit rate a decade ago. However, this slower growth is resulting from the economic transition and upgrading that China has taken initiative to press ahead with and which are necessitated by future long-term growth. It shows that the Chinese economy is coming out of difficulties and entering a phase of “new normal” – with growth speed slightly downed for better quality.
Now, growth in China is powered by diverse sources and the economic structure has much improved. Domestic demand has replaced export as the major driver of growth. Innovation is bringing gradual changes to the old resource-intensive and investment-led growth model. As China commits itself to green and low-carbon development, slower yet steady growth helps, to a certain extent, relieve the pressure on resources and environment. So the current growth rate is more reasonable, more sustainable and more conducive to China’s long-term development.
To adapt to the L-shaped growth, China is making extra efforts to advance the supply side reform. This reform aims to solve an acute structural problem in China’s economy – the mismatch between supply and demand. Massive stimulation will be avoided so as to stop unwanted supply and cut excess capacity. Effective supply will be created to meet the fast upgrading consumer needs of the changing demography in China. The result will be a new and upgraded supply-demand balance and economic growth with better quality and higher efficiency.
At present, the challenges and potential risks in the Chinese economy, such as the debt level, the value of RMB, capital flight, etc., are attracting attention around the world. China is fully aware of them and has sufficient policy instruments in its tool kit to tackle these “growing pains”.
In terms of debt risks, total debt in China is only at the average level of the major economies. The share of foreign debt is too small to trigger systemic default. In addition, unlike some countries, China has put the money mostly in investment and construction rather than welfare or consumption. Such debt, backed by assets, will be paid. That is why China is able to lower the leverage ratio of businesses through market-based measures such as debt-to-equity swap.
With regard to the fluctuation of the RMB exchange rate, one only has to look at the positive fundamentals of the Chinese economy to know that there is no basis for RMB depreciation in the long run. China is not intended to devalue its currency to boost export. In fact, the RMB is showing strength and stability, compared with other global currencies, despite its slight depreciation against the US dollar. China will continue to work towards a market-based exchange rate regime. There is sufficient basis for the RMB to remain stable at a reasonable and balanced level.
As for capital outflow, it is only normal that capital should move in and out of China since China is working hard to build an open economy and a level playing field for businesses. China’s foreign reserve, despite of recent decline, remains the largest in the world, which would run a surplus after covering all China’s foreign debt and six months of imports.
As a response to the short-term capital outflow, China has strengthened the regulation and management of the foreign exchange market against “abnormal” operation.
Being the world’s second largest economy, China has contributed more than 25pc of world growth in recent years. In the age of globalization, we have a saying in Chinese that all countries are closely linked and “shall rise and fall together”. Just as the British often say, “we are all together”. Steady growth in China will continue to boost global growth. I am full of confidence for 2017, just as I am for China to continue to grow at a mid-to-high speed and make new contribution to the world economy.
On 13 March 2017, the Daily Telegraph and its website published a signed article by Ambassador Liu Xiaoming entitled “Britain is helping us build a new Silk Road”. The full text is as follows:
Britain Is Helping Us Build a New Silk Road
For more than 2,000 years, the Silk Road has borne witness to exchange and friendship between the East and West. With its tales of trade and travel down the ages, the route has traditions that have become a source of inspiration for those who seek new opportunities for common development. Now, China is looking to work with Britain in a new partnership, on a new Silk Road for today: the Belt and Road Initiative.
This is an ambitious idea proposed by President Xi Jinping, which aims to harness the potential of countries on the old Silk route – countries in Central Asia, West Asia, the Middle East, and Europe – to develop economic and trading partnerships through greater infrastructure and cultural links.
We are already seeing the fruits of this approach. In January, the first freight train from China’s eastern town of Yiwu arrived in London, extending Belt and Road (B&R) to the far western end of Europe. But there are other tangible results of this kind of enhanced, global cooperation. During President Xi’s state visit to the UK in 2015, China and the UK reached the agreement to dovetail Britain’s “Northern Powerhouse” with the B&R project. At the eighth China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue last year, where our two countries reaffirmed their shared commitment to closer B&R cooperation, Britain announced a £40 million capital injection into the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
Britain is a country of global influence and can be an important partner for China in B&R. Britain has many strengths and unique advantages that could give it a head start in B&R cooperation. It has a highly internationalised financial sector and mature professional services in law and consulting; it has prestigious think tanks and educational institutions as well as world-class R&D and innovation platforms. And, of course, it has a language that is spoken around the world, and close historical and cultural ties with countries along the B&R route.
These strengths and advantages put Britain in an excellent position to secure the opportunities the B&R has to offer. China and the UK can continue to advance their respective development strategies in tandem, can expand trade and investment, jointly explore and develop the market along the B&R route, and deliver greater common prosperity.
The world is an open and interdependent place. But some have lost their direction in the sea of globalisation. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, President Xi spoke out for responsible globalisation, calling for “an open global economy to share opportunities and interests”. This has much in common with Prime Minister May’s vision of a truly “Global Britain” that “embraces the world”. Both leaders understand that win-win results are only possible if we increase global connectivity and share the fruits of growth. Increasing connectivity along the new Silk Road is one way to achieve that.
That is why one of the key announcements in President Xi’s speech was that Beijing would host the “Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation” in May. In doing so, China is keen to show its responsibility as a major contributor both to the world economy and global cooperation. At the same time, this will be an opportunity to pool international wisdom in defining B&R cooperation in the years ahead.
There is already much to build on. B&R has so far received the enthusiastic support from more than 100 countries and international organisations. More than 40 have signed cooperation agreements with China, leading to a series of new projects and a surge in new jobs along the B&R route. In this way China and its B&R partners both benefit from a highly inclusive and dynamic initiative that is delivering benefits far and wide.
The forthcoming Forum in Beijing will be the most important international gathering to advance, as its theme suggests, “Cooperation for Common Prosperity”. So far, leaders from more than 20 countries across Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America have confirmed their attendance. Discussions at the forum will be devoted to infrastructure connectivity, commercial cooperation, industrial investment, energy and resources, financial support, cultural and people-to-people exchange, eco-environmental protection and maritime cooperation, among others.
The remarkable opportunities of “Belt and Road” cooperation are now up for grabs. With China, Britain can be a key partner, reaping the potential of these opportunities. By ensuring we pull together, the B&R initiative can, like the Silk Road before it, go a long way to delivering better lives for many millions of people, from Asia to Europe.
On 13 March, the China Daily UK’s “45th Anniversary of Ambassadorial Relations Between China and UK Special Edition” published a signed article by Ambassador Liu Xiaoming entitled Let’s achieve more ‘golden fruits’ during ‘golden era’. The full text is as follows:
Let’s Achieve More ‘Golden Fruits’ During ‘Golden Era’
Forty-five years ago today, on March 13, 1972, China and Britain upgraded their diplomatic ties to the ambassadorial level. This was a milestone in the history of China-UK relations. Today, by the WHO’s definition of the beginning of middle age, the China-UK relationship at 45 is entering a new phase of increased maturity.
Such maturity, honed by 45 years of wind and rain, is embodied by the 5 C’s, that is, the comprehensive, cooperative, coordinative, creative and constructive nature of China-UK ties.
This comprehensive relationship covers a wider range of areas than ever before and is taking on a greater global and strategic significance. From comprehensive partnership to comprehensive strategic partnership and then to global comprehensive strategic partnership for the 21st century, the China-UK relationship is now entering a “golden era” for all-round development.
The cooperative nature of this relationship is evidenced by the increasing quality and quantity and the maturing mechanisms of the bilateral cooperation. Together, China and Britain have established a series of high-level dialogue mechanisms, including the annual Prime Minister’s Meeting, the Economic and Financial Dialogue, the High-Level People-to-People Dialogue and the Strategic Dialogue, plus a few dozen ministerial-level consultations and dialogues. In many respects, China-UK cooperation is a pacemaker for China’s overall relations with the West.
Good coordination is another key feature of China-UK ties. The two countries have worked together effectively within multilateral frameworks, such as the UN and the G20. By coordinating their efforts on counter-terrorism, climate change, global governance and many other major regional and international issues, China and Britain have continued to make a contribution to world peace and development.
Being creative has helped the bilateral relationship achieve its potential. China and the UK have never stopped innovating where and how they can cooperate and have constantly created new highlights in their cooperation. The UK was the first major Western country to apply to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank; It was the first to issue and RMB sovereign bond; It is now the largest offshore RMB center outside China. As a major power in nuclear energy, Britain is also the first among all Western countries to welcome the investment from Chinese nuclear companies.
The constructive element is crucial to the China-UK relationship. The two countries have been able to handle their differences in a constructive way, managing to shelve or resolve differences and build and expand common ground. Against rising protectionism and anti-globalization, the constructive roles of China and the UK are all the more needed as they work together to share the responsibilities bestowed on them, to promote development, to advance globalization and to be the standard bearer of free trade.
We celebrate 45 years of ambassadorial relations not only to review what we have achieved, more importantly, it is an opportunity for us to look ahead into the future.
In China right now, delegates from all around the country are gathering in Beijing for the annual sessions of the National People’s Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference where comprehensive blueprints are drawn for the new year. For China, 2017 is a crucial year to implement China’s 13th Five Year Plan (2016-20), to deepen the supply-side reform and to advance the Belt and Road Initiative. For Britain, 2017 will witness the launch of the Brexit negotiations that is going to shape the UK’s relations with the EU. It will also see great efforts here in the UK to build a “one-nation government that works for everyone” and a truly “Global Britain”. Opportunities are up for grabs if China and Britain advance their respective development strategies in tandem and upgrade the level of cooperation.
Today, China-UK relations have come to a new starting point where both countries are faced with the task of building an enduring “golden era” for the bilateral ties. To achieve that, China and Britain need, as I summarized in a speech at the end of last year, mutual respect, mutual understanding, mutual trust and mutual exchanges. This is how the two countries can expand their shared interests, achieve new success in their cooperation, and manage their differences well. This is how the “golden era” can endure.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” In his Davos speech early this year, President Xi Jinping quoted this famous line from Charles Dickens. To create the “best of times”, China and the UK need to work together, seize the opportunities together and stand up against challenges together. We are lucky to live in the “golden era” and we are duty-bound to make it last.
We must cherish the “best of times” of China-UK relations and be more innovative in our cooperation in broader areas and greater depth to ensure that China-UK relations bear more “golden fruits” in this “golden era”.
Hand in Hand Towards a Promising Future
– Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming to Mark the 20th Anniversary of the Return of Hong Kong
Chinese Embassy, 26 June 2017
My Lords, MPs,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
A very warm welcome to the Chinese Embassy!
It is a real pleasure to have so many friends with us to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China.
On 1 July twenty years ago, the Governments of China and Britain held a handover ceremony to mark the return of Hong Kong. From that day on, China officially resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was established.
Hong Kong’s return to China was a landmark in China’s modern history.
It was a long-cherished wish coming true for generations of Chinese people, including compatriots in Hong Kong.
It was a significant achievement that left its mark in the history of the Chinese nation.
It was a pride for each and every Chinese to see Hong Kong’s bauhinia flag side-by-side with the five-star national flag.
Hong Kong’s return to China is a milestone in the history of Hong Kong.
After a hundred years of ups and downs, Hong Kong finally rejoined the motherland.
Hong Kong people have become the masters of the land they call home.
And Hong Kong has since entered into a new phase of development.
Hong Kong’s return to China is also a highlight in the history of China-UK relations.
The historical obstacle to closer ties between China and Britain was finally removed, sending the bilateral relations onto a fast track.
In the twenty years that followed, China-UK relationship grew from comprehensive partnership to comprehensive strategic partnership, and then to a global comprehensive strategic partnership for the 21st century.
Now, this relationship has entered a “Golden Era”.
On 1 July 1997, I had the honour to attend the handover ceremony. At the emotional moment when the Chinese national flag was raised, my heart was full of pride and excitement. It was a moment simply beyond words and most unforgettable in my life.
Today, when I look back at the extraordinary journey Hong Kong has traveled, I can appreciate more deeply what Hong Kong’s return truly means to Hong Kong, to China and to the world.
First, Hong Kong’s return marks the beginning of a new journey towards the great renewal of the Chinese nation.
In late 1970s, Mr. Deng Xiaoping, the courageous and insightful leader, first proposed the vision of “one country, two systems”. This innovative framework was first applied to the Hong Kong question.
Twenty years on, “one country, two systems” has been hugely successful in Hong Kong and Macau.
This policy has shown strong vitality.
It has been an enrichment to socialism with Chinese features in both theory and practice.
It opens up a creative new way for the peaceful reunification of China.
It heralds a new journey towards rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
It strengthens our confidence in achieving the ultimate unification of the Chinese nation.
Second, Hong Kong’s return marks a new phase of prosperity and development in Hong Kong.
Over the past 20 years, the Central Government of China has consistently and strictly adhered to the Constitution and the Basic Law.
The Chinese Government has been firmly committed to “one country, two systems”, “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” and high degree of autonomy in Hong Kong.
Thanks to this strong commitment:
Hong Kong has maintained prosperity and stability.
Hong Kong’s GDP has doubled.
Hong Kong remains a global centre of finance, shipping and trade.
Hong Kong continues to be one of the freest and the most competitive economies in the world.
Today, Hong Kong is the fourth biggest financial centre, the fifth largest container port and the eighth biggest trading entity in the world.
Hong Kong is also making steady progress in its democratic governance. From political stability, governance efficiency and regulatory quality to the rule of law, control over corruption, right to expression and accountability, many indicators are showing Hong Kong’s improvement over pre-handover years.
Third, Hong Kong’s return is a major innovation in terms of social and political system.
“One country, two systems” is a great invention. It allows the coexistence of the socialist and capitalist systems within one country.
This is unprecedented in human history. In Deng Xiaoping’s words, “Has any government in the history of the world ever adopted a liberal policy like this? Has any western country in the history of capitalism ever done anything like this?”
The successful practice of “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong shows that this solution proposed by China is absolutely feasible. It is a daring and successful experiment with different social systems.
Fourth, Hong Kong’s return sets a fine example of peaceful resolution of international disputes.
The Hong Kong question had existed for 156 years. It involved highly complex historical issues and contemporary disputes. However, China and Britain opted for new ways of thinking and explored untried solutions. After ten years of peaceful negotiation, the Hong Kong question was successfully solved and Hong Kong was returned to China.
Such a tremendous historical achievement is undoubtedly a result of joint efforts by China and Britain. It is an excellent example of addressing historical issues between states. It is also a contribution to world peace, development and progress.
In the past twenty years since Hong Kong’s return, the Chinese Central Government has given Hong Kong its strong backing. The people in Hong Kong and the mainland have worked hand in hand.
Thanks to all these, Hong Kong has maintained steady and robust growth. It has built up closer ties with the motherland. It has set out to embrace a future that is brighter than ever before.
However, there are still some worries in Hong Kong and in the world about the future of “one country, two systems”. Some are concerned that there might be a “policy change” by the Chinese Government.
I think these worries and concerns only reveal a lack of understanding of Hong Kong’s reality and the Chinese Government’s policy.
Hong Kong has been successful in the past two decades. That means “one country, two systems” is a good policy. A good policy will not change.
As President Xi Jinping said, “Whatever difficulties and challenges there are, our confidence and determination for the ‘one country, two systems’ policy remain unchanged, and our confidence and determination in implementing this policy remain unchanged.”
“One country, two systems” is an undertaking untried before. There is no precedent to follow. And there will inevitably be all sorts of problems on the way ahead.
But any problems that will emerge are “growing pains”. They are problems on our way forward. I believe through trial and exploration, “one country, two systems” will continue to be improved and become mature.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Before its return, Hong Kong had been a historical question between China and Britain. After its return, Hong Kong became an important bridge and bond linking our two countries.
As we move forward into a new era, we need to stay committed to the “one country, two systems” policy and maintain Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability in the long run.
We also need to enhance Hong Kong’s role as a bridge linking China and the UK as we advance our bilateral ties in the “Golden Era”.
To achieve these goals, I think the following three points hold the key.
First, we must be true to our commitment and strictly follow through “one country, two systems”.
The fundamental purpose of “one country, two systems” is twofold:
• to uphold national sovereignty, security and development interests,
• and to maintain prosperity and stability in Hong Kong.
“One country” is the underlying precondition for “two systems”. It should never be swayed or altered. Being a member of the big family of the Chinese nation is Hong Kong’s guarantee for long-term prosperity and stability.
We must stay true to our commitment:
That is, we must apply “one country, two systems” comprehensively and accurately. We must always make sure that this policy is not misinterpreted or misimplemented. This is in the shared interests of China and the UK.
Second, we must maintain confidence and seize the opportunities to build a better future for Hong Kong.
In the context of intense international competition, the Chinese Central Government will continue to make all-out efforts to support Hong Kong’s development. These include:
The Belt and Road Initiative,
The 13th Five Year Plan,
And the grand design of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Big Bay Area.
These will bring new opportunities to Hong Kong. They will also create new growth in China-UK and Hong Kong-UK cooperation.
All we must do is to keep up the confidence in Hong Kong’s future and seize the opportunities to deepen cooperation between China and the UK and between Hong Kong and Britain. This will make sure that we will all benefit.
Third, we must hold our bottom line and firmly oppose the so-called “Hong Kong independence”.
Hong Kong is an integral part of China. China brooks no division. There is no way out for so-called “Hong Kong independence”.
The British Government has made it clear on many occasions that Britain does not support “Hong Kong independence”. We commend this position of the British Government.
Clearly, the so-called “Hong Kong independence” will bring up nothing but harm and hazard. “Hong Kong independence” activities in whatever form must be firmly opposed. This is the bottom line that we must hold.
Here, I would like to make this absolutely clear:
The Chinese Government supports Hong Kong’s ties and cooperation with the world. However, we firmly oppose any interference in Hong Kong affairs by any foreign country under any excuse.
With this said, I hope that all sectors in Britain will respect the facts that:
Hong Kong has returned to China.
China has sovereignty over Hong Kong.
The “one country, two systems” policy must be seen in its totality.
Hong Kong-related issues must be handled appropriately.
I hope that by recognizing and respecting the above, we will continue to make Hong Kong a positive factor between China and Britain.
By recognizing and respecting the above, we will ensure that Hong Kong will continue to contribute positive energy to the “Golden Era” of China-UK relations.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As an old Chinese saying goes, “Do not let slip when the time comes. Do not let pass when opportunity knocks.”
I sincerely hope that people from all sectors in China and Britain will seize the opportunities before us.
And we must all work hand in hand to support Hong Kong’s development, to consolidate the cornerstone of Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, and to create a more promising future for Hong Kong.
Now, may I invite you to join me in a toast:
To a promising future of Hong Kong.
To the “Golden Era” of China-UK relations.
On 30 June 2017, the Daily Telegraph published a signed article by Ambassador Liu Xiaoming on its website entitled “Hong Kong – the pearl of the Orient – shines bright as before”. The full text is as follows:
Hong Kong – the Pearl of the Orient – Shines Bright as Before
July 1 marks the twentieth anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China.
For twenty years, the Chinese Government has stayed committed to the principles of “one country, two systems”, “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” and a high degree of autonomy.
Thanks to this commitment, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has enjoyed continued prosperity and stability and achieved widely recognized success in delivering vibrant growth, democratic governance and a free society.
Twenty years on, Hong Kong has doubled its GDP, sustained an annual growth rate that is higher than most developed economies and emerged unscathed from the Asian financial upheavals in 1997, the SARS epidemic of 2003 and the international financial crisis of 2008.
This metropolitan city has further consolidated its position as a global financial, trading and shipping hub. Today, it is the world’s fourth largest financial centre, the eighth largest trading entity, the fourth largest shipping register, the fifth largest container port and home to the world’s busiest air cargo terminal. Seventy of the world’s top 100 banks have set up offices here. For the past 20 years, Hong Kong has been one of the freest and most competitive economies in the world.
The citizens of Hong Kong enjoy unprecedented democratic rights, including in elections for the head of the local government – the last of which was held in March. The Legislative Council has had its seats increased from 60 to 70 and the election committee has been enlarged from 400 to 1200. We have higher voter registration and turnout.
Rule of law in Hong Kong has been strengthened, evidenced by its significant rise in world safety rankings from 60th place in 1996 to 11th place in the 2015.
Twenty years on, Hong Kong, as one of the world’s top rule-based societies, also leads in the Human Freedom Index and has kept a good record in protecting basic rights and freedom.
From political stability, governance efficiency, regulatory quality and the rule of law, to control of corruption, right to expression and systems of accountability, all indicators suggest that Hong Kong is doing far better than in pre-return times.
Twenty years after Hong Kong’s return, misunderstandings of “one country, two systems” and skepticism of Hong Kong’s future still exist among some people in Hong Kong and internationally. Like Gollum’s infatuation with the Ring in Lord of the Rings, some of them are entrenched in their colonialist illusion. Some extreme elements even clamoured for so-called “Hong Kong independence”. This will lead to nowhere but cost Hong Kong its prosperity and stability.
History does not lie. The past two decades prove that the “one country, two systems” policy has ensured common development of Hong Kong and China’s mainland.
It is the fundamental guarantee and best arrangement for Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability.
The problems and challenges Hong Kong faces at present are “growing pains” which will be healed by opportunities on the way ahead, like the Belt and Road Initiative and the grand plan of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Big Bay Area. These opportunities will sustain Hong Kong’s future growth and external cooperation.
Hong Kong is now an integral part of China. Separatist attempts, including for so-called “Hong Kong independence”, will not be tolerated, and foreign interference in Hong Kong affairs will be opposed.
Whatever the circumstances, China’s national sovereignty, security and development interests and Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability in the long run must be maintained. And as a fundamental policy, “one country, two systems” will be strictly followed.
Hong Kong since its return has increasingly become a bridge between China and Britain.
Ensuring Hong Kong’s success within the framework of “one country, two systems” is a shared commitment and serves the common interests of both countries. I hope the British people will realise the harm of so-called “Hong Kong independence” and share our commitment to maintaining Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, and to advance exchange and cooperation between China and Britain, and between Hong Kong and Britain.
For Hong Kong, 20 years of return is a landmark in its history and a new starting point towards a brighter future.
I have no doubt this “Pearl of the Orient” will continue to shine ever more brightly in the “Golden Era” of China-UK relations.
On July 4th, 2017, South China Morning Post published a signed article by Ambassador Liu Xiaoming entitled “Hong Kong’s continued prosperity depends on China”. The full text is as follows:
Hong Kong’s Continued Prosperity Depends on China
On July 1, 1997, the Chinese government’s sovereignty over Hong Kong was restored, ending over 100 years of separation from the motherland and heralding a new era of development for the city.
Since then, thanks to the strong backing of the central government and the concerted efforts of 1.3 billion Chinese, Hong Kong has forged ahead to notch up remarkable achievements.
The implementation of “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong has been a huge success. For 20 years, acting under the constitution and the Basic Law, the central government has stayed committed to the principles of “one country, two systems”, “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” and a “high degree of autonomy”.
The capitalist system and way of life in Hong Kong have remained unchanged, and the legal system in general kept intact.
The huge success of “one country, two systems” has been widely recognised, not only in Hong Kong but also in the wider international community.
Hong Kong has made steady progress in democratic governance, as a result of the continuous efforts of both the central and SAR governments, in accordance with the Basic Law and the decisions of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee. There is now greater democracy in the election of the chief executive and the Legislative Council, and citizens of Hong Kong enjoy unprecedented democratic rights and freedom. For years, Hong Kong has topped the world’s Human Freedom Index and its world ranking in the rule of law rose from 60th place in 1996 to 11th place in 2015.
Economic prosperity has continued despite three major tests in the past two decades: the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the severe acute respiratory syndrome epidemic of 2003 and the global financial crisis of 2008. Hong Kong emerged from these hard times unscathed – its GDP doubled and its position as one of the world’s freest and most competitive economies unchanged.
Today, as a global financial, trade and shipping hub, and China’s largest source of overseas investment, Hong Kong is fast becoming a strategic platform for renminbi internationalisation.
The World Bank’s record shows Hong Kong is doing much better than pre-handover years in terms of political stability, absence of violence, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, rule of law, control of corruption, and voice and accountability.
With the strong backing of the central government, Hong Kong has continued to make more friends, build closer ties and gain greater influence around the world. The city hosted the equestrian events during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. A number of other major international events, including the fifth East Asian Games and 10th annual events of the Asian Financial Forum, were also held in Hong Kong.
As a Chinese saying goes, “Greatness is nurtured through difficulties”. Two decades of success in Hong Kong have not come easily and deserve to be cherished. Looking ahead, as Deng Xiaoping said before the handover, continued prosperity and stability in Hong Kong depend on the implementation of suitable policies under Chinese jurisdiction.
The past two decades prove that “one country, two systems” is a suitable policy that is full of vitality. This framework enables Hong Kong and China’s mainland to develop hand in hand, and serves as the fundamental guarantee and best arrangement for the city’s long-term prosperity and stability.
This is a pioneering undertaking, and a political and social formula unprecedented in human history. Nowhere else in the world today are capitalist and socialist systems found coexisting under “one country”. There is no beaten path to follow and there are bound to be misunderstandings, and scepticism that must be overcome. The key to staying on track with “one country, two systems” is to adhere to the constitution and the Basic Law.
Since its return, Hong Kong has been an integral part of China. The people of Hong Kong share indivisible blood ties with the people of the motherland. And the future of Hong Kong is closely associated with the development of the motherland. Refusing to face up to this fact or staying entrenched in the colonialist illusion will not help Hong Kong achieve future development, prosperity and stability. Nor will any external interference in Hong Kong, under whatever excuse, or so-called Hong Kong independence, be tolerated.
Hong Kong’s unique geographical advantage lies in the strong backing of China’s mainland and its role as China’s gateway to the world. And, precisely because of these, Hong Kong has always been at the forefront of China’s reform and opening-up endeavour.
Now, Hong Kong has obtained a special “licence” to try out new things. The latest examples are the Hong Kong-Shenzhen stock connection and the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau bay area.
As China, the world’s second-largest economy, further deepens reforms, Hong Kong has the opportunity to consolidate its role in China’s growth and opening-up process, and, in turn, gain stronger advantages and embrace more promising prospects.
Hong Kong’s other unique advantage is its close business and cultural ties with Britain. It’s role as an important bridge between China and Britain will stand out in the “golden era” of the China-UK relationship, and therefore bring opportunities for Hong Kong’s development and enable the city to contribute more positive energy to Sino-British relations.
The 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return is a landmark in the city’s history, as well as a new starting point of a journey towards a more promising future.
We wish Hong Kong all the best in the years ahead.
Work Together for World Peace in China-UK “Golden Era”
– Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the Reception Marking the 90th Anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army
Chinese Embassy, 27 July 2017
General Richard Felton,
Major General Giles Hill,
Air Vice Marshal Warren James,
Generals, Admirals and Military Attachés,
Ladies and Gentlemen
A very warm welcome to the Chinese Embassy!
It is a great delight to have you with us tonight to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
Ninety years ago, the Chinese nation was at a life-or-death moment. The Nanchang Uprising in 1927 marked the beginning of the independent armed struggle led by the Communist Party of China. It also marked the founding of the armed forces which later became the PLA.
Ninety years on, tremendous changes have taken place. It has been an extraordinary historic journey for the PLA.
The ninety years have seen a long, arduous and heroic struggle.
Led by the Communist Party of China, the PLA has made indelible historic contribution to the liberation of the Chinese nation, to safeguarding China’s development and reforms and to upholding China’s sovereignty, security and development interests.
From the Long March to the Three Great Battles, and from disaster rescue to patrolling the South China Sea, the PLA has withstood all kinds of tests.
The PLA soldiers have dedicated themselves to the country and people.
The PLA is an army of victory and iron discipline, and an army of peace.
The ninety years have seen the PLA grow from strength to strength.
The PLA today consists of five different services, namely, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Rocket Force, and the Strategic Support Force.
It is now a modern military force with advanced weaponry and professional administration and operation.
It aims to become a top-notch military force with extensive IT application.
It has built up a strong capability to cope with different security threats and to carry out various kinds of military tasks.
Looking ahead, China aims:
To build a defense force that matches China’s international standing,
To ensure that the defense force meets the need of protecting China’s security and development interests,
To further advance reform of China’s defense system and military force,
And to provide a strong safeguard as China strives to realize the Chinese dream of national renewal and achieve the “two centenary goals”.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
President Xi Jinping recently said this:
“China will do well only when the world does well, and vice versa.”
Today, China remains committed as ever to world peace and common development. China’s military force, the PLA, remains a steadfast force to ensure world peace and stability.
First, China stays committed to the independent foreign policy of peace. China’s defense policy remains defensive in nature.
In recent decade, China’s military expenditure accounted for only 1.32% of GDP. That was far below the 2.4% world average. China’s per capita military spending was only one eighteenth of the US and one ninth of the UK.
China’s defense and military development is not targeted at any other country. It poses no threat to others. It will never go beyond the scope of ensuring China’s own national security.
Second, China pursues a new security concept that focuses on common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security.
China believes that no country can base its security on the instability of other countries.
China will continue to advocate peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefits.
China will promote the idea of building an international community of shared future.
China will work for international relations that regard win-win cooperation as the cornerstone.
The PLA is now engaged in international military and security dialogues more closely than ever before.
But the military-to-military ties we seek to strengthen are not based on alliance. They are not confrontational. They are not targeting any third country.
We are working for a fair and effective system of collective security and mutual trust.
Towards this end, we are building mechanisms of emergence notification, risk prevention and conflict control.
We are actively expanding military and security cooperation.
All these endeavors will help put in place a security environment that serves peace and development for all.
Third, China will make great efforts to advance international cooperation on military and security.
The PLA is already working with other military forces in response to different security challenges. These include both traditional and non-traditional challenges.
Since 2008, Chinese navy has been carrying out escort missions in the Gulf of Aden. This marks a major increase of exchanges and cooperation between the PLA and other countries in safeguarding the international sea lanes. So far, 26 Chinese fleets, including 83 naval vessels, have been sent to the Gulf of Aden and ensured the safe passage of nearly 6,400 ships from around the world. More than half of these ships are non-Chinese-owned or under the World Food Programme.
We are also strengthening defense and security cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and ASEAN Regional Forum.
We hosted multilateral security events such as the Xiangshan Forum.
All these endeavors have helped facilitate a security and cooperation framework in the interest of peace, stability and prosperity in Asia-Pacific.
China is also playing a constructive role on issues such as DPRK’s nuclear programme, Afghanistan, Iran nuclear deal, Syria, etc, by facilitating dialogue to maintain regional peace and stability.
Fourth, China will play an active and leading role in international peacekeeping and humanitarian missions.
In terms of peacekeeping, China is at present the largest contributor of peacekeepers among the P5 of the UN Security Council. China is also the second largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget.
Since 1990, China has sent a total of 33,000 peacekeepers. Thirteen Chinese soldiers sacrificed their lives for peacekeeping missions. Right now, there are 2,800 Chinese soldiers serving in nine missions including those in Mali and South Sudan.
In terms of humanitarian operations, over the past ten years, the PLA has taken part in nearly 30 international rescue missions. Chinese soldiers were in Africa fighting the Ebola virus. They were in the Indian Ocean searching for the missing Malaysian Airline plane. They were in the capital of Maldives tackling fresh water shortage. They were in Nepal helping with the rescue operations after the devastating earthquake.
The efforts of the PLA in peacekeeping and disaster mitigation are widely recognized and acclaimed. These missions are examples of China fulfilling its responsibility as a big country.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year marks the 45th anniversary of the Ambassadorial diplomatic relations between China and Britain. It is also a year for consolidating the China-UK “Golden Era”. In building stronger bilateral ties, we are facing new opportunities.
Not long ago, President Xi and Prime Minister May held a successful meeting during the G20 Hamburg Summit. The two leaders reaffirmed the shared commitment to building the China-UK “Golden Era”. They agreed to further strengthen strategic mutual trust, and advance exchanges and cooperation in business, culture and security between our two countries.
Military ties are an important part of the China-UK “Golden Era”. In recent years, bilateral military relationship has entered a fast track.
This is true in the following aspects.
Military-to-military exchanges at all levels have been frequent, cooperation expanded and mutual trust enhanced.
Exchanges and cooperation have expanded steadily to more areas across different services.
Our cooperation on counter-terrorism, anti-piracy, and search and rescue has been effective and fruitful.
In the coming autumn, we will be welcoming another port call by a Chinese naval escort fleet at Portsmouth. I believe this visit will further increase mutual understanding and friendship between our armed forces and strengthen military-to-military ties.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Peace is a lofty cause and a shared aspiration of all humanity. The world today is still not free from sufferings of wars and conflicts. Global problems such as terrorism, cyber security and public health remain severe. Security threats and challenges are growing and uncertainty and instability increasing.
To ensure lasting peace and overall security, the international community, including China and Britain, must work together. Likewise, to make the China-UK “Golden Era” strong and enduring, all sectors, political, military, business, both in China and Britain must work together.
I believe that by working together, we will ensure greater progress in the relations between our two countries and between our two armed forces.
By working together, China and Britain will make more and greater contribution to world peace and prosperity.
Now, may I invite you to join me in a toast:
To the 90th anniversary of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
To the China-UK “Golden Era”.
To world peace and prosperity.
On 21 August 2017, the Evening Standard and its website published a signed article by Ambassador Liu Xiaoming entitled “Chinese investment in the UK is an opportunity not a threat”. The full text is as follows:
Chinese Investment in the UK is an Opportunity Not a Threat
Britain is known to be liberal and open to foreign trade and investment. But these days in the British media we see another picture – a confusing mixture of paranoia about so-called threats of Chinese investment to UK’s national security, of exaggerations about China’s appetite to buy out Britain, and of talks about protection against investment from China. All these are both groundless and harmful.
First, the Chinese investment in the UK is mutually beneficial and win-win for both countries. So far, $18 billion of Chinese non-financial investment has come into a wide range of sectors here in this country. From infrastructure and equipment manufacturing to hi-tech, new energy and financial services, Chinese investment is creating new jobs, generating green, low carbon growth and bringing economic prosperity and stability.
The Hinkley Point project partly financed by the Chinese company CGN, for example, is expected to create 26,000 jobs and, upon completion, reduce nine million tons of carbon emission every year. The £250 million auto plant in Coventry built by China’s Geely Group will roll out a new generation of zero-emission cabs onto the streets of London by 2018.
The ABP Royal Albert Dock project brings in £1.7 billion of Chinese investment. This urban complex of offices, homes and retail commerce will give London its third business and financial district and drive the development of east London. Other major Chinese investors, such as Huawei and Wanda, are increasing their investment here and, in doing so, casting a vote of confidence in UK’s future.
Second, the UK’s unchanged commitment to staying open is key to boosting the confidence of foreign investors. Charles Dickens wrote: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. At this turning point for Britain, these words ring true. How the UK will choose between being more open and embracing the world, and lowering the portcullis and pulling up the drawbridge not only matters to Britain’s own future but concerns its global partners. As the Brexit negotiations continue and the ensuing uncertainties and negative impacts unfold, for Britain and for foreign investors, confidence is more valuable than gold.
After the Brexit Referendum, the British Government reiterated its commitment to free trade and its opposition to protectionism. The vow was to strengthen business ties outside the EU and build a truly global Britain”. Now is the time for Britain to reaffirm its commitment, to shore up confidence and certainties for its global partners rather than to needlessly tighten up reviews and leave them in doubts and hesitation.
Third, being open and inclusive has been one of the keys to Britain’s continued success. These qualities have over many years enabled this country of 240,000sq km and 65 million people to remain globally visible and wield considerable influence in international politics, economy, science, technology and culture.
One case in point is the City, the “square mile” that is not only the heart of London and the soul of the British economy but also a centre of global finance. This could not have been possible without the kind of openness to business and inclusive regulatory environment the City has long hold on to. The UK on its way to building a “Global Britain” needs to live up to such spirit and welcome international investors, as this is how Britain passes on its success story to future generations.
Fourth, investment from China will not and cannot pose a threat to the UK’s national security. Chinese investment in Britain is made through fair and transparent procedures, and mainly focuses on civil and livelihood-related areas. In key infrastructure projects such as communication and nuclear plants, Chinese investors have been widely recognized to have strictly adhered to British laws and regulations in environment, health and security, and fulfilled their corporate social responsibility.
The UK’s inspection and monitoring system regarding foreign acquisitions, underpinned by the UK Company Law, the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and other laws, should be a source of confidence.
People who know little about Chinese companies operating internationally often point at their state-owned background or potential security risks. But the fact is many state-owned enterprises in China are listed companies. Their operation is similar to that of European or American multinationals and their business performances are completely open and transparent.
Normal project assessment, security review or environmental evaluation on acquisition cases is understandable. But in carrying out these procedures, Britain should make the right decision and maintain its confidence rather than being swayed by protectionism or looking at Chinese investment through Cold War-tinted spectacles. Chinese investors came here for cooperation and win-win results, and they look for a business friendly and welcoming environment.
I hope they will find what they look for. I hope facts will show they have made a right decision by investing in the UK.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos early this year, President Xi Jinping called for “developing global free trade and investment, promoting trade and investment liberalization and facilitation through opening-up and saying no to protectionism.”
China and Britain should join hands to advance economic globalization, to increase trade liberalization and to enhance investment facilitation so as to build an innovative, invigorated, interconnected and inclusive global economy.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of ambassadorial diplomatic ties between China and Britain. It is also a year for consolidating the China-UK golden era. The two countries should treat each other as equals and with respect so that their cooperation on trade and investment could further deepen and bear more golden fruits and deliver more benefit to the Chinese and British people.
On 31 August 2017, the Daily Telegraph and its website published a signed article by Ambassador Liu Xiaoming entitled “Common Aspiration Will Lead BRICS to New Success”. The full text is as follows:
Common Aspiration Will Lead BRICS to New Success
This year, BRICS cooperation enters its second decade. As the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa meet for their ninth summit in Xiamen, China from Sept. 3 to 5, they will review what BRICS cooperation has achieved and plan for the future of this group. Against profound adjustment in the world political and economic landscape, this summit and its success matter to more than just the group itself.
The five BRICS nations, covering 26% of the world’s land mass and home to 43% of the world’s population, represent the emerging markets and the developing world. Starting from scratch ten years ago, BRICS cooperation has grown closer and borne “golden fruits”.
In a decade, BRICS successfully turned an investment concept into a multi-layer framework for wide-ranging cooperation. Its institutions include the Leaders’ Summit and ministerial meetings of foreign ministers and security representatives. Its cooperation covers business, finance, agriculture, health, science and technology, and many other areas. Moreover, the establishment of the New Development Bank and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement has added weight to BRICS global influence.
For a decade, BRICS countries have targeted their cooperation at development and delivered benefits to not only the people of their own, but the rest of the world. They have become new power houses of global growth. Compared with ten years ago, BRICS countries have increased their GDP from 12% of the world total to 23%, trade from 11% to 16% and outbound investment from 7% to 12%, contributing more than 50% of the world economic growth. In 2016, 80% of the world growth came from BRICS and other emerging and developing economies, indicating the rising roles of these markets in underpinning global growth and economic governance.
The past decade has also seen BRICS breaking away from outdated political-military alliance, ideology-based mindset and a winner-takes-all approach. Together, the BRICS countries have been building a new non-aligned partnership, shaping a new model of mutual respect and common progress, and exploring a new way to handle emerging power relations through win-win cooperation and positive interactions.
The BRICS cooperation has not all been plain sailing, but the five countries have always opted to trust one another, to remain confident and to stay true to their commitment of long-term, sustainable cooperation. At present, global economic recovery remains vulnerable while economic globalisation is frustrated by surging protectionism. The fact that many emerging markets and developing countries are encountering “headwinds” means that closing the gap between the industrial and the less-developed countries remains a daunting task.
In this context, the BRICS spirit, namely, openness, solidarity, equality, mutual understanding, inclusiveness and mutually beneficial cooperation, is all the more needed. The world expects the BRICS nations to work more closely together, to show solidarity and to take up their responsibilities.
First, BRICS can become the “propeller” of unity and cooperation among the emerging and developing nations by spreading the benefits of BRICS cooperation, safeguarding the overall interests of the developing world, exploring the BRICS+ dialogue and cooperation model, advancing international development cooperation and building a global partnership network.
Second, BRICS can serve as the “stabilizer” of regional and international situations by staying committed to the UN’s central role in international affairs, political resolution of hot spot issues, and joint response to terrorism, climate change and other global challenges.
Third, BRICS can work as an “accelerator” in the reform of the international order by enhancing multipolarity and democracy in international relations, by upholding fairness and justice, by contributing “BRICS wisdom” and “BRICS solutions” to world peace and development and by playing an active and constructive role in building a community of shared future for mankind.
The BRICS Summit in Xiamen, focusing on “Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future”, will map out a blueprint for the next ten years. In the coming years, BRICS countries will build stronger partnerships in upholding world peace, promoting common development, enhancing the diversity of civilizations and strengthening global economic governance.
Meetings of the High Representatives for Security Issues and Ministers of Foreign Affairs and coordinated actions at multilateral forums will enable the BRICS to play a bigger role and make their voices heard on major global and regional issues so as to uphold international justice and enhance common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security.
BRICS coordination on macroeconomic policy and development strategy and the implementation of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership will lead to greater common interests in trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation, the connectivity of financial markets, collaboration on creative industries and sustainable development. These will in turn create more projects that will draw the BRICS countries close together and benefit their peoples and the people of the world.
Effective cultural exchanges and closer people-to-people ties between countries as diverse as the BRICS members will set a fine example for inter-civilisation exchanges. Events such as film festivals, sports games and forum on traditional medicine will increase understanding and friendship among BRICS countries and build robust public support for BRICS cooperation.
Concerted BRICS efforts to advance the reform of global governance and to facilitate the implementation of Agenda 2030 will increase the representation and raise the voice of emerging and developing nations in international affairs.
For BRICS nations, with their common aspirations for the future, differences and distance are no handicaps. By working hand in hand and upholding the BRICS spirit, by staying committed to development, following the trend of history and consolidating security, economic and cultural cooperation, BRICS will embrace a new “golden decade” and deliver more “golden fruits” to the developing nations and the rest of the world.
Ambassador Liu Xiaoming’s Interview with China Daily on Chinese Investment in the UK
On 1 September 2017, China Daily published an interview with Chinese Ambassador Liu Xiaoming to the UK in its newspaper and on its website. Ambassador Liu stressed that Chinese investment in the UK is an opportunity not a threat. The full text is as follows:
China Daily: Recent years have seen rapid increase of Chinese investment in the UK which becomes a major highlight of China-UK business cooperation. What is the reason behind such growth? What areas are the Chinese investors focusing on?
Ambassador Liu: There is an old saying in China, “Mountains and seas cannot distance people who are of the same mind.” This year marks the 45th anniversary of the ambassadorial diplomatic relations between China and Britain and it is also a year for consolidating the China-UK Golden Era. Business ties between our two countries have always been a stabilizer and propeller for our bilateral relations. The rapid growth of mutual investment over the years has become a major highlight of our mutually beneficial cooperation.
For seven years and more in the UK, I have attended more opening ceremonies of Chinese businesses in Britain than any other events. Recently, I attended the groundbreaking ceremony of ABP Royal Albert Dock in London. This project, with a total investment of 1.7 billion pounds, is the first greenfield project invested by Chinese businesses and the first Chinese-invested major project in Britain with mixed financing. The Dock will be built into an urban complex of offices, homes and retail commerce. It will go on to become an important part of London’s third business and financial district which will vigorously drive the development of eastern London.
This project is an epitome of Chinese investment in Britain. So far, non-financial direct investment from China has totaled at 18 billion US dollars and more than 500 Chinese companies have settled down in Britain, more than any other European country. The expansion is not only seen in the number of investment projects, but also in the width of areas, expanding from traditional sectors such as trade, finance, telecommunication to other fields including new energy, high-end manufacturing, infrastructure, R&D, etc.
I believe there are three opportunities for Chinese investors coming to Britain.
First, the “Golden Opportunity”. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “Super State Visit” to the UK in 2015 heralds the building of the China-UK global comprehensive strategic partnership for the 21st century and the China-UK Golden Era. During the G20 Hangzhou Summit 2016 and the Hamburg Summit 2017, Chinese President Xi and British Prime Minister May reaffirmed in their meeting the shared commitment to jointly building the China-UK Golden Era. The frequent high-level interactions and strengthened political mutual trust create a “golden opportunity” for China’s rapidly growing investment in the UK.
Second, the development opportunity. China and the UK have highly similar development strategies, which will produce inexhaustible dynamics for investment cooperation.
On one hand, China is working hard to dovetail its Belt and Road Initiative, 13th Five-Year Plan and Made in China 2025 with the UK’s Industrial Strategy and UK Industry 2050 and working with Britain to expand investment cooperation into infrastructure building related to new energy, high speed rail, airport, etc.
On the other hand, Britain has a series of advantages such as leading capabilities in high-tech, finance and creative industry, an open, mature market, and a rule-based, transparent and convenient business environment. They make Britain one of the most attractive investment destinations in the world. China has sufficient capital and human resources, strong marketing capabilities and advanced high-speed rail and new energy technologies. Our two countries can put our respective strengths together for common development through closer cooperation.
Third, the historic opportunity. At present, China’s economy is growing steadily. China is on its way towards national renewal and moderate prosperity. This is providing lasting, strong momentum to sustain stability and boost growth in the world, Britain included.
Britain is already in negotiation with the EU on Brexit. Despite of different predictions on the prospects of the negotiation result, a stable and prosperous Britain and Europe serves the interests of all and remains a broad consensus. I think Brexit brings both challenges and opportunities but there are far more opportunities than challenges. Britain’s commitment to building a truly “Global Britain”, to staying open and upholding free trade also means historic opportunities for Chinese investors.
China Daily: It is said that the British Government plans to set up a new investment review body to see if foreign investment imposes threats to the UK’s national security. Are you concerned about this?
Ambassador Liu: I have taken notice of recent reports in the media about the possible establishment of an “investment review body”. But so far, the British Government has made no official announcement.
China has no objection to Britain’s regular project, environment and security evaluation on business acquisitions. But we are opposed to any discriminative measures under any excuses against Chinese investors. We hope the British side will have enough confidence to steer clear of protectionist measures rather than looking at China’s investment through “cold war tainted spectacles”.
Thanks to joint efforts, China is now the UK’s second largest trading partner outside Europe while Britain is the biggest destination for Chinese investment in Europe. This has not come easily. China is committed to economic globalization, and trade and investment liberalization. We oppose to protectionism and will continue to open up wider to the world. We hope the British side will not discriminate against foreign investment and stay transparent in making relevant policies, fully recognize and protect the legitimate interests of foreign investors including those from China, and continue to ensure an open environment and a level playing ground for business.
China will continue to follow closely any adjustment made to Britain’s foreign investment policy, so as to make clear where we stand and advise Chinese investors duly and in time. In the meantime, we will continue to encourage Chinese companies that are ready and able to expand their internationally operations by investing overseas, including coming to the UK, to follow market rules and international practice and to seek in-depth cooperation and win-win results with their global partners.
China Daily: Some British politicians express concerns over China’s investment in the UK, which necessitates the set-up of the above-said review body. What’s your take?
Ambassador Liu: Britain is one of the world’s most liberal and open-minded nations in trade and investment. But recently, from the British media and some politicians, we hear worries about “China’s appetite to buy out Britain”, claims that “Chinese investment threatens the UK’s national security”, and demands for “protection against investment from China.” I also noted that the mainstream view of the British business community is not in support of this but rather believes this is a step backward from free trade and will do no good to Britain’s economy. I think the arguments of the so-called “Chinese investment threats” are groundless and harmful.
First, Chinese investment in the UK is open and transparent. It will pose no threat to the UK’s national security. Chinese investment in Britain mainly focuses on civil and livelihood related areas. In some key infrastructure projects such as communication and nuclear plants, Chinese investors’ strict adherence to British laws and regulations in environment, health and security, their efforts to fulfil corporate social responsibility, and their contribution to creating jobs, have been widely recognized.
People who know little about Chinese companies operating internationally often point to their “state-owned” background as potential security risks. In fact, many state-owned enterprises in China are listed companies. They are no different in operation standards from those European or US multinationals and their business performances are completely open and transparent to the public. Moreover, more and more Chinese investors coming to the UK are private businesses. Huawei, Geely, BYD, 4PX and Powerlink are all good examples of private Chinese companies investing in the UK.
Second, Britain needs to be open-mined, inclusive and confident when it comes to foreign investment. Britain is a country with a territory of 240,000 square kilometers and a population of 65 million people. But this country’s long standing, huge influence in international politics, economy, science and technology, culture, etc, remain globally visible till this day. A key to Britain’s continued success is its open and inclusive business attitude.
One case in point is the City, the “square mile” renowned not only as the heart of London and the British economy but also a financial centre of the world. This could not have been possible without the City’s open, liberal and inclusive policies and environment. The UK on its way to building a “Global Britain” should continue to live up to such spirit. The UK’s sound inspection and monitoring system for foreign acquisitions, underpinned by the UK Company Law, the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and other laws, should be a source of confidence.
China Daily: What are the benefits expected from the Chinese investment?
Ambassador Liu: Chinese companies not only look for profits for themselves. They also look for win-win results so that business could last. They want to see what they could do to contribute to Britain’s economic and social development. Let me list three major contributions by Chinese investors.
First, Chinese investors help create a large number of jobs and tax revenue for the UK. In the case of Hinkley Point C nuclear power projects, partly invested by Chinese company CGN, this is expected to create 26,000 jobs. Another joint venture with China National Petroleum Corporation has, since its establishment in 2011, paid 8.55 billion pounds in tax to the British Government and created more than 5,000 jobs locally.
Second, Chinese investment help boost UK’s green and low carbon development. It is estimated that upon completion, the Hinkley Point nuclear plant will help reduce nine million tons of carbon dioxide annually. The 250-million-pound auto plant invested by Geely in Coventry will put zero-emission cabs in the street by 2018.
Last but not least, increasing investment by Chinese businesses represents a vote of confidence for the UK’s future. This will contribute to the long-term prosperity and stability of the UK.
China Daily: What impact will Chinese investment sustain if the above-mentioned investment review body were established?
Ambassador Liu: As I said earlier, there is no confirmation by the British Government that such a review body is to be set up. I would like to stress that, Chinese businesses are here for win-win cooperation and common development and they expect a friendly, inclusive and open investment environment. I hope and believe the British side has the wisdom to manage relevant matters appropriately.
China Daily: How would you persuade British politicians and officials that they do not have to fear about China’s investment?
Ambassador Liu: I suggest the British side think about two points carefully when it comes to Chinese investment.
First, the rapid growth of Chinese investment in the UK is not a one-way street but a mutual choice by both countries. By matching China’s capital and development model with British technology, creativity and experience, Chinese investment in the UK help put the respective strengths of the two countries together.
Second, the rapid growth of Chinese investment in the UK is not led by the visible hand of the government, but by the invisible hand of the market. Chinese companies are market entities responsible for their own gains and losses. They are here because they see economic opportunities in Britain and are optimistic about the prospects of win-win cooperation.
China Daily: Is it easy for British businesses to invest in China’s infrastructure, public services and other sectors?
Ambassador Liu: I think with regard to business environment in China, data speaks louder. Since 1993, China has been leading the developing world in terms of the scale of foreign investment inflow and has been one of the top three in the world since 2008. In 2016 when global cross-border investment was decreasing, foreign investment in China increased by 4.2%, with actual investment from the US and 28 EU nations grew by 52.6% and 41.3% respectively.
The Chinese Government has been committed to opening-up as a fundamental policy. Tremendous efforts have been made to ensure a level playing ground. Foreign companies are given national treatment and business environment for foreign investors has kept improving.
Since early this year, China rolled out a series of policy measures to further improve business environment.
In January, the State Council issued the Notice on Several Measures for Opening Wider to the Outside World and Making Active Use of Foreign Investment. In April, seven pilot free trade zones were established in Liaoning and other provinces, increasing the total number of free trade zones in China to eleven and putting in place a balanced and comprehensive opening-up network covering China’s Easter, Middle and Western region. In June, the State Council issued the Notice on the Special Management Measures for the Market Access for Foreign Investment in Pilot Free Trade Zones, abolishing ten regulatory items and 27 restrictions. On 28 July, the Foreign Investment Catalogue officially came into effect, abolishing a further 30 restrictions on foreign investment and lowering the threshold for access to China’ financial, services, manufacturing, mining and some other sectors. In August, the State Council issued a notice on measures to facilitate foreign investment, adding 22 measures to make foreign investment environment in China more rule-based and aligned with international practice.
The UK is home to many world prestigious enterprises that are particularly reputed for their strengths in transportation, telecommunication and energy related infrastructure building. Some of these enterprises have investments in China with years of operation experience and remarkable achievements. China welcomes cooperation with Britain in infrastructure investment. We look forward to more British companies joining in the building of China’s infrastructure and public services system.
China Daily: Why China is named in the discussion of the necessity of setting up an investment review body?
Ambassador Liu: With regard to British Government’s intention to strength review on foreign investment, I think both China and Britain need to take it rationally, avoid panicking and stay confident.
The UK, a world power in trade and investment, should have the confidence to take it easy with the fast-growing investment from China.
On one hand, as the birthplace of market economy and one of the world’s most liberal and open-minded nations in trade and investment, and with a highly rule-based system, Britain has no reason to lose confidence in herself.
On the other hand, Britain needs not to perceive China’s rapidly growing investment negatively. Investment from China not only facilitates bilateral business and investment cooperation, but also helps deliver tangible benefits to the people of our two nations. This is widely recognized.
Investment from China over the years has been growing fast yet such growth started from a very low level. According to the Department for International Trade, in fiscal year 2016-2017, China invested in 160 projects in Britain, which was less than one third of those invested by the US. In fact, there is still great untapped potential for Chinese investment in Britain to continue to grow.
For China, we are a late-comer in overseas investment. We should also on the one hand have confidence in our credibility and rule-based business operation, and on the other adapt to and take it easy with legitimate reviews.
As economic globalization goes deeper and China’s overall national strength grows, China’s outbound investment is entering into a period of fast growth. As late-comer here in Britain, Chinese companies are ready to observe the rules and laws of this country, do business faithfully, fulfil corporate social responsibility and work for win-win results.
Meanwhile, Chinese investors need to take it easy with possible problems. It has not been long since Chinese companies began making outbound investment. Therefore, it is only natural for those operating internationally to encounter various kinds of problems. As for justifiable and lawful reviews, they will do all they can to cooperate with the British side and follow laws and rules. But for reviews that are protectionist and discriminative in nature, the Chinese side will firmly oppose to them and act to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese companies.
China Daily: How do you envision the prospects of China’s investment in the UK?
Ambassador Liu: For the UK’s trade and investment partners, the time after Brexit will be a period of greatest uncertainty. As an optimist, I believe that after Brexit the UK will choose to be more open to the world, rather than lowering the portcullis and pulling up the drawbridge. Therefore, I have great confidence in the prospects of China’s investment in the UK.
With 6.9% of economic growth in the first six months, China has hit our growth target and continued the trend of steady progress. By strengthening reviews on the authenticity and legitimacy of outbound investment, China has kept an effective rein on irrational outbound investment, making its overseas investment more rational and healthy.
At this year’s Davos World Economic Forum, President Xi Jinping said: “We must remain committed to developing global free trade and investment, promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation through opening-up and say no to protectionism.”
It is my belief that, on the basis of mutual respect and equality, China and the UK should come together to jointly support economic globalization, trade liberalization and innovate financing and investment models. There are also enormous opportunities for us to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation on the Belt and Road, RMB internationalization and projects in third countries. Our concerted efforts will help deliver more “golden fruits” in the China-UK Golden Era.
Speech by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the Opening Ceremony of 2017 Experience China – Cultural Exploration of West China in the UK: Mutual Learning between East and West Will Boost China-UK “Golden Era”
The Mermaid Theatre, London, 20 July 2017
Minister Lu Wei,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is a real pleasure to join you for the opening ceremony of Experience China 2017 here in London. I would like to begin by extending my warm welcome to all my British and Chinese friends who are with us tonight.
Experience China is a cultural gala of a variety of artistic performances. It is widely recognized and highly reputed for exhibiting the Chinese arts and advancing cultural exchange between China and other nations.
This year’s event focuses on exploring the cultural heritage of west China in the forms of folk singing and dancing, photo exhibition, films and book show. The colorful composition of the event will bring the vast west of China to the door steps of Britain. It will allow the British audience to enjoy the natural beauty, historical sites and places of interest in west China and to learn and experience China from a close range.
Being no stranger to west China, I have worked in Gansu Province for a couple of years. Since then, I have always kept an eye on the development of China’s western region. I have to say I am more than amazed by the level of growth and scale of change that have taken place over there all these years.
The western region has been a late-mover in terms of economic development compared with the more advanced east coast. In recent years, this has been turned into an advantage, enabling west China to achieve fast growth. Major development indicators of the western region have been higher than the national average.
From 2013 to 2016, the GDP of the western provinces and regions grew by 9.1% annually. That was close to two percentage points higher than the national average. The economic structure has been optimized. Strategic emerging industries, including new energy vehicles, IT and big data, are fast developing.
The western region of China is regarded as a fount of culture thanks to its unique and rich variety of ethnic cultural heritage. Recent years have witnessed fast development of cultural and creative industry in west China, overtaking that of the eastern region in 2016 in both output and revenue.
After years of efforts, China’s west has achieved leapfrog progress in economic, social and cultural development. It is now taking on a brand new look.
China is a vast country. There is a huge difference between the eastern and western parts of China. British friends who have been to the more advanced coastal regions in the east might not know a lot about China’s west. So I think Experience China 2017 could not have come to Britain at a better time. Its tour in Britain, including London, Edinburgh and Manchester, is significant in three aspects.
First, to experience the culture of west China is a part of the efforts to advance China-UK “Golden Era”.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of the Ambassadorial diplomatic ties between China and Britain. It is also a year for consolidating China-UK “Golden Era”. Since the beginning of this year, our two countries have had close high-level exchanges and achieved fruitful outcomes in business, financial and energy cooperation and in culture and people-to-people exchange. We need this “Golden Era” to deliver win-win “golden fruits”.
Moreover, this “Golden Era” is not short of “golden programmes.” Over the years, China and Britain successfully held the “Year of Cultural Exchange”, jointly marked the 400th anniversary of the passing of Tang Xianzu and William Shakespeare, and co-hosted a number of cultural activities under the theme of “Spirit of Youth”. These events have demonstrated the huge potential of cultural exchange between our two countries.
West China is home to diverse ethnic cultures. There are world-renowned, classic cultural icons, such as the Terracotta army of Qin Dynasty, the Mogao Caves in Dunhuang and Xishuangbanna in Yunnan Province. There are booming cultural exchange events, including the Western China Art Festival, the Western China International Fair and Silk Road International Film Festival. These are helping to increase the global visibility of China’s western region.
There is every reason for China’s west to become a highlight of cultural and people-to-people exchange between China and the UK. We can work together in specific areas such as tourism, TV and films, press, publication, archaeology, etc. And in this process, we can explore and develop the rich cultural resources of west China, and produce more “golden programmes” in the “Golden Era”.
Second, to experience the culture of west China helps form stronger people-to-people bond and enhance mutual understanding as we cooperate on the Belt and Road Initiative.
West China was the starting point of the ancient Silk Road. In China’s Han Dynasty in roughly 140 BC, Zhang Qian and his team of trail blazers set off from Xi’an on a peaceful mission. His journey to the west opened up trade routes later known as the Silk Road.
Today, China’s western region is actively engaged in a wide range of cultural exchanges and interactions under the Belt and Road Initiative. In September 2016, the first Silk Road International Cultural Expo was held in Dunhuang. It attracted visitors from China and abroad by showing the unique ethnic cultures of China’s west. Not long ago, an exhibition of artworks from Dunhuang’s Buddhist cave temples took place here in London. The exhibition, housed in the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, opened a window on the sacred art of the Silk Road.
Britain is China’s key partner in building the Belt and Road. When it comes to culture, Britain has unmatched advantages and abundant resources. These include education, language, academic studies, media and others. Experience China 2017 could give the British public a new perspective on China’s culture and history. This will increase mutual understanding and cement the public support for China-UK cooperation on the Belt and Road.
Third, to experience the culture of west China contributes to the broad exchange and mutual learning between the Eastern and Western civilizations.
The cultural heritage of west China is an important part of the Chinese civilization.聽Historically, west China is where the civilizations of the east and the west met.
China and Britain are both great nations of profound culture and history. We are important representatives of the eastern and western civilizations.
There is never a superior civilization. There is never a better civilization. There are only different civilizations with their respective and unique cultural and geographical features. And there have to be mutual respect, mutual learning and mutual accommodation between different civilizations. And this alone will enable common progress for all.
Experience China 2017 is such an event to enhance cultural exchange and cooperation between China and Britain.
Our two countries are in a good position to set up a “golden example” of mutual respect and mutual learning between the East and the West. By working hand in hand, we are able to make the world a place of greater diversity, and we will be able to contribute to the common progress of all civilizations on our planet.
In the following days, a delegation of tibetologists will visit Britain for academic exchanges and interactions. Such exchanges will increase understanding of China’s west, especially the Tibet Autonomous Region.
It is also my hope that more British friends will one day visit China’s west. It is absolutely rewarding to foot on the land, to see with your own eyes, and to experience the Chinese culture steeped in history and traditions and shaped by the rapid changes of our times.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We Chinese people often say:
“That things are born to be different is nature.”
In the west, people often say:
“No two leaves are ever exactly alike.”
Civilizations are richer and more colorful as a result of exchanges and mutual learning.
Less than two weeks ago, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Theresa May held a successful meeting at the G20 Hamburg Summit. The two leaders reaffirmed the shared commitment to building the China-UK “Golden Era”. They agreed to further strengthen non-governmental and youth exchanges based on the achievements over the past five years under the China-UK High Level People-to-People Exchange Mechanism.
We look forward to working with British friends from all sectors for closer exchange and collaboration, and for deeper understanding and trust. I am confident that through our concerted efforts, we can advance the mutual learning between the Eastern and Western civilizations. Through our concerted efforts, China-UK relations will bear more “golden fruits” in the “Golden Era”.
In conclusion, I wish Experience China 2017 in the UK a complete success!
Keynote Speech by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at the CEIBS Third Europe Forum 2017: Turn the Belt and Road Opportunity into Cooperation Highlights
London, 6 July 2017
President Li Mingjun,
Chairman Yang Jiemian,
Vice Chairman Knowles-Cutler,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a real delight to join you for the China Europe International Business School Third Europe Forum 2017. Let me begin by extending my warm congratulations on the opening of the Forum.
Since its founding 20 years ago, China Europe International Business School has been true to its motto of “Conscientiousness, Innovation and Excellence”. Your have trained a large number of talents who have gone on to become well-known economists. They are the embodiment of the CEIBS objectives, namely, “China Depth, Global Breadth”.
Through them, the CEIBS has contributed your part to China’s economic and social development, and you have played an active role in the business cooperation between China and Europe and beyond.
The focus of this year’s Forum is on the “Belt and Road Initiative: How the UK Benefits from China’s Economic Growth”. This focus cannot be more relevant and meaningful.
The host asked me to talk about the significance of the Belt and Road and the opportunities it will bring to China-UK cooperation. So let me share with you some of my observations.
The Belt and Road Initiative was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in Autumn 2013. This Initiative marks a major step in China’s overall opening-up. It is more importantly a public good to boost regional and global development.
Four years on, this Initiative has enjoyed increasing recognition from countries along the Belt and Road. It has gathered growing international consensus. Four main reasons explain how.
First, the Belt and Road Initiative is a concrete endeavour in building a community of shared future for mankind.
Looking around the world today , we see fundamental changes that are unprecedented for centuries. Multi-polarization, economic globalization, IT application and cultural diversity are gaining momentum. Inter-connection and inter-dependence has increasingly become a salient feature of the human society in which the future of mankind is shared in a big community of nations.
Meanwhile, deep-rooted problems such as peace deficit, development deficit and governance deficit are calling for immediate solutions. Regional hotspots are causing instability. Terrorism is going rampant. Conventional and non-conventional security challenges keep emerging.
It was against this background that the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed.
This Initiative aims to build a shared community of mankind.
To achieve this, it takes on the fundamental problem of development by means of stronger policy coordination, infrastructure connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bond.
It points out the way forward with regard to addressing a series of key problems in the world today.
And it seeks to provide answers and solutions to these problems.
The Belt and Road Initiative is committed not only to economic integration and common development for all partners involved. It also seeks to strengthen world peace and stability.
• It is the path to the community of shared future for mankind.
Second, the Belt and Road Initiative strongly advocates an open world economy.
At the moment, the world economic recovery remains sluggish. Anti-globalization and protectionism are on the rise. But this will not hold up the pace of open and inclusive development around the world.
In President Xi’s words, “for a country, opening up is like the struggle of a butterfly breaking free from its cacoon. There will be short-term pains, but such pains will create a new life. ”
For the past four years, projects under the Belt and Road Initiative have always been open and committed to an open world economy.
The long-term vision of this Initiative is a massive belt of economic growth unprecedented in span and coverage.
It aims to link up the vibrant Asia-Pacific in the east with well-developed Europe in the west.
It encourages openness and stimulate growth.
It helps to build a fair, reasonable and transparent international trade and investment regime.
It strives to facilitate the orderly flow of production factors, enable efficient allocation of resources and lead to a higher degree of market integration.
It seeks to enhance domestic development in participating nations and close income gaps.
It will make economic globalization more inclusive and deliver benefits to more people.
Third, the Belt and Road Initiative encourages diversity and innovation.
Through this Initiative, the ancient Silk Road spirit will live on.
Instead of seeking uniformity, it emphasises harmony and embraces different ideas. This is very much an expression of the cultural thinking found in Asian civilisations. Any country, along the ancient Silk Road routes, or outside this region, is able to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative.
By seeking multi-level, broad-ranging people-to-people ties, this Initiative encourages exchange and cooperation in education, science and technology, culture, health, tourism, sports and so on. Cooperation in these areas will increase mutual understanding, build mutual respect and forge friendship.
Therefore, the Belt and Road Initiative is not meant to replace or to exclude. Rather, it aims to build on whatever cooperation that is already in place and help countries along the Belt and Road routes to align their development strategies for common progress.
Last May, the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was successfully held in Beijing. The Forum produced a long list of deliverables.
The list includes projects under five categories, 76 multi-lateral and bilateral agreements and 270 specific outcomes.
Participants agreed to stay committed to innovative development within the Belt and Road framework.
They agreed to explore new models and new platforms of investment and financing.
They also agreed to support action plans on e-commerce, digital economy, smart city and hi-tech park.
The Belt and Road Initiative believes in diversity and creativity. Everyone can be a partner, whether it is a country, an international organization, a multinational company, a financial institution or an NGO. The diversity and creativity within the Belt and Road community is showing its great strength. This will continue to drive inclusive and vibrant growth along the Belt and Road routes.
Fourth, the Belt and Road Initiative is a demonstration of China taking the lead to advance win-win cooperation.
The concept of the Belt and Road is proposed by China. But the benefit of the Initiative will be shared by all.
This Initiative will encourage closer international cooperation.
It will enhance connectivity.
It will align China’s development with that of the countries along the routes.
And it seeks to realize win-win cooperation that China has always advocated.
China has pledged a series of new measures:
China worked with relevant countries to set the Guiding Principles on Financing the Development of the Belt and Road.
China contributed an additional 100 billion RMB to the Silk Road Fund.
Financial institutions are encouraged to conduct overseas RMB fund business with an estimated amount of 300 billion.
China is going to host China International Import Expo annually starting from 2018.
These measures will effectively align policies and development strategies of the partner countries, enhance cooperation on big projects and step up financial support.
The Belt and Road Initiative is a platform for interactions between China and the world. On this platform, China stands ready to share with other countries its development experience as well as development benefits.
But China will not interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, nor will it export its social system or development model. In state-to-state relations, China will work for the new model of win-win cooperation, rather than the outdated geopolitical maneuvering.
China aims to create a big family of harmonious co-existence, not a small, exclusive group that is detrimental to stability. These measures and commitments demonstrate China’s leadership and accountability as a responsible, big nation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Britain is a country of global influence. It has an important role to play in regional and international cooperation. It is also a key partner for China in building the Belt and Road.
Thanks to the concerted efforts of both countries, the British public is gaining a deeper understanding of the Belt and Road Initiative. Over the past years, the business community, think tanks, universities and research institutions across Britain have shown great enthusiasm. They have published reports on the Belt and Road and made suggestions on China-UK cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.
I am pleased to see China-UK cooperation on the Belt and Road is gaining momentum. The future for such cooperation is bright. The opportunities ahead are immense. This is particularly true in three aspects.
First, China and Britain have clear-cut political consensus.
In October, 2015, President Xi Jinping’s successful state visit to Britain heralded the “Golden Era” of China-UK relations. Building the “Golden Era” meets the common aspiration of the Chinese and British people and serves our two countries’ long term interests.
One of the important agreements coming out of that visit was to form closer synergy between Chinese and British development strategies. This includes expanding cooperation on the Belt and Road, and this is a “golden fruit” in this “Golden Era”.
Prime Minister May said on many occasions that China-UK cooperation on Belt and Road has broad prospects and will deliver fruitful results.
During the eighth China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue last year, Britain’s role as a key partner in the Belt and Road building was clearly defined.
In May this year, Chancellor Hammond attended the Belt and Road Forum as Prime Minister May’s personal envoy. He said at the Forum that “Britain, lying at the Western end of the Belt and Road, is a natural partner in this endeavour.”
These shared political commitments pave the way for China-UK cooperation on the Belt and Road.
Second, China-UK cooperation has a solid foundation.
Over the years, China-UK cooperation across the board has maintained a sound momentum. Here are some examples:
At the policy level, Britain is the first major Western country to apply to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. It is also among the first to approve and sign the Guilding Principles on Financing the Development of the Belt and Road during the Belt and Road Forum.
In key projects, Hinkley Point C saw the placement of the first structural concrete at the technical galleries of the plant. Last month, the ABP Royal Albert Dock broke ground. This project will bring to Britain 1.7 billion pounds of investment from China.
In trade and investment, the first five months saw trade in goods between China and Britain increase by 6.5%. China’s non-financial direct investment in Britain stands at 18 billion US dollars, far outnumbering that of any European country.
In people-to-people exchange, the enthusiasm remains high. The number of twin cities increased to 60. Annual mutual visits exceeded 1.5 million.
It is especially notable that, in January this year, a freight train of the China Railway Express made the first round trip between Yiwu and London. This was the very first time that China-UK trade is completely connected by land transportation. It also means that the China Railway Express has completed the “last mile” in its journey to the very western point of the Eurasian continent.
The concrete progress has cemented the foundation for further China-UK cooperation on the Belt and Road.
Third, the respective strengths of China and Britain make a perfect match.
In building the Belt and Road, China and the UK have every reason to join hands. The UK has experience, knowledge and creativity. China has a unique growth model, technology and market capability. China and the UK working together would enable a perfect match of our respective strengths.
One area is the financial sector. The building of the Belt and Road requires not only investment and financing cooperation but also financial services. China is working to build a financial service platform in countries along the Belt and Road. Britain has a modern, advanced financial service sector and maintains close financial ties with many Belt and Road countries. The City of London is a global financial center. It is home to the greatest number of foreign banks’ branches or offices and almost 40% of global foreign exchange interactions take place here. China and Britain will find huge untapped potential for financial cooperation with countries along the Belt and Road.
In terms of legal and consulting services, Britain also has unique advantages. Britain is a world leader and the origin of the common law. Britain has mature professional services sector especially in laws and consulting. British leadership in international commercial arbitration and dispute settlement is widely acknowledged. By strengthening communication and cooperation, China and the UK could provide strong legal and consulting services and facilitate the building of the Belt and Road.
Britain’s strength can also be found in education and research. Britain has a unique advantage, namely, the English language. But that is not all. Britain is also home to numerous prestigious think tanks, universities and leading R&D and innovation institutions. With only 1% of the world’s population, Britain accounted for 3.2% of global R&D investment and 4% of the world’s R&D research staff. Papers published here in this country accounted for 6.4% of the world’s total and 11.6% of world-wide citations. China and Britain can join hands in providing intelligence support to the Belt and Road.
China and Britain can also be engaged in cooperation with other countries along the Belt and Road. Britain has close historical and cultural links with quite a number of countries along the routes, especially the Commonwealth nations. British businesses are experienced and well-based in market development, project management, project monitoring and risks control in these countries. These are exactly what is needed in the Belt and Road projects. By joining hands to explore the market of a third country along the routes, China and Britain can achieve more than “one plus one”.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is such an example. If the Belt and Road Initiative is a grand symphony, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is its first movement. It is a successful case in term of implementing the Belt and Road principles, namely, extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefit. This corridor has huge potential for future development.
In last April, I attended the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Roundtable Meeting hosted by the British Government. I was deeply impressed by the enormous enthusiasm of the British business leaders for the Belt and Road cooperation.
British businesses are more than welcome to join in. We hope that the British side will give priority to the actual needs for building this Corridor. I hope Britain will leverage its strength and work with China and Pakistan. Together we can make our cooperation win-win for all.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the Leaders’ Roundtable during the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, President Xi said this:
“The swan geese can fly long and safe through wind and storm because they move in flocks and help each other as a team.”
These words offer a lot of food for thoughts. They give us inspiration.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of China-UK Ambassadorial diplomatic ties. It is also a year for consolidating the “Golden Era” of China-UK relations.
As we reflect on the achievements of the past 45 years and look into the future, our two countries have every reason to work together as a team.
Let us join hands to build a partnership that will turn opportunities into cooperation highlights,
a partnership that will sustain the “Golden Era” of our bilateral ties,
and a partnership that will deliver more to the people of our two countries and beyond.
Let us join hands to build a partnership that will turn opportunities into cooperation highlights,
a partnership that will sustain the “Golden Era” of our bilateral ties,
and a partnership that will deliver more to the people of our two countries and beyond.
Chairman Xu Weiping,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is a great delight to join you at the groundbreaking ceremony of the ABP Royal Albert Dock.
The docklands in east London was first built in the 19th century. It has always been the lifeline of Britain’s business and trade. Over the past century, London docklands witnessed the prosperity of maritime trade, the rise of the City, and the boom of China-UK cooperation.
Ten years ago, ABP started to prepare for this dock development project. As we Chinese often say, “Ten years’ honing gets you a keen sword.” Today, this sword is put to test.
Four years ago, I had the honour to attend the signing ceremony of this project. Today, ABP, joining hands with CITIC Construction, is setting out to develop London’s third business district.
In the coming years, this area will be turned into an urban complex of offices, homes and retail commerce. The historic Royal Albert Dock will be brimming with a new life.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
As diplomats, we follow the international situation closely. Today, the two most frequently used words to describe the current world situation are: chaos and changes.
In the diplomatic language, these two words translate into “increased uncertainty and instability.”
The ABP Royal Albert Dock project is defying this description by providing China-UK relations with more certainty and stability. This project has signified that, between China and Britain, at least four things are certain and remain unchanged.
First, the strong momentum of China-UK relations remains unchanged.
President Xi Jinping’s successful state visit to the UK in 2015 heralded the “Golden Era” of China-UK relations. During the visit, President Xi witnessed the signing of the agreement between ABP and CITIC Construction.
There is no doubt that the ABP Royal Albert Dock project was one of the earliest “golden fruits” in the “Golden Era”.
Today, the project will break ground. This accentuates the steady progress of the cooperation between our two countries. It highlights the vigorous growth of our bilateral relations.
Second, the immense enthusiasm of Chinese businesses for investing in the UK remains unchanged.
In recent years, the business and trade ties between China and Britain have become ever closer than before. More and more Chinese companies have brought their investments and set up business operations here. Bilateral cooperation on infrastructure, equipment building, high-tech, new energy and financial services has gained strong momentum.
Since the Brexit Referendum, investment from China has gone up rather than down. Huawei, Wanda, CGN and Geely, among others, continue to increase their investment in Britain. The ABP Royal Albert Dock project is just another example.
This is the first green field project in Britain ever developed by a Chinese company.
This is also the first large-scale project in Britain by a Chinese company with a mixed financing model.
It is definitely a vote of confidence for the UK’s future.
Third, the huge potentials of China-UK cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative remain unchanged.
The ABP Royal Albert Dock project is a key project of China-UK cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative.
A month ago, the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was successfully held in Beijing. Chancellor Hammond attended the Forum as Prime Minister May’s personal envoy. During the Forum, China and Britain reached important agreement on advancing cooperation within the Belt and Road framework.
Thanks to concerted efforts, our cooperation on the Belt and Road has become a new highlight of China-UK relations.
Fourth, the win-win nature of China-UK cooperation remains unchanged.
During the preparation phase, Chinese companies worked closely with the Greater London Authority. Both sides have aligned their respective strengths, laying a solid foundation for this project.
The total investment of the project is 1.7 billion pounds.
For the UK, this project will create a good number of jobs for London and deliver tangible benefits across the country.
For China, it will help raise the management standard and increase the global visibility of the Chinese companies.
This will become a new model project of China-UK win-win cooperation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year marks the 45th anniversary of China-UK Ambassadorial diplomatic relations. It is also a year for consolidating the “Golden Era” of China-UK ties.
Over the past four and half decades, trade and business cooperation has always been a “stabilizer” and “propeller” of our bilateral relations.
I sincerely hope that ABP and CITIC Construction will seize the “golden opportunity” of China-UK relations and work closely with British businesses to embrace the Belt and Road Initiative.
I hope you will build a high-standard and high-quality project at the Royal Albert Dock and deliver more “golden fruits” in the “Golden Era”.
Secretary Hu Chunhua,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Before I begin, let me first express my deep condolences on the tragic loss of lives in the Grenfell Tower fire and my sympathies go to the bereaved families and the injured. I hope they will recover from this horrific incident.
It is a great delight to join you for today’s China (Guangdong) – UK Economic and Trade Cooperation Conference.
On behalf of the Chinese Embassy, I would like to begin by extending my warmest welcome to Secretary Hu Chunhua and his delegation.
For China and Britain, this year is a special year. It marks the 45th anniversary of the Ambassadorial diplomatic relations between China and Britain. It is also a year for consolidating the “Golden Era” of China-UK relations. That’s why Secretary Hu’s visit to the UK is highly significant. This visit will give a strong push to both the regional cooperation and the overall bilateral ties between our two countries.
For China and for Guangdong Province, this year is also highly meaningful. 25 years ago, Mr. Deng Xiaoping toured southern Chinese cities including Shenzhen in Guangdong Province. During the tour, he delivered the famous Southern Tour Speech and made the famous remark that “development is what really counts.” His speech marked a new phase in China’s reform and opening-up. Guangdong has since entered a new stage of accelerated development.
Guangdong was the first province in China to open up for business. The width and depth of its opening-up are also unparalleled. It is no exaggeration if I call Guangdong “China’s opening-up superstar”.
Now, let me show you some of the brightest “sparkles” of this superstar.
First, Guangdong has been a leader in economic development. In 2016, Guangdong’s GDP grew by 7.5% and achieved a total of 1.2 trillion US dollars. Of all China’s provinces, Guangdong has ranked No.1 in GDP for 28 consecutive years. Globally, Guangdong is the 15th largest economy. That is about the size of Spain.
Second, I want to mention the “Guangdong spirit”. This has won national acclaim in China. Guangdong province is known for its courage to break new ground, its down-to-earth approach to get things done and its enterprising spirit to reach for the best. And Guangdong has always followed the principle that “practice is the sole criterion of truth”. These are the essence of the Guangdong spirit.
Over the past 30 years, Guangdong has been at the forefront of China’s reform and opening-up. The province has always been a bellwether or a test field for new policies. In a sense, the “Guangdong spirit” reflects the pioneering spirit of China over the past decades.
Third, Guangdong today continues to lead reform and opening-up in China. The past five years are widely regarded as the beginning of a period of economic transition in China. The key words for this transition are supply side reform and development driven by innovation. Guangdong has made unremitting efforts in actively advancing both the supply side reform and the innovation strategy. The province again sounded the clarion call for a new phase of reform and opening-up in China. It is at the forefront of the journey to realize the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation.
In addition to the above “sparkles”, I want to mention in particular that I am happy to see Guangdong building name recognition and increasing presence here in Britain. Many leading companies from Guangdong are doing very well in this country. Their businesses range from communication and infrastructure to real estate development.
To give you some examples, we have communication giants such as Huawei, ZTE and Hytera. We have BYD, the producer of the new generation London double-decker bus. And we have the CGN, a partner in the Hinkley Point C nuclear power project.
Trade and investments are also impressive. Guangdong’s trade with Britain accounts for 20% of China-UK trade total. Guangdong’s investment in Britain totalled seven billion US dollars.
It is fair to say that the business cooperation between Guangdong and Britain is a model for the regional cooperation between our two countries.
We have every reason to celebrate and be proud of Guangdong’s achievements. This also gives us reason to expect more from Guangdong and from the “Golden Era” of China-UK relations.
With regard to deepening China-UK and Guangdong-UK cooperation in the coming years, I have three suggestions.
First, we should continue to join hands and explore new areas of cooperation for new success.
The UK has world-class innovative and R&D capabilities. It boasts an advanced high-end manufacturing sector. And it always keeps an open mind to investment from China.
Guangdong is experimenting new development ideas and building an open economy. The province also has strong innovative, manufacturing and production capabilities.
If these strengths are matched well, there will be new cooperation opportunities and outcomes in infrastructure building, real estate development, branding and innovation, energy conservation and environmental protection.
Second, we should continue to uphold the “Guangdong spirit”.
In the past 45 years, China and Britain have always dared to take the lead and have achieved many “firsts” in our mutually beneficial cooperation.
Today, profound changes are taking place in the international arena. The challenges of sluggish growth and rising protectionism remain daunting.
This calls on us to stick to the “Guangdong spirit”, namely to be pioneering, to be practical and to be enterprising.
We must keep exploring new areas, new means and new channels of cooperation.
This is how we can continue to set new records by achieving more “firsts”.
Third, we should continue to enhance cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative.
Britain is a key partner of the Belt and Road cooperation thanks to its unique strengths in financial services, legal services, project management and risks control.
Guangdong companies have been actively seeking investment and cooperation opportunities along the Belt and Road routes over the years. In 2016, investment by Guangdong in countries and regions along the Belt and Road routes grew by 65.3%.
There is huge potential for Guangdong and Britain to work more closely together under the framework of the Belt and Road.
As a Chinese saying goes, “The wise man keeps abreast with the time and adapts to changes.”
I hope and believe that, as long as we get down to business and continue to break new grounds, Guangdong-UK cooperation will deliver more “golden fruits” in the “Golden Era” of China-UK relations.
In conclusion, I wish Secretary Hu Chunhua’s visit to the UK a complete success.