Home Politics Liu Xiaoming, Ambassador to Britain, will leave office and return home: he has been on the UK for 11 years.
Liu Xiaoming, Ambassador to Britain, will leave office and return home: he has been on the UK for 11 years.

Liu Xiaoming, Ambassador to Britain, will leave office and return home: he has been on the UK for 11 years.

by YCPress

January 20, Ambassador Liu Xiaoming attended the farewell symposium held online by the British-Chinese Trade Association and delivered a keynote speech entitled “Strengthen confidence, seize opportunities, and deepen cooperation”. The following is the full text of the speech.

The Honourable Lord Sassoon, Honorary President of the British-Chinese Trade Association,

Distinguished Sir Gou Peiqin, Chairman of the British-Chinese Trade Association,

Ladies, gentlemen, friends:

Good morning, everyone!

Thank you for holding a farewell symposium for me. On the occasion of leaving office and returning to China, I am very happy to have the opportunity to talk about friendship and development with British business friends again through video.

I have been engaged in diplomatic work for 47 years and have been resident in six countries: Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe. In 11 years, it is my third time to be China’s ambassador abroad and the longest time to visit the UK. I am honored to be the longest-serving Chinese ambassador to Britain in the history of Sino-British relations and the longest-serving ambassador to China.

Eleven years ago, not long after I came to England to take up my new job, the British-China Trade Association held a welcome luncheon for me at the Clariridge Hotel in London.

In my speech, I promised to strengthen Sino-British political mutual trust, deepen cooperation between the two countries in various fields, and expand the strategic consensus and interests of the two sides to promote the continuous development of Sino-British relations. For 11 years, I have been in public at night, worked diligently and faithfully carried out my duties and missions.

In the past 11 years, we have witnessed and promoted mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Britain to lead a new direction. President Xi Jinping’s “super state visit” to the United Kingdom in 2015 opened the “golden age” of Sino-British relations and pointed out the general direction of Sino-British relations and pragmatic cooperation.

High-level dialogue mechanisms such as the meeting of the Prime Ministers of China and the United Kingdom and the economic and financial dialogue have injected a strong impetus into Sino-British cooperation. In the past 11 years, the beginning of the culture of Sino-British cooperation, it has played a leading role in practical cooperation between China and Western countries in many fields: Britain was the first to join the Asian Investment Bank and inject capital into the Asian Investment Bank’s special fund among the major Western powers, the first to establish a RMB settlement center, the first to issue RMB sovereign bonds, and the first to appoint ” Special Envoy of the Belt and Road Initiative, the first to sign the Guiding Principles of Belt and Road Financing.

In the past 11 years, we have witnessed and promoted Sino-British trade and investment to a new height. First, the volume of bilateral trade has grown rapidly.

From 2010 to 2020, the volume of Sino-British goods trade increased to $92.4 billion in 2010.

Especially in 2020, the trade volume of the two countries still reached a record high in the context of the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic and the continued downturn in international trade. 

Second, the Sino-British investment cooperation is deepening. By the end of 2019, the stock of British direct investment in China was 25.39 billion US dollars; the stock of direct investment in the UK reached 17.14 billion US dollars, about 20 times from the end of 2009.

The investment field extended from traditional industries to new fields such as high-end manufacturing, information technology, cultural creativity, etc., and the United Kingdom became China’s Europe’s second largest investment destination. 

Third, significant progress has been made in large-scale projects. Eleven years ago, there were basically no landmark large-scale cooperation projects between the two countries; now, with the joint efforts of the two sides, many flagship projects invested by China in the United Kingdom, such as the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant and the Royal Albert Pier, are steadily advancing.

In the past 11 years, we have witnessed and promoted new breakthroughs in Sino-British financial and Belt and Road cooperation.

China and Britain actively promote cooperation in green finance and financial technology, and the number of Chinese banks with branches in the UK has increased to eight; “Shanghai-London Link” was officially opened, and many Chinese-funded enterprises were listed on the London Stock Exchange, creating a precedent for China’s interconnection with overseas capital markets; London has become the world’s largest offshore trading center and the second largest RMB trading center.

In the offshore clearing center of RMB, the RMB clearing volume exceeds 50 trillion yuan. Britain regards itself as the “natural partner” of the Belt and Road Initiative, and sends a special representative of the Prime Minister to China twice to attend the Forum of the Belt and Road International Cooperation Summit. China and the United Kingdom signed a third-party market cooperation agreement, and the two sides actively cooperated in third-party market financing, providing professional technology and services.

Ladies, gentlemen, friends,

The fruitful results of mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Britain have brought tangible benefits to the people of the two countries: pure electric and low-emission taxis invested by China have been driven on the streets of London; British food and beverages have come to the Chinese people’s table through the platform of “Expo”; Chinese investment has created considerable taxes and employment for the UK, and also for the United Kingdom.

Enterprise transformation and upgrading and high-quality industrial development provide impetus. Looking forward to the future, Sino-British cooperation has great potential and broad prospects. I am confident in this, and I also have three expectations:

First, we should keep the overall situation in mind and respect each other and trust each other. History tells us that as long as we respect each other, treat each other equally, and abide by the basic norms of international law and international relations, Sino-British relations will develop forward; otherwise, China-British relations will encounter setbacks and even regression.

A healthy and stable Sino-British relationship is in the common interests of the two peoples and conducive to world peace and development.

The two sides should look at the overall situation and the long-term, regard each other’s development as an opportunity rather than a challenge or even a threat, always respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, promote the sustained and healthy development of Sino-British relations, and create good conditions for deepening practical cooperation between the two countries.

Second, we should grasp the general trend and strengthen confidence. 

Today’s world is facing a hundred years of change and the combined impact of the century’s epidemic. Unilateralism, protectionism and anti-globalization ideologies are rising, and uncertain and unstable factors are increasing. Opportunities and challenges coexist with Sino-British cooperation.

We should be full of confidence in the general trend of economic globalization, confidence in China’s open development prospects, confidence in the future of mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Britain, jointly hold high the banner of free trade, work together to build an open world economy, and promote economic globalization towards a more open, inclusive, inclusive, balanced and win-win direction. 

Third, seize the opportunity and deepen cooperation. The Sino-British development strategy has a high degree of coherence and strong complementarity of economic and trade cooperation.

At present, both countries are in a new and important period of development: China is about to open a new chapter of the 14th Five-Year Plan, embark on a new journey of building a modern socialist country in an all-round way, accelerate the construction of a new development pattern of domestic and international dual cycles, promote high-quality development, and implement a wider range, broader fields and deeper-level comprehensive Open.

Britain has completed Brexit and entered a new stage of building a “global Britain” and expanding global partners. China and Britain should give full play to their respective advantages, promote policy coordination and strategic docking between the two sides, deepen their cooperation in trade and investment, infrastructure, finance, high-tech and other fields, create more cooperation results, help each other develop and prosper, and better benefit the two peoples.

Ladies, gentlemen, friends,

The achievements of Sino-British economic and trade cooperation today cannot be separated from the hard work of the British-Chinese Trade Association and the business people of the two countries.

Over the years, the British-Chinese Trade Association has actively matched the business community of China and Britain, and provided suggestions for deepening pragmatic cooperation between the two sides.

Since the outbreak of the epidemic last year, the British-China Trade Association has coordinated donations and materials from enterprises and financial institutions of the two countries.

The business community of the two countries has interpreted the story of China and Britain working together to fight the epidemic and overcome the time limit with practical actions.

I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to your contributions to promoting Sino-British cooperation! I would also like to thank my old friends Lord Sassoon, Sir Gou Peiqin and Sir Baileway, who have served as the chairman of the British-China Trade Association for the past 11 years and have provided great support and help to me in the performance of my duties in England!

I sincerely hope that all business friends will continue to care about the development of Sino-British relations, support mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries, support the work of the Chinese Embassy in the United Kingdom and my successor, and continue to contribute wisdom and strength to the stable and healthy development of Sino-British relations.

In 22 days, we will usher in the Spring Festival of the Year of the Ox in the Chinese lunar calendar.

Bulls symbolize loyalty, diligence and prosperity in Chinese culture. I take this opportunity to wish you an early New Year, wish you good health and prosperity, and wish our friendship last forever!

Thank you!