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Chinese Ambassador: Sino-British Ties Enjoy Good Momentum

Relations between China and Britain have made headway and enjoyed good momentum, said Chinese Ambassador to Britain Zha Peixin said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

While speaking on Chinese President Hu Jintao's incoming state visit to Britain, Zha noted a growing interest among the British public in China, as evidenced by his many a invitations to give speeches on the China topic at various business and academic occasions.

Particularly in this October alone, he added, he gave eight such speeches.

The British have also demonstrated a strong interest by showing up in large crowds at China's Spring Festival celebrations this year in London, which drew some 200,000 people to the Trafalgar Square.

"Hardly a day passes without some coverage on China by Britain' s mainstream media," he said, adding that meanwhile, local governments in Britain are also showing stronger interests in setting up links with China.

Against such a backdrop of favorable development of ties between the two countries, said the ambassador, President Hu's state visit to Britain starting on Tuesday will play a positive role in deepening Sino-British comprehensive strategic partnership, promoting result-oriented cooperation in key areas, enhancing bilateral communication, exchanges and coordination on international and regional issues and giving a boost to the mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples.

Over the years, bilateral relations have witnessed remarkable progress and enjoyed good momentum. The two sides have established the comprehensive strategic partnership, with priorities given to bilateral cooperation in key areas such as trade and investment, finance, energy, education, culture, science and technology, environment, health and sustainable development.

Both attaching great importance to their relations, China and Britain have set up a mechanism for their leaders to meet annually and exchanged frequent high-level visits.

Trade and economic cooperation between China the Britain has also enjoyed rapid and profound development in recent years. In 2004, bilateral trade reached US$19.7 billion, an increase of 37 percent over the previous year. The figure in the first half of this year grew by 30 percent over the same period last year.

Britain is China's third largest trading partner and No. 1 investing country in the European Union. By the end of June, Britain's direct investment in China, excluding financial investment, had exceeded US$12.7 billion.

Both sides have increased bilateral exchanges and consultations on major international and regional issues. For example, President Hu attended upon invitation the dialogue between the G-8 industrialized countries and five major developing countries in London.

China was also invited to attend the Middle East Conference in London on the issue of Palestine as well as an international conference on climate change.

"All of this have shown the fact that Britain attaches great importance to China's status, role and influence in the international arena, and values the coordination with China on major international and regional issues," said the ambassador.

Zha noted that the British government has exhibited a positive attitude toward China's development.
"Prime Minister Tony Blair has said on quite a few occasions recently that China's development presents an opportunity rather than a threat to the world, which is not only conducive to improving the lives of 1.3 billion Chinese, but also to the growth of every country," said Zha.

"The prime minister also expressed the hope to strengthen political ties with China and become an important partner as recognized by the Chinese side," said Zha.

The Chinese government, said Zha, has always attached great importance to its relations with Britain despite their differences in social systems and ideological forms. But the two sides share far more common ground than differences.

"So long as the two sides respect each other, constantly build on mutual political trust, promote cooperation with an pragmatic approach, and keep working on the mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples, the development of Sino- British relations will definitely advance up to a new level," said Zha.

(Xinhua News Agency November 8, 2005)

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