Good start to Sino-UK ties

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During his four-day visit to Beijing this week, the United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary David Miliband on several occasions repeated a popular platitude of recent years: The world needs China, and China needs the world.

Putting aside the talks about China's growing economic interdependence with the rest of the world, Miliband's statement could be seen as a declaration that London now sees Beijing as a partner and is willing to expand cooperation.

If this is true, it is good news for bilateral ties and its long-term growth. At the moment, we hope London will make concrete efforts to mend the marred relationship with Beijing.

Skirmishes have crippled the Sino-UK relationship after politicians in London displayed discontent, arrogance and even threats of retaliation over a few issues in recent months.

Consultation and dialogue are the only way to narrow the divide, while confrontation and enmity could only tear us apart.

The inauguration of the first high-level strategic dialogue, in the form of Miliband's visit to China, indicates the two countries share a common interest in discussing strategic issues in bilateral and international relations in an in-depth manner.

A thaw in the UK's relations with China will also help the British Labor government to gain credibility in domestic politics. With the forthcoming election in May, the Labor Party has to offer more promises for change in order to woo voters. A better relationship with a country with a robust economy is conducive to its efforts in reviving the economy.

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