Britain sees China as partner, not rival, says British Foreign Secretary

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Britain sees China as a partner, not a rival, said British Foreign Secretary David Miliband in Beijing Wednesday.

Miliband made the remarks at a townhall meeting with Chinese students at China Foreign Affairs University before ending his China visit.

"Our perspective is engagement with China, not containment of China," Miliband told the faculty and students of China's cradle for diplomats, saying his country welcomed very strongly China's economic development and increasing responsibility in the international community.

"There is new opportunity for partnership between China and the rest of the world on a range of economic, political and environmental questions where the future of China and the rest of the world are tied together," Miliband said.

His talks with Premier Wen Jiabao, State Councilor Dai Bingguo and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi focused mainly on "what Britain and China can do together," not "how we compete against each other," said Miliband.

Citing climate change as a major aspect of cooperation, Miliband said both sides agreed the EU-China relationship was going to be very important for the future.

Responding to students' questions on cooperation in fighting terrorism, Miliband said Britain and China could cooperate carefully together to tackle the root causes of terrorism and try to respond promptly when it happens. He also said both countries were trying to help the development of Pakistan, a country facing a severe terrorism threat.

Miliband praised the notion of "Expo diplomacy" raised by Yang Jiechi as "very clever, interesting," and said he believed the event would be an opportunity for public engagement only second to the Olympic Games. He expected the British pavilion to promote the country's creativity and openness.

He also stressed the importance of exchanges between young people. The 85,000 to 90,000 Chinese students studying in Britain could each explain to Britain the reality of Chinese life, said Miliband.

"I strongly recommend you study in Britain, " Miliband said to the students, who also regarded the increasing number of British students in China was "excellent news."

Miliband said an important part of his visit was to "get a better understanding" of China and how it was "growing, changing, developing, not standing still either in how it thinks or looks."

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