Chinese vice premier meets British deputy prime minister

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Visiting Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang met with British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in London on Monday, and both leaders agreed to seize the opportunity and deepen cooperation to promote sustained and sound development of bilateral relations.

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang (L) shakes hands with British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in London, Britain, Jan. 10, 2011. [Rao Aimin/Xinhua]

Li said both China and Britain have an important role to play in the world and have made great contribution to the development of human civilization. Britain is also the first major Western power to recognize and trade with the People's Republic of China.

China and Britain have kept a good momentum in developing bilateral relations since they established diplomatic ties. In 2004, the two countries established a comprehensive strategic partnership, and bilateral cooperation entered a new stage of rapid development, Li noted.

At present, with profound changes in the international situation and uncertain factors in world economic recovery, China and Britain should get a clear direction and grasp the overall situation to further promote the development of their comprehensive strategic partnership, Li suggested.

Li pointed out that in the political field, both sides should respect each other and treat each other on an equal footing. In order to enhance political mutual trust, both countries must respect each other's political thought, development model and social system, pay attention to common concerns, and treat and develop bilateral relations from a long-term perspective.

Both sides should strengthen understanding and deepen mutual trust through effective dialogue mechanisms, Li added.

On the economic front, Li said both sides should further open their markets on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. China is willing to increase imports from Britain, while easing restrictions on high-tech exports to China will help promote the export of Britain's competitive products to the Chinese market.

Both sides should also make efforts to cultivate key cooperative projects, actively explore new cooperative areas, improve investment environment, encourage two-way investment, and expand technical trade, said Li.

The vice premier believed that the two countries should be partners of close communication and equal cooperation on world affairs, enhancing their communication and policy coordination and improving mutual understanding.

"Our priorities should be stepping up cooperation on the reform of the international financial supervisory mechanism, pushing forward trade negotiations of the Doha Round, and opposing trade protectionism," he suggested.

He also urged both sides to continue to maintain and increase exchanges and cooperation in the fields of culture, education and sports, raising the quality and level of cultural and educational exchanges.

In his turn, Clegg said Britain will make more efforts to strengthen bilateral cooperation with China in all areas, and explore new fields and opportunities of cooperation.

He said that Britain will adhere to the principle of free trade, push forward with China the establishment of a more fair and open world trade system, promote the achievement of progress on the Doha Round WTO negotiations, and oppose trade protectionism.

After their talks, Li and Clegg attended the signing ceremony of a raft of cooperation agreements in such fields as finance, investment, trade, energy, low-carbon industry and culture, as well as the research on panda protection. The deals were worth nearly 4.7 billion dollars in total.

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