On April 14, 2012, State Councilor Liu Yandong had a dinner together with the British friendly personages in London and had cordial talks with them on the ideas for the cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries. The attendees of the dinner included political dignitaries such as former British Deputy Prime Minister Prescott and Chairman of the British government's Asia Task Force Lord Charles Powell, former British ambassadors to China, university presidents, and heads of academic institutions and non-governmental friendship organizations.
Liu said that the participants of the dinner are all the witnesses, facilitators and promoters of China-UK relations. She expressed thanks to everyone for their positive contributions to the development of China-UK friendship in the long run. China and the UK are both permanent members of the UN Security Council and countries with global influence. A sound China-UK relationship is not only conducive to the two countries and peoples but also conducive to world peace and development. The cultural and people-to-people exchanges are a bridge and link for the state-to-state and people-to-people exchanges. She expressed the belief that the launch of the high-level people-to-people exchange mechanism will provide more opportunities for the people of the two countries to communicate and interact with each other and will further enrich the connotations of China-UK comprehensive strategic partnership.
Liu made three suggestions on the development of people-to-people exchange mechanism. She said, first, the two sides must proceed from a long-term perspective to set the direction for China-UK relations. Francis Bacon, a British philosopher, once said, "The golden age is before us, not behind us." China has a poem, which is written like, “You will enjoy a grander sight by climbing to a greater height.” The two countries should proceed with a strategic thinking and a long-term vision and strive to build a peaceful, stable and prosperous world for the 21st century; second, the two countries should respect each other and seek common ground while reserving differences. Differences in social system and development stage should not be an obstacle to friendly cooperation between the two countries. The two countries have far more common interests than differences. The two countries face common challenges and should take each other’s due responsibilities. The two countries can really learn from each other and cooperate with each other for a win-win situation; third, such exchanges should be geared towards the public and both official and people-to-people contacts should be strengthened. People are the main participants in such exchanges. The two sides should look at each other with an evolving vision, enhance understanding and deepen friendship through multi-tied and wide-ranging exchanges of various forms and strive to expand public opinion basis for mutual understanding.
Lastly, Liu called on the two sides to grasp the historical opportunity created by the launch of the high-level people-to-people exchange mechanism, move towards the same direction and make joint efforts to build a golden age for the bilateral relations and people-to-people exchanges.
Prescott and other friends also contributed their suggestions and ideas on carrying out exchanges and cooperation in culture, education, science & technology, health, social security, youth exchanges, investment, energy, environmental protection and other areas. They all said that to build a comprehensive strategic partnership, the two countries have to deepen the cultural and people-to-people exchanges. It is also the historical responsibility of the visionary people of the two countries. They also expressed the willingness to contribute their talents to the cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the UK and China.