On April 16, 2012, visiting Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong met with UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in London.
Both China and Britain are influential powers in the world, and their relations have gone beyond the bilateral scope and now are of global significance, Liu said during the meeting. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations at ambassadorial level 40 years ago, the two sides have established a comprehensive strategic partnership, and the two-way trade volume has increased significantly, reaching nearly 60 billion U.S. dollars in 2011, which fully demonstrates that the Sino-British ties are mutually beneficial and have great potential for development, Liu said. The Chinese state councilor voiced the hope that the two countries could move towards each other, grasp the general direction of bilateral relations, respect each other and seek common ground while reserving differences.
She said that amity between people holds the key to sound relations between states. Cultural and people-to-people exchanges serve as an important bridge and link for the peoples of the two countries to boost communication, eliminate misunderstanding, build mutual trust and push forward cooperation. With political mutual trust, economic and trade cooperation, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges as its three pillars, the Sino-British comprehensive strategic partnership would be more persistent and vigorous, she said. Within the framework of this mechanism, Liu noted, China is ready to work together with Britain to push ahead bilateral cooperation and exchanges in education, science and technology, culture, sports, youth and media, and to play a fundamental role in promoting friendship.
China takes Europe as a strategic priority in its foreign relations, and firmly supports the European Union (EU)'s efforts to push forward reform and integration, Liu stressed. China will deepen cooperation with the EU in such fields as trade, investment, high technologies, energy conservation and environmental protection to boost economic growth and strengthen coordination and collaboration in international affairs, She added.
Clegg said that he was delighted over the constantly strengthened relations as well as the scale and fruits of bilateral cultural and people-to-people exchanges between Britain and China over the past 40 years. He congratulated on the successful launch of the high-level mechanism of cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and Britain. A firm cultural connection based on mutual respect is the best way for enhancing mutual understanding, he said. Britain would work together with China to constantly enrich the high-level mechanism and create a favorable environment for exchanges between the peoples of the two countries, Clegg added.