Ambassador Liu pointed out that China-UK relationship is facing with a new and important opportunity at this new historical starting point. And at present, we are embarking on a new historical journey which requires us to adopt a strategic vision to ensure that China-UK relations advance steadily, to follow the prevailing trend in the world to jointly set the pace for global reform and development, to properly handle our disparities by managing our differences while building and expanding common grounds to accommodate each other's core interests and major concerns, and to respond to new challenges together for world peace and prosperity.
Ambassador Liu expressed the condolences of the Chinese government over the terrorist attack in London once again and reaffirmed China's commitment to make joint efforts with the UK to fight against terrorism and uphold the security of our two countries and the world at large.
Ambassador Liu said, "this morning, Prime Minister May officially triggered Article 50: that marks the beginning of Brexit process. And it starts the formal negotiation with the EU. For China, both UK and EU are important strategic, political and business partners. We sincerely hope that Britain and the EU will reach a win-win agreement through negotiation and will both achieve successful growth in the years ahead. China stands ready to work with both the UK and the EU. And China wants to ensure that China-UK ties and China-EU ties will both advance and reinforce each other. We want both these ties to work for the good of people in China, in Britain and in Europe."
Ambassador Liu emphasised that people from all walks of life in China and the UK should seize every opportunity to live up to our historical mission in this "Golden Era", to cultivate the good existing relationship and to open-up an even more promising future for China-UK relations.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's video message
During the reception, the video message of congratulations from British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was screened. Johnson said that since the establishment of ambassadorial relations between Britain and China, the two countries have witnessed continuous development of bilateral relations and rapid expansion in areas of trade and investment, education and art, scientific and technological innovation, sports and tourism. The UK attracts more investment from China than other major European countries, with its export to China growing by 63% between 2010 and 2015. The number of Chinese visitors coming to Britain has doubled in the past five years, and London has the largest number of overseas Chinese students. He expressed the hope that Britain and China will work together in various fields so as to promote the prosperity and security of the two countries.
Under Secretary Alok Sharma delivering a speech
In his speech, Sharma stated that since 1972, China-UK relations have made great progress and are currently in the best times in history. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China and the policy of "one country, two systems" has been very successful in Hong Kong. Prime Minister Theresa May is going to visit China this year. China-UK cooperation in trade and investment has witnessed rapid growth, with current bilateral trade volume 200 times that of 1972. More than 150,000 Chinese students are enrolled in major universities in the UK, while 5,000 British students are studying in China. And the two countries conduct close cooperation on global challenges and hot spot issues including Afghanistan, South Sudan, terrorism and climate change. He looks forward to continued joint efforts of Britain and China to tackle the bilateral relations to a new high.
The evening reception at the historical and solemn Lancaster House, with a decoration of distinctive Chinese characteristics, was bathed in a happy and festive atmosphere. A photo exhibition was held to mark the 45th anniversary of the ambassadorial relations between China and the UK, and projects and collections of the British Museum, the British Library and Victoria and Albert Museum were on display to mark the important historical moments and the cultural achievements of the two countries. London Symphony Orchestra and Guildhall School of Music and Drama played classical music. Guests from various communities expressed their warm congratulations on the 45th anniversary, and spoke highly of the achievements of China-UK relations. They also expressed that they are ready to contribute to China-UK relations and work for more fruitful outcomes in the "Golden Era".
Ambassador Liu Xiaoming and Madame Hu Pinghua visiting the photo exhibition with Under Secretary Alok Sharma