Post Brexit: Britain looks towards China


Relations between China and the United Kingdom are gaining momentum as BritishPrime Minister Theresa May is poised thisweek to begin the process of taking the UKout of the European Union .

"The China-UK relationship at age 45 isentering a new phase of increasedmaturity," said Chinese Ambassador LiuXiaoming, as the two countries marked the 45th anniversary of ambassadorialrelations on Monday.

Liu said the two countries must be "moreinnovative in our cooperation in broaderareas and at greater depth to ensure thatChina-UK relations bear more golden fruitin this golden era".

In the past 45 years, bilateral tradebetween China and the UK has increased 200-fold, said Alok Sharma, UK Minister forAsia and the Pacific. The UK is now one ofthe top destinations for Chineseinvestment and China is the UK's secondlargest export market outside Europe.

"The global partnership established duringPresident Xi Jinping's successful visit to theUK in 2015 is delivering real benefits forboth nations," Sharma wrote in an articlefor China Daily.

London is looking for sources of growth asit prepares for the uncertainty that willfollow its departure from the EU, analystssaid.

"As we prepare to leave the EuropeanUnion, the UK will build a truly globalBritain that is open for business, andbrings with it new and excitingopportunities for our partnership withChina," Sharma said.

George Osborne, 45, former UK chancellorof the exchequer, said: "China is such animportant part of the world now. WhenChina grows, the whole world grows."

Osborne said the creation of the AsianInfrastructure Investment Bank was agreat opportunity for British companies towork on projects in China and CentralAsia. "Many British companies that arebrilliant at infrastructure, design andarchitecture have already been involved insome of China's airports and urbanregeneration projects," he said.

The UK was the first major Westerncountry to ratify its membership in theAsian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

China and Britain have worked closely tostrengthen financial and economic links, including issuing the first renminbisovereign bond outside China andenhancing London's position as the largestrenminbi center outside China. Britain wasalso the first Western country to welcomeinvestment from Chinese nuclearcompanies.

Sino-British links have flourished in avariety of sectors. Chinese investors nowhave major interests in several Englishsoccer clubs, including Manchester City, Aston Villa and Birmingham, and Chinesevisitors to Britain have doubled in fiveyears, with around 150,000 Chinesestudents now studying across the UK and 7,000 British students studying in China.

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