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Ambassador Zheng Zeguang: To enhance understanding and trust, China and the UK can make concerted efforts in the four aspects

Speaking at the online reception celebrating the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on 28 September 2021, Ambassador Zheng Zeguang reviewed the evolution of China-UK relations in the past 72 years and stressed that since the establishment of diplomatic relationship, the China-UK relations, despite ups and downs, has made historic progress on the whole and delivered tangible benefits to the peoples of both countries.

He noted that in recent years, this relationship encountered some setbacks and that this does not serve the interest of our peoples or our two countries.

Ambassador Zheng said, “In the past three months since I arrived in London, I have met with many British friends from different circles. They agree that there is a deficit in mutual understanding between our two countries. There is much misperception and not enough trust. The potential for cooperation is far from being fully tapped. Now is the time to change this situation”.

He hoped that the two sides will make concerted efforts in four aspects.

First, have a right understanding of each other’s development.

China always values peace, good neighbourliness and harmony, and it has been faithfully practicing these values. China’s development poses no threat to any country. On the contrary, it creates opportunities for common development. We do not see the UK as an adversary or a threat. Quite the opposite, we regard the UK as a partner for dialogue and cooperation.

It is hoped that people in the UK would see China as it is, transcending ideological barrier and rejecting the misperception that China is a “systemic competitor” or even a threat. This is the right choice to make because it is in line with the interests of the UK and the common interests of our two countries.

Second, respect each other.

Countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are all equals. No country is superior to others. The people have the right to choose a development path that suits the national conditions of their own country. No other country has the right to interfere in this process. Long-term and steady cooperation between countries is determined by whether they can respect each other’s sovereignty, security and development interests.

China and the UK have different views on certain issues. That is nothing to be afraid of. The key is to keep the door to communication open and engage in candid dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect. Only in this way can we narrow differences, expand consensus and build up mutual trust.

Third, expand exchanges and cooperation.

China-UK cooperation enjoys enormous potential and promising prospects. Under the principle of mutual benefit, our two sides should expand cooperation in trade, investment, financial services, infrastructure, clean energy and green development, and deepen friendly exchanges in the areas of education, culture, sports and tourism. Such cooperation will bring real benefits to the peoples of both countries.

It is important that our two governments foster a sound and stable political environment and a fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for the exchanges and cooperation between our two sides.

Fourth, display the courage to shoulder responsibilities as major countries.

As countries of global significance, China and the UK have every reason to contribute more to the progress of mankind.

Our two sides need to enhance communication and coordination on major global issues such asCovid-19 response, economic recovery and climate change. We should leverage our respective strengths and help developing countries meet the challenges from diseases, poverty and environmental deterioration. And we should make greater contribution to safeguarding world peace and promoting common development.

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