LONDON, June 15 -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's upcoming visit to Britain will be of great importance to promoting bilateral relations and will lay a solid foundation for comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, Chinese Ambassador to Britain has said.
Li is scheduled to visit Britain on June 16-19. During his stay in London, the Chinese premier will meet Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister David Cameron, attend a banquet with the two countries' business representatives and deliver a speech to British think tanks.
Describing the visit as "a priority for both China and Britain," Ambassador Liu Xiaoming said that Li's visit is expected to promote mutual political trust and advance cooperation in such fields as economy and trade, reform and innovation so as to promote the sound and steady development of bilateral relations.
"The visit comes at a time of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of China-Britain comprehensive strategic partnership. Therefore, it will be of important significance to enhancing mutual political trust between the two countries, stepping up bilateral cooperation in such fields as economic and trade development, reform and innovation, and prompting China-Britain relations to register healthy and steady development at higher levels", Liu said.
The China-Britain comprehensive strategic partnership has borne rich fruits since the two governments issued a joint statement to upgrade their relations in 2004, he said.
Mutual political trust has been deepened and very complete mechanisms, including the mechanism for annual meeting between the Chinese premier and the British prime minister, the mechanism for bilateral economic and financial dialogue, the mechanism for high-level human resources exchange between China and Britain and the mechanism for China-Britain strategic dialogue, have been established, Liu said.
Cooperation in the economic and trade field has further expanded, he noted. Annual two-way trade surged from 20 billion U.S. dollars a decade ago to 70 billion dollars last year. And China's investment in Britain has amounted to 13 billion dollars over the past two years alone, surpassing the total sum of the previous 30 years.
People-to-people exchanges, Liu noted, have also registered substantial progress. Britain is now home to 25 Confucius Institutes and nearly 100 Confucius classrooms, making it the leader in Chinese language teaching and learning in Europe.
"It's natural that China and Britain have differences as they have different social systems, different historical backgrounds and cultural heritages," he said. "The two countries should, on the basis of equal treatment and mutual respect of each other, respect each other's core interests and major concerns, and appropriately settle such differences."
"A piece of precious experience left over from the China-Britain comprehensive strategic partnership over the past 10 years is that as long as we can appropriately handle such differences in accordance with these principles, China-Britain relations will be able to keep forging ahead. If differences cannot be appropriately handled in accordance with these principles, China-Britain relations will sustain setbacks," the ambassador said.
Li's visit is expected to result in the signing of over 40 agreements between the governments and businesses covering a wide range of sectors including energy, investment, culture, education, high technology and finance, Liu said.
The two premiers will extensively and profoundly exchange opinions on international and regional issues of common concern, and will consolidate bilateral consensus and strengthen bilateral cooperation in terms of maintaining world peace and security, promoting common development and responding to global challenges, he said.