Diplomat highlights opportunities for Sino-UK ties

(Chinadaily.com.cn) 09:38, October 12, 2022

China has always been a force for peace and its development serves as an opportunity for the United Kingdom and the world at large, said former Chinese ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming, who dismissed false claims that the country's rise poses a threat to others.

Liu, China's longest-serving ambassador to the UK, took up the post in London in 2010 and left in 2021. He is now the special representative of the Chinese government on Korean Peninsula affairs.

During his 11 years of service in the UK, he gave dozens of interviews with British and US news outlets and agencies in which he rebutted the false claims and allegations leveled at China as part of efforts to overcome the "understanding deficit" between the West and China.

He told China Daily that the various questions raised by British television hosts showed not only their lack of understanding of China but also demonstrated their arrogance and prejudice. He said many of those interactions with the Western media were written down in his new book titled Sharp Dialogue.

"Against the backdrop of the severe international public opinion environment, I feel the urgent need to tell China stories well and make China's voice heard to present a credible, lovable, and respectable image of China as well as present a true, multidimensional and panoramic view of China," Liu said.

In recent years, some Western countries have deemed China to be more and more aggressive and even view China as a "threat".

"Some Western countries do not adapt to the reality that China has become a responsible major country which requires the international discourse suiting its global influence and status," Liu said.

During the interviews with British media, he would be asked about China's role on the international stage and whether Beijing would attempt to replace Washington.

"I have unequivocally stated that China has no interest to replace any country, nor has it the intention to become a world leader. What we truly care about is to become a better version of ourselves," he said.

"China pursues a foreign policy of peace in order to create a favorable environment for its development and in turn contributes to world peace and prosperity through its growth, which is definitely a benign interaction."

Common interests

On Sino-UK relations, Liu said he believed the common interests of China and the UK far outweigh their differences. Both sides would "achieve win-win results through cooperation and double losses via confrontation", he said.

President Xi Jinping's state visit to the UK in 2015 ushered in a golden era for relations between the two countries. However, ties over the past few years have been strained by a number of rows, including those related to Hong Kong and the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Noting China remains committed to forging sound and stable Sino-UK relations, Liu said: "It is the UK that has changed and viewed China as a 'threat'."

He said that the UK ordered a national security review against Chinese investments, fabricated lies on Xinjiang-related issues, and smeared the practice of "one country, two systems" in Hong Kong.

Liu said some individuals with ulterior motives do not want to see Hong Kong be transformed from chaos to order through the implementation of the national security law. "They are living in the 21 century with the outdated thinking from the age of colonialism," he said.

It is normal for China and the UK to have differences. The key is to seek common interests and uphold the principle of mutual respect to ensure that bilateral ties go steady and far, Liu said, adding the two countries should strive for the maximum of their shared interests.

China is the UK's third-largest trading partner and largest source of goods imports. The bilateral trade in goods in 2021 exceeded $110 billion for the first time, data shows.

(Web editor: Wu Chaolan, Hongyu)


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