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UK hailed for closer relations with China

By Andrew Moody (China Daily) Updated: 2015-10-20 07:16

UK hailed for closer relations with China

A cavalry troop passes The Mall near Buckingham Palace on Monday. President Xi Jinping is scheduled to officially start his state visit to the United Kingdom on Tuesday.WU ZHIYI/CHINA DAILY

The United Kingdom is right in its bold new approach to developing closer ties with China, according to a leading historian.

Niall Ferguson, professor of history at Harvard University and author of the recently published Kissinger: 1923-1968 The Idealist, said he believed President Xi Jinping's visit to the UK would be important in cementing closer ties.

"I think it is a brave move by the British government at a time when Washington is distinctly hesitant and ambivalent about the rise of China as a superpower, but I think it is the correct decision," he said.

"This is a very different world from that of the Cold War. Anyone who thinks there can be containment of China does not understand the first thing about the realities of the early 21st century. China is a key player in all the debates of our time-from economic growth and cybersecurity to climate change-and I think the UK is right to seek good relations with Beijing."

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne prepared the ground for Xi's trip when he visited China in September, when a number of projects were announced, including a 1.8 billion pound ($2.8 billion) investment in Hinkley Point nuclear power station.

During his visit, Xi is likely to signal that London will be the major global offshore center for the Chinese currency. He will also announce infrastructure investment in the so-called Northern Powerhouse, a strategy to revitalize the north of England.

For Martin Jacques, author of When China Rules the World, the second edition of which is about to be published in China, the announcement in March that the UK would become a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank set the course for the new relationship.

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