British official: Britain hopes for closer ties with China
Updated: 2011-02-16 13:58
By Zhang Haizhou and Zhang Chunyan (chinadaily.com.cn)
LONDON - Britain hopes to achieve a "closest possible partnership" with China, as the European country wishes to work with emerging powers to jointly tackle global challenges.
Andrew Mitchell, British Secretary of State for International Development and a Member of the Parliament, said here on Tuesday emerging powers now play an "indispensable role" in global issues like trade, finance, climate change, etc, as the "development community has changed".
He singled out fighting poverty as an area in which Britain and emerging powers could work together more closely.
"Historically the global debate on poverty was dominated by the rich OECD donors. Today, it's an issue often championed by emerging powers," Mitchell said in a speech to the Royal Institute of International Affairs.
"Take China (for example). According to the Financial Times, China's development bank and its export-import bank committed more loans to developing countries over the last two years than the World Bank."
China Development Bank and China Export-Import Bank signed loans of at least $110 billion to other developing country governments and companies in 2009 and 2010, according to FT research. The equivalent arms of the World Bank made loan commitments of $100.3 billion from mid-2008 to mid-2010, itself a record amount of lending in response to the financial crisis.
His remarks came a week after the British government published a trade and investment white paper, in which further engaging emerging powers is considered part of Britain's government strategy.
Mitchell said Britain hopes to form "new partnership" or "new alliances", "formal and informal", with emerging powers to help other developing countries.
"If the first dimension of our changing relationship is about working with the emerging powers to tackle their own poverty, the next is to work with them to reduce the poverty in other developing countries," he said. "Chinese investors, Brazilian social entrepreneurs, and Indian bloggers now rival Oxfam in setting the development agenda."
On China, Mitchell said the richer world has been "one of the main beneficiaries of China's success" over the past 25 year. But after several years of dramatic progress, he suggests both countries "must now focus" their efforts elsewhere.
"I think the partnership between China and the UK on development issues and as on many other issues as well should be as close as it can be," Mitchell said.
He also said he is looking forward to going to Beijing to discuss on how to deepen that partnership again this summer.
China and Britain has, at least rhetorically, formed a "partnership for growth" since the coalition government came to power in May last year.
"I want to see the closest possible partnership between Britain and China, both in confronting the issues like climate change and trade, which are enormously important to both of us, and in focusing on third countries where together we have a specific interest," Mitchell said, suggesting, for example, both countries could work together to help Sudan.
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