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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

Tourists pose for a photograph in The Mall near Buckingham Palace on Monday. President Xi Jinping is scheduled to officially start his trip to the United Kingdom on Tuesday. WU ZHIYI/CHINA DAILY

He said he believed it was one of the most important signals in UK foreign policy since World War II.

"When (British Prime Minister David) Cameron went to Beijing in late 2013 and said that Britain can be China's best friend, it seemed like hyperbole. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank announcement was the key moment of delivery. It was the most extraordinary event. There was no precedent for a non-Asian country joining."

Jacques said he believed Britain was signaling to the United States that this was the beginning of a new world financial order that was not just based on the 1944 Bretton Woods agreement, which led to the setting up of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Rana Mitter, director of the Dickson Poon China Centre at Oxford University and author of China's War With Japan, 1937-45: The Struggle for Survival, said he believes that if Xi's visit heralds a new era of cooperation between the UK and China, it will not be for the first time.

"Yes, of course, 150 years ago, the Opium Wars were a historical disgrace, but I think it is worth remembering that a century later the two sides were allies during World War II."

Kerry Brown, director of the China Studies Centre at Sydney University and associate fellow on the Asia program at foreign policy think tank Chatham House, hopes Xi's visit will herald a change of thinking about China in the UK.

"It would be good to see this visit contribute to creating a more creative and imaginative relationship, and a wider public interest in the role of China in the UK, embracing not just economic but also cultural understanding and engagement," Brown said.


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