China and Britain should seize new opportunities of cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to advance the “Golden Era” of bilateral relations, Chinese Ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming said.
“China-UK relationship is standing at a new historical starting point. Our two countries face huge potential and promising prospects for cooperation,” Liu said in a keynote speech on the BRI in the UK Parliament.
The Chinese diplomat called on both sides to seize the opportunities of rule-setting, innovation and financing to ensure high-quality BRI cooperation in the new stage.
Britain has been a world leader in regulatory expertise and it has unique advantages when it comes to the laws, rules and standards on international trade, Liu said.
“China and the UK have broad consensus and common interests in supporting the rule-based multilateral trade system. Going forward, based on our cooperation in the third markets, our two countries can enhance exchanges and cooperation on the setting and application of international rules and standards. This could provide better regulatory support for high-quality BRI development,” he said.
Meanwhile, to achieve high-quality BRI development, greater emphasis must be placed on innovation, Liu said, adding that digital, cyber and smart technology will create new impetus for growth and open up new paths for development.
“The UK, as the cradle of the Industrial Revolution, has rich experience, unique heritage and strong capability in innovation. China is also a leader in innovation. China and the UK can certainly do more to tap our respective potential for cooperation on innovation, so as to make more contribution to a digital and innovative Silk Road,” he said.
On the issue of BRI financing, the ambassador said Britain can take an active part in the investment and financing of BRI projects by fully leveraging the strength of the City of London and new resources such Shanghai-London Stock Connect.
“The UK can also explore ways to attract more capital from the private sector and open up more sources and cut costs of financing, so as to ensure the sustainable development of BRI and provide new impetus for international cooperation on trade and investment,” he said.
Since it was proposed by China in 2013, Liu said, the BRI has followed the principles of peace, development, openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation and has become a platform for international cooperation with extensive participation: 131 countries and 30 international organisations have signed documents with China on BRI cooperation.
The Chinese diplomat stressed that in the new stage, BRI cooperation will be open, green and clean, which means “building an open world economy, protecting our planet that’s vital for human survival and ensuring project transparency.”
“BRI is an economic initiative that promotes open and inclusive cooperation. It is not aimed at excluding or replacing anyone, still less forming an exclusive geopolitical alliance or, in their words, ‘China club’,” he said.
As BRI enters into high-quality development, China stands ready to work with British friends from all walks of life to seize the new opportunities and take concrete actions to translate the blueprint into outcomes, said the ambassador.