Harvest of greater harmony
British Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to China, the first high-level contact between the two countries in more than two years, is widely perceived as symbolizing the two countries’ efforts to bring bilateral ties back on the right track. Ties between China and the United Kingdom plummeted after Cameron met the Dalai Lama in May 2012, a move that China saw as interference in its internal affairs. Since then, bilateral cooperation has lagged behind China’s interaction with other countries in Europe, such as Germany and France.
China and the UK cannot afford to allow such an undesirable trend to continue. At present, some 120,000 Chinese students are studying in Britain, which is just one fruit stemming from the deep roots of people-to-people exchanges between the two nations.
Prior to his visit, Cameron opened an account on Sina Weibo, China’s popular micro blog website, to say hello to Chinese people. In two days, it attracted more than 125,000 followers, which offers another perspective from which to gauge the potentially fertile soil of China-British friendship.
Cameron was accompanied by a 100-member strong business delegation, a clear signal that both nations are ready to lift bilateral cooperation in trade to a higher level.
On Monday, Premier Li Keqiang and Cameron attended the signing of 10 bilateral agreements. Breakthroughs have been made in high-speed railways and nuclear energy.
The UK has reaffirmed its respect for China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and Li said in his joint news conference with Cameron on Monday that China and Britain have become indispensable partners in each other’s economic and social development. Cameron also threw his weight behind the signing of a free trade agreement between China and the European Union.
All these positive results and remarks will help pave the way for bilateral ties to flourish.
As permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and the UK also have the potential to better coordinate their stance in international affairs so that the two can contribute more to world peace and stability.
The ups and downs in their ties show it is crucial that the two countries respect each other’s core interests, handle their differences in a proper and acceptable manner and look forward to the future fruit of their cooperation.