UK visa ser­vice high­lights bi­lat­eral ties

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By LI XIAOKUN lix­i­aokun@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Bri­tain’s Princess Anne wit­nessed on Tues­day how hard the Bri­tish em­bassy is work­ing to woo Chi­nese vis­i­tors, as a Chi­nese ath­lete ob­tained a visa for the United King­dom in a mat­ter of min­utes.

Em­bassy of­fi­cials vis­ited the train­ing site of China’s na­tional track and field team, with sprinter Su Bing­tian be­ing given his UK visa, en­abling him to at­tend the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tions World Cham­pi­onships in Lon­don next month.

Princess Anne ob­served the whole process and talked with Su.

“I’ve trav­eled to many coun­tries for com­pe­ti­tions. This is the fastest visa ser­vice I have ex­pe­ri­enced,” Su said, ad­ding that Princess Anne had wished him good luck in Lon­don.

Ac­cord­ing to the Bri­tish em­bassy, the av­er­age pro­cess­ing time for a non­set­tle­ment visa in the year end­ing March 2017 was seven days, com­pared with a 15-work­ing-day ser­vice stan­dard.

In that pe­riod, the UK is­sued around 612,000 visas to Chi­nese cit­i­zens, a 22 per­cent in­crease on the pre­vi­ous year. In ad­di­tion, it re­ceived about 6,000 24-hour su­per-pri­or­ity visa ser­vice ap­pli­ca­tions, rep­re­sent­ing a 126 per­cent in­crease.

The princess’s visit comes two years af­ter the Duke of Cam­bridge’s visit to China and al­most 32 years since Queen El­iz­a­beth II and the Duke of Ed­in­burgh trav­eled to the coun­try.

“The visit un­der­scores the strength of bi­lat­eral re­la­tions and the fact UK-China links stretch across a broad range of sec­tors,” said Dame Bar­bara Wood­ward, Bri­tish am­bas­sador to China.

“The ben­e­fits and op­por­tu­ni­ties re­sult­ing from co­op­er­a­tion in ed­u­ca­tion, sport, con­ser­va­tion and sci­en­tific re­search are sig­nif­i­cant for both our coun­tries as we fur­ther de­velop our global part­ner­ship,” she said.

Princess Anne met with Vice-Pre­mier Liu Yan­dong ear­lier on Tues­day. Sev­eral of her ac­tiv­i­ties were open to me­dia, though the princess did not make a public speech.

While in Bei­jing, the princess, who is a mem­ber of the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com- mit­tee, is sched­uled to meet Chi­nese IOC rep­re­sen­ta­tives to dis­cuss col­lab­o­ra­tion on up­com­ing events in­clud­ing the Bei­jing 2022 Win­ter Olympics.

Princess Anne will also visit Wuhan and Chang­sha, the re­spec­tive pro­vin­cial cap­i­tals of Hubei and Hu­nan.

Zhou Jin con­trib­uted to this story.

FENG YONGBIN / CHINA DAILY

Bri­tain’s Princess Anne vis­its the train­ing site of China’s na­tional track and field team in Bei­jing on Tues­day, as top Chi­nese sprinter Su Bing­tian (right) was given a visa by United King­dom em­bassy of­fi­cials in a mat­ter of min­utes.

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