UK visa service highlights bilateral ties
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.
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.