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(From People's Daily Online)|
China's President Xi Jinping is on a state visit to the UK at the invitation of the Queen Elizabeth II from Oct. 19 to 23, 2015. Xi's visit to the UK is the first by a Chinese president in over a decade. China and the UK will work together to usher in a "golden era" for comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries. The Sino-UK relationship is in a growth trend and faces new development opportunities. What highlights in the Sino-UK relationship will be written into the annals of the history? People's Daily Online sums up 26 key words from A to Z.
A- Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
In March 2015 the United Kingdom applied to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and became the first major Western country to apply full membership of the AIIB. China positively commented on the UK’s action.
B- Bilateral ties lifted to a new height
On Oct. 20, 2015, President Xi Jinping delivered a speech at the British Parliament. He emphasized that China and the UK strengthen mutual understanding, support and friendship. On Oct. 21, President Xi and Prime Minister Cameron reached an agreement to build a “global comprehensive strategic partnership” in the 21st century.
C- Chequers Talk
During this visit, President Xi and his wife come to Chequers, a country house retreat of the British Prime Minister and had dinner with the Camerons.
D- Destination of Investment
By the end of 2014, direct investment from China to the UK had reached over 40 billion dollars. The UK has become China’s biggest destination of investment in Europe, and over 500 Chinese companies have set up offices in the UK.
E- Education cooperation
The number of Chinese students in the United Kingdom has reached 150,000, taking almost half of the total number of Chinese students in EU and ranked the first of all overseas students in the UK. The Chinese government is still annually increasing scholarships for overseas students, and the UK government has been encouraging students to come to China through its “Generation UK” project.
F- Football Cooperation
In recent years China and the UK have had great cooperation and exchanges on football. In 2015, the two countries signed a Sino-UK youth football project.
G- Golden Era
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron said the relationship between China and the UK has entered a “Golden Era”. He stressed that President Xi’s visit is the best opportunity to deepen China-UK relations. In the written interview with Reuters, President Xi said he hopes his visit to UK will chart the course for the future growth of China-UK relations, inject new impetus in practical cooperation between the two countries in all fields and enable the two sides to jointly usher in a "golden time" for China-UK comprehensive strategic partnership.
H- High-speed Railway
In April, 2015, China and the UK set up a joint railway working group, and are encouraging corporations and financial organizations to join the UK’s second high-speed rail project HS2. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne visited China in September, he opened the HS2 contract bidding that was worth 11.8 billion pounds.
I- Interests in common
President Xi said in his speech at the UK Parliament on Oct. 20, 2015 that China and the United Kingdom are “increasingly inter-dependent and becoming a community of shared interests.”
J- Joint Scientific Innovation Fund
The two countries have set up the Joint Scientific Innovation Fund, which is a new exploration in China-UK cooperation. This milestone in scientific cooperation helped propel cooperation in basic research, innovation, talent cultivation, etc., between the two countries.
During President Xi Jinping’s visit to the UK, he delivered several key note speeches, including one at the UK Parliament, one at the China-UK Business Leaders’ Summit, and one at the dinner hosted by the Lord Mayor of the City of London Alderman Alan Yarrow.
L- Legal Enforcement and Security Cooperation
The UK and China have been maintaining very good cooperation in legal enforcement and fighting against corruption. In July 2015, President Xi’s special envoy Meng Jianzhu said when he was meeting with Prime Minister Cameron that legal enforcement and security cooperation is an important component of the China-UK comprehensive strategic partnership, and embodies high mutual trust between the two countries, a highlight of China-UK cooperation in a new era.
M- Market Economy Status for China
The UK recognized China’s market economy status, and being supportive in relations with the EU. For years the UK has been suggesting that the EU give market economy status recognition for China.
N- Nuclear Power Station
During an interview with Reuters Chinese President Xi Jinping said that The Hinkley Point is the product of tripartite cooperation among China, the UK and France. “I hope that the companies of the three countries will fully leverage their respective strengths to ensure the successful launch of this project and deliver benefits to the British people,” he said.
EDF Energy reached an agreement with China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) for a nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point, Somerset on Oct. 21, 2015.
O- Offshore Trading Hub for RMB
London launched its RMB business-centre programme in 2012. After several years of development London has become one of the most dynamic and important offshore trading hubs for RMB.
P- People-to-People Exchange
The number of Chinese traveling to the U.K. maintained double-digit growth every year for the past five years. Five years ago residents from mainland China accounted for 300,000 trips to the U.K. as their first travel destination, while the number reached nearly 530,000 in 2014. Bilateral personnel exchanges exceeded 1.1 million in 2014.
Q- Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor for RMB
The U.K. is the first non-Asia country that has been approved as a Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor in RMB.
R- Royal Gallery
Xi Jinping delivered a speech in the Royal Gallery of United Kingdom Parliament at Westminster. According to the official website of the Parliament, the Royal Gallery is only used for state events.
U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, King of Spain Juan Carlos I, President of France François Mitterrand and the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel have delivered speeches there.
S- Sovereign Bonds Denominated in RMB
The U.K. is the first Western country to issue a sovereign bond denominated in the RMB.
T- Third Party Market Exploration
Gao Hucheng, Commerce Minister of China, said before Xi's U.K. visit that China should take full advantage in equipment manufacturing and capital, and UK should make use of its advantages in technology, innovation, management experience and financial services, to boost cooperation in third-party markets and create new places for bilateral economic and trade cooperation.
U- Upgrading Infrastructure Plans
The U.K. government plans include upgrading infrastructure, building an economic-center in northern England and the U.K. Industry 2015 Strategy. These plans fit nicely with China's "One Belt One Road" initiative and "Made in China 2025" strategy. Experts think that the U.K.'s need to upgrade infrastructure might become a new spotlight in Sino-U.K. cooperation.
V- Visa Application
To facilitate residents of China traveling to the U.K., the British government has simplified the online application process for Chinese individual travelers. The U.K. not only offers 24-hour visa service, but also a British-Irish and British-Belgian visa allowing Chinese citizens travel to Ireland and Belgium on a single visa.
From January 2016, new visitor visas for tourists from China will be valid in the UK for 2 years – 4 times the usual 6-month limit for a standard visitor visa – bringing significant benefits to the UK economy, Prime Minister David Cameron announced on Oct.21, 2015. The application fee for the new visa will be the same as it is now.
W- Windsor Dynasty
During Xi Jinping's visit to the U.K. he will make a formal meeting with Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom and her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Queen Elizabeth II has been Queen since Feb.6, 1952 and she is the fourth monarch of the Windsor Dynasty.
X- Xi’s First State Visit to the UK
China's President Xi Jinping is on a state visit to UK at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II from Oct. 19 to 23, 2015. Xi's visit to the U.K. is the first by a Chinese president in over a decade.
Y- Year of China-UK Cultural Communication
2015 is the year of China-UK cultural communication. U.K culture fairs were successfully held in China in the first half of 2015. The U.K. showed its products in many places in China. Chinese culture themed fair "Innovation China" will be shown in the U.K. in the second half of the year.
To mark the 400th anniversary of the death of playwrights Tang Xianzu and William Shakespeare, China and the U.K. are planning to hold relevant commemoration activities.
Z- Zone of China-EU Free Trade
Talks on China-EU Investment Treaty began in 2013. The U.K, a significant member state in the EU and an advocate of free trade, hold an optimistic attitude towards research on a China-EU Free Trade Zone. China hopes that the U.K. can act supportive during negotiations with the EU on the China-EU Free Trade Zone.