Interview: Britian, China together a force for good in changing world: British ambassador - EntornoInteligente /

BEIJING, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) — The Britain-China relationship will adapt itself to the new era after Brexit to benefit the people of the two countries, and the pair are together a force for good in a fast changing world, British Ambassador to China Barbara Woodward said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Britain in 2015, the two countries have forged a “Golden-Era” partnership and used that to build a strong foundation for bilateral ties, which have witnessed extensive intergovernmental exchanges, good business links, as well as a strong growth in people-to-people exchanges, according to the ambassador.

Hailing the “steady growth” in the London-Beijing relationship last year, Woodward believes Brexit offers Britain an opportunity to deepen the ties in the future as her country will have new freedoms to develop free trade partnerships with others and is keen to promote trade and investment ties with China.

According to the diplomat, Britain and China have started a joint economic and trade review, which is in its preparatory phase, to find out whether a free trade agreement or other approaches would best serve the interests of the two sides.

The two countries’ relations not just benefit their people, but also have global characteristics, said Woodward. “We are living in a far more technological world,” and the threat of climate change is much more acute, she said, calling on both countries to adapt their ties to all global changes so that they remain “strong and relevant,” and beneficial for both countries and peoples.

In particular, they need to work together on “really pressing issues of the day,” she noted. “I would put climate change right at the very top of that list, and I think that’s where it should be. So our mutual work on climate change and biodiversity will be very important,” she said.

According to Woodward, 2020 is a “big year” for both China and Britain to lead on climate change: China will be hosting the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the Convention on biodiversity, while Britain is preparing to host the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow. Britain hopes it will drive the world forward from the Paris agreement and secure ambitious agreements, and expects high-level representation from China at that conference.

Living in a more technological world and looking at the fourth industrial revolution, Britain and China should continue to work together on science and technology, research and development, as “all of our societies want to move forward further, faster with great connectivity,” she noted.

Meanwhile, Britain and China had previously worked very closely to tackle Ebola, and should continue to strengthen their healthcare cooperation and deal with similar problems such as aging societies, she noted.

According to the diplomat, the term “Global Britain” not only captures a country that stands for free trade in a fair and open society, but also emphasizes its commitment to being a good global citizen. As a member of the UN Security Council and the Group of 20 (G20), Britain continues to play an active role in global affairs.

Together, Britain and China can serve as “a good force in the world,” can boost global free trade through the G20 and the World Trade Organization, and work together as UN Security Council partners to promote global security and peace, the ambassador said.

Woodward also acknowledged that there is a gigantic deficit in global infrastructure development, thus it is important for the two nations to put together relative skills in third countries and help meet sustainable development goals.

For instance, Britain and China are working together on four sustainable development projects in West Africa where China is providing more of the infrastructure side of funding and Britain is offering more of the capability building and training. Meanwhile, the two sides have worked closely on the Belt and Road Initiative as well, she noted.

This year, as China completely lifts its people out of poverty, the world still has 10 years to go to meet the 2030 UN sustainable development goals, the diplomat said, adding that “we’re going to need all of that time.”

Therefore, China and Britain should continuously promote common development, and make sure that “the growth is sustainable, clean and green,” she noted.


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