Eyeing the Future
Chinese premier's Britain trip aims to clear hurdles and advance cooperation
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UPDATED: June 23, 2014 NO. 26 JUNE 26, 2014
A New Embrace

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang made an official visit to Britain and Greece from June 16-21; President Xi Jinping visited Europe just this March. Such frequent visits to the continent by Chinese leaders indicate the importance attached to Sino-European relations by both sides. The EU is not only China's biggest trading partner but also an indispensable part of the multipolar world economy. China's forming of closer ties with Europe, too, can be seen as an effort to cushion the impact of the United States' strategic refocus on the Asia-Pacific.

Premier Li's visit further boosted relations with Britain and Greece. As Britain is of great importance to Europe, Li's visit to the country at a time when the all-around Sino-UK strategic partnership enters its 10th year not only enhanced bilateral ties but promoted Sino-European relations. Similarly, Greece is one of the most amiable of EU countries to China.

During Li's visit, over 40 intergovernmental agreements and commercial deals worth over $30 billion were signed between Britain and China, in such diverse industries as energy, culture, education, advanced technology and finance. China and Greece also signed a series of such agreements and deals in the areas of infrastructure construction, culture, and quality control.

The relationship between China and Europe is, now more than ever, mutually beneficial. Trade and economic ties between the two sides have become increasingly closer. Take China and Britain as an example: Trade volume between the two nations reached $70 billion last year, threefold of that figure from a decade ago. China's investment in Britain registered $13 billion for the last two years, higher than that added up over the past 30 years. Additionally, London is China's largest offshore yuan holder.

However, Sino-European relations are often interrupted by unexpected incidents. For instance, Chinese relationships with both France and Britain deteriorated when governments of the two European nations met with the 14th Dalai Lama, a Tibetan separatist.

At present, relationships between China and the two countries and between China and the EU as a whole have been recovered. In addition, Sino-European cooperation in the international economy, trade, politics, education, tourism and ecology is flourishing. It is expected that the Silk Road Economic Belt initiated by China will help further promote trade between China and Europe.

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