Gordon Brown paid his first official visit to China on January 18-20, less than seven months after he succeeded Tony Blair to become British prime minister. During his stay in Beijing, he held talks with President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Wu Bangguo. Wen and Brown had informal discussions with students and citizen representatives at the Renmin University of China. Brown also visited China's National Stadium, or the Bird's Nest, the main venue for the Beijing Olympics in August, to convey his best wishes for the upcoming games.
The three-day visit also took Brown to Shanghai, a major economic and financial center in east China, where he met Chinese entrepreneurs and witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the development of Dongtan eco-city, the world's first environmentally and economically sustainable city.
Brown's visit injected new impetus to the steadily progressing Sino-British relations, Chinese foreign affairs experts said. It will also have positive implications for China's relationship with the EU, given Brown's commitment to a more open Europe, they said.
Fresh elements should be introduced to Sino-British relations on the basis of what they have achieved, said Feng Zhongping, Director of the Institute of European Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. He believes China's strategic cooperation with European countries should be based on two "pillars"-one is economic cooperation, especially cooperation in the financial field when it comes to the Sino-British partnership; and the other is international cooperation in the spirit of jointly addressing global challenges in the new century.
China and Britain defined their relationship as a "comprehensive strategic partnership" during Wen's visit to Britain in 2004. Under new circumstances, the two countries should enhance their cooperation on both bilateral and international levels to upgrade their comprehensive strategic partnership, Wen told Brown in Beijing.
When they met the press after their talks, Wen said China and Britain would intensify their cooperation in various fields while adhering to the principles of mutual trust and mutual benefit. The two countries also will strengthen their communication on economic development and social progress to learn from each other with a focus on improving people's livelihoods. They will seize major opportunities for cooperation to lay the groundwork for long-term development, Wen said.
On the international level, China and Britain will jointly safeguard world peace and stability, promote democracy and multilateralism in international relations and seek peaceful solutions to international disputes, Wen said. The two countries will stand for free trade, oppose protectionism and commit themselves to resolving the development issue and assisting other developing countries. They will also honor their obligations in environmental protection and jointly deal with climate change, he said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said Brown's visit to China was a success because it deepened the two countries' existing ties and promoted the further development of their relations.
Chinese and British leaders are viewing the two countries' relations from a strategic, long-term perspective, Liu said. During Brown's visit, leaders of the two countries discussed the development of the international situation and the globalization process. Both sides believe the globalized economy should be an open economy and trade protectionism should be opposed.