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Despite differences, China and UK looking to strengthen ties

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A freight train from Yiwu City in east China's Zhejiang Province, arrives in Barking, east London, Britain. (Xinhua file photo/Han Yan)

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a phone conversation late Thursday with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on China-UK relations.

Noting that China-UK relations have a deep foundation and strong driving force, Wang said that China has always attached importance to Britain’s international status and is willing to become a partner of a “Global Britain.”

As permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, Wang said China and the UK should fulfill their international responsibilities, step up communication and coordination, work together to tackle global challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, maintain world peace and stability, and promote global economic recovery and sustainable development.

Noting that it is an objective reality that there are differences between the two sides due to their different historical and cultural backgrounds, different stages of development and different perspectives on issues, Wang said that what is important is that the two sides should conduct dialogue in the spirit of mutual respect, so as to enhance understanding, dispel doubts, clarify facts and distinguish right from wrong.
Microphone diplomacy is not advisable, Wang said, adding that neither does “group politics” meet the requirements of the times.

Wang also elaborated on China’s principled position on issues related to Hong Kong and Xinjiang, stressing that the “one country, two systems” policy is China’s basic state policy, which China will unswervingly and consistently adhere to.

He also pointed out that Xinjiang-related issues are in essence about countering violent terrorism, separatism and radicalization, adding that while the Chinese side welcomes foreign visitors to Xinjiang to learn about the real situation, it does not accept the so-called “investigation” based on the presumption of guilt.

China is ready to continue exchanges with the UK on sensitive issues with an open attitude, Wang said, adding that the British side should respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the development path independently chosen by the Chinese people and China’s right to handle its internal affairs without interference.

For his part, Raab said that UK-China relations have a deep and solid foundation. Although there are differences between the two sides, he said, the British side is willing to strengthen exchanges and rational communication with China in the spirit of mutual respect and seeking common ground while reserving differences, so as to continuously enhance mutual understanding and let cooperation rather than differences define bilateral relations.

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