Chinese dragon dancers take part in a parade to celebrate Chinese Lunar New Year in central London, Britain, on Feb. 14, 2016. (Xinhua/Richard Washbrooke)
LONDON, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- On the eve of the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year, British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday sent her wishes to those celebrating the festival worldwide through the government's website, pledging to further develop the UK-China relations.
May said the Year of the Rooster is set to be particularly for the relationship between Britain and China, as the starting point of bilateral relations is stronger than ever before.
Recalling the "historic" state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Britain in October 2015, May said the two countries are seeing rapid development of bilateral ties.
"We receive more Chinese investment than any other major European country. We've got around 150,000 Chinese students studying here and the number of Chinese tourists visiting has doubled in five years," she said.
As both countries are permanent members of the UN Security Council, May said Britain and China are working together on the most pressing global issues.
As 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the return of Hong Kong to China and the 45th anniversary of the establishment of the ambassadorial relations between Britain and China, May said she hoped both countries will further their ties in various fields.
"I want us to take this chance to build on all the ties we share -- in business, diplomacy, education, tourism and culture," said the prime minister.
May said she looks forward to making another visit to China, following her trip to Hangzhou to attend the G20 summit last year, which was her first visit outside Europe as prime minister and her first meeting with President Xi.
Furthermore, the prime minister praised the British Chinese community for their "enormous" contribution to the British society.
"The Rooster -- the Fire Rooster -- represents so many of the characteristics we need to employ in that endeavor: openness, confidence, hard work and leadership," May said. "Indeed, they are characteristics demonstrated day in, day out by the British Chinese community."
"As the lanterns are lit and the dumplings are served, let me wish you and your family, wherever you are, a very happy and healthy New Year," she said, before concluding her message in Chinese: "Xin Nian Kuai Le (Happy New Year)!"