Fireworks explode around the London Eye during the New Year celebrations in London, Britain, Jan. 1, 2019. (Xinhua/Gui Zi)
LONDON, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) -- London celebrated the New Year on Tuesday with its world-famous fireworks, as the British capital is seeking to boost its image as an open city against the backdrop of new relationship with the European Union (EU).
As part of the Mayor's #LondonIsOpen campaign, a soundtrack featuring Europe's finest musical artists was staged to show the diversity of the capital amid the New Year fireworks.
The spectacular soundtrack and fireworks, with eight tonnes of fireworks used in 348 firing sites across the city, attracted more than 100,000 spectators.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan told Xinhua that he wants everyone around the world to know that London is open. "One of my concerns as the mayor of London, is people may think because we could be leaving the European Union, we will stop being open minded. So the message and the theme of this fireworks show is London is open," said the mayor.
According to Khan, London is not only open to people, to talents, but also to ideas and businesses.
Commenting about the Brexit deal with EU, the mayor thinks it is a bad deal for Britain. He hoped that the British parliament would allow the British public to have a say on whether to accept the deal the government has done with the option of staying in the EU. "I think the British public should be given that choice."
The mayor expressed his confidence in keeping London great even if Britain leaves the EU. "If it is the case that we leave the European Union, I am confident that London will carry on being a fantastic city, a global city my view the greatest city in the world. One of the reasons why we are a great city, the greatest city, is because of our diversity."
Sadiq Khan highlighted Chinese investors and students' contribution to London and looked forward to celebrating the Chinese New Year in February.
"I have seen as the mayor of London the fruits of an open China. With the number of Chinese men and women investing in our city from the Royal Docks, to the City of London, massive contribution made by Chinese men and women to our city. I am looking forward again in a couple of months time celebrating Chinese New Year with many others in Trafalgar Square. It is a good example of contribution made to our city economically, culturally, but also socially by the Chinese community to our city," said the mayor.
The New Year celebration started with 12 bells from the Big Ben, which has remained silent during the year because of the undergoing renovation works. Eye-catching fireworks followed, illuminating the Thames and London. The audience cheered and welcomed the New Year in the most enthusiastic way. Gorgeous fireworks and beautiful music brought the atmosphere to a climax.
The fireworks show was also beamed to TV audiences around the world, reinforcing the city's position as a global capital of tourism and culture.
The London Fireworks Show began in 2000 and has since become an essential New Year's event in the UK.