EDINBURGH, Britain, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Scottish businesses should have confidence in Hong Kong and the role it plays in the deepening cooperation between Scotland and China, Chinese ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming said Monday when addressing an event hosted by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC).
A mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Scotland has expanded and yielded concrete results in recent years, Liu said, citing increased cultural and people-to-people exchanges and a five-year strategic plan by the Scottish government on cooperation with China.
In 2018, bilateral trade reached 3.66 billion pounds (about 4.75 billion U.S. dollars), and more than 200,000 Chinese tourists visited Scotland, Liu added.
Hong Kong, which plays an important part in the cooperation between China and Scotland, has seen steady progress in such fields as technology and innovation, said the Chinese ambassador, who also highlighted an enormous potential for cooperation in fintech and bioscience, among other areas.
However, violence in Hong Kong in the past five months has severely damaged the rule of law, disrupted public order, undermined local prosperity and stability, and challenged the policy of "one country, two systems," Liu said.
That, he added, has "put at risk the interests of 300,000 British citizens and more than 700 British companies, including Scottish citizens and companies in Hong Kong."
It is the priority for Hong Kong to end the violence and restore order, Liu said.
Liu added that he hopes that the people of Scotland, as well as those in other parts of Britain, have a clear understanding of the current situation in Hong Kong, and support the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in its efforts to end violence, restore order and maintain the rule of law.
"I also hope that the Scottish business community will have confidence in Hong Kong," he noted.
About 200 people attended the SCC event. The SCC is Scotland's largest business-to-business network, representing more than 12,000 companies and over 50 percent of Scotland's private sector workforce.
"Business needs (an) environment of stability and certainty. Hong Kong is one of the greatest commercial centers in the world, which Scottish companies want access to. I hope the situation will be resolved safely," Tim Allan, SCC president, told Xinhua.
Allan said that the ambassador, in his remarks, was "very clear about China's commitment to the rule of law and safety in Hong Kong."
"He is very clear on that Hong Kong is part of China and that is China's internal affair, and we understand that," the SCC president said.