LONDON, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- "Solidarity and cooperation are the most effective weapons against global challenges," such as the coronavirus pandemic and climate change, the charge d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy in the UK, Chen Wen, said here Wednesday.
Chen made the statement at the "Icebreakers" 2021 Chinese New Year Online Celebration held jointly by the China Chamber of Commerce in the UK (CCCUK), the 48 Group Club and China-Britain Business Council (CBBC).
"We are living in a global village where countries share weal and woe, and a common future," Chen said. "Solidarity and cooperation are the most effective weapons against global challenges."
"China and the UK should shoulder our responsibilities as important global players," she said. "This means we should deepen cooperation with other countries in fighting the pandemic, share information, enhance joint prevention and control, and step up global cooperation on R&D, production and distribution of vaccines and ensure that vaccines are public goods that are accessible and affordable to the peoples of all countries."
China and Britain should also aim for long-term development and make fresh contribution to global sustainable development, Chen said, adding that the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) to be held in May in Kunming, China, and the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) to be held in Glasgow, Britain, in November provide opportunities for the two countries to enhance coordination and take the lead in global governance on climate change and green development.
Meanwhile, Chen also called for the joint efforts by China and Britain to expand business cooperation. She noted that in 2020, China's GDP grew by 2.3 percent and trade in goods grew by 1.9 percent year-on-year. China was the only major economy in the world that realized positive growth in GDP and trade in goods. It was also the world's largest recipient of FDI.
As China is opening up wider and deeper and in more areas, its enormous market and growing domestic demand will create more opportunities of cooperation for businesses of all countries, including Britain, Chen said.
"We should match our development strategies, leverage respective strengths, and be creative," she said. "We can also expand cooperation in new industries and new models and new forms of business."
"It is our hope that the UK will remain committed to an open economy and free trade, and foster an open, fair, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese businesses here in this country," she added.
Chen noted that business cooperation between the two sides has showed resilience.
Bilateral trade in goods reached 92.37 billion U.S. dollars, increasing by 7 percent year-on-year and hitting yet another record, she said.
Direct investment from Britain to China stood at 2.9 billion dollars, increasing by 28.3 percent year-on-year, she said. "London remains the world's largest offshore RMB exchange center and the second largest offshore RMB clearing center."
Meanwhile, Britain has replaced the United States to become the top destination for Chinese students who want to study overseas, she noted, adding that the number of both Chinese students in Britain and British students in China kept growing.
"It is my belief that as long as China and the UK follow the major trend and work in the same direction in the spirit of mutual respect and win-win cooperation, China-UK relations and China-UK cooperation will embrace a warm spring," she said.
More than 1,000 guests and participants from political, business, culture and academic circles from both China and Britain took part in the "Icebreakers" on-line celebration on Wednesday.
In 1954, Jack Perry, the founder of London Export Corporation, led a group of 48 British businessmen on a historic trade mission to Beijing and helped deliver one of the first modern-day trade links with China, effectively breaking the U.S.-led Western embargo on the newly founded Asian country.
The 48 men were the precursors of the 48 Group Club. The trip became known as the "Icebreaking Mission," and the club members were called "Icebreakers." Enditem