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Youth, innovation seen as keys to future of Sino-British cooperation

Ji Tao and Zhang Chunyan
Updated: Sep 18,2015 7:38 AM     China Daily

Youth, innovation and entrepreneurship will be the main components of future cooperation between China and Britain, Vice-Premier Liu Yandong said in London on Sept 17.

“This year marks the second 10-year part of the China-UK strategic partnership, and the two countries are about to enter the ‘golden era’ of their relationship,” Liu said at the closing session of the China-UK Young Leaders Roundtable. The event was aimed at building understanding and personal relations between rising political leaders from legislatures, society, think tanks and businesses from both countries.

“The upcoming state visit of President Xi Jinping will be a milestone for China-UK relations, and the people-to-people dialogue will lay a solid foundation for it,” Liu said.

Recalling her first visit to the UK 32 years ago, Liu said her visit this time brings back many fond memories from 1983. She added that she is happy to see that young people continue to pursue the mission of furthering understanding between the two countries.

“The Young Leaders Roundtable has been one of the special events of the people-to-people dialogue between the two countries,” Liu said.

She outlined other areas where more bilateral cooperation is sought during this year’s people-to-people dialogue, including culture, health, sports, media and tourism. Women’s affairs will also be included for the first time.

Liam Byrne, a member of Parliament and head of the UK delegation, said that Britain and China are complementary in innovation.

Byrne, whose book Turning to Face the East has gained popularity among British readers as well as Chinese, said he believes that the British government should engage with China in many more areas.

Byrne told Liu and the Chinese delegation that this year’s round table has shown that ideas, people and funding play important roles in driving collaborative innovation between the two countries.

During the round-table discussion, Si Bingjun, managing director of PetroChina International’s London subsidiary, called for UK immigration policy to be reformed to ensure entry for the talent needed for Chinese investment in the UK.

Lu Wei, founder and CEO of Magic Entrepreneur College, a company providing training and financing opportunities for startups in China, said there was great potential for innovative startups between China and Britain. The market size and the further industrialization of China will match perfectly with the new technologies and talent that Britain takes pride in and will generate more opportunities for both sides, Lu said.

Besides the round table, Liu co-chaired the third meeting of the China-UK high-level people-to-people exchange mechanism, along with UK Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt.