Xi Jinping: Britain has made "visionary" progress to strengthen ties with China

Clara Guibourg
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Xi Jinping
"This is a visionary and strategic choice" (Source: Getty)

China’s president Xi Jinping has called the UK’s ambitions to become China’s best partner in the West a “visionary and strategic choice”, as his state visit to the UK draws near.

The visit, which officially begins on Tuesday, will be Xi’s first time in the UK in over two decades. It’s been described by officials as the start of a “golden era” ahead for relations between Britain and China.

Xi praised the UK’s work to improve the commercial ties between the countries, in a rare interview with Reuters:

The UK has stated that it will be the Western country that is most open to China. This is a visionary and strategic choice that fully meets Britain's own long-term interest.

China looks forward to engaging with the UK in a wider range, at a higher level and in greater depth.

The Treasury has officially outlined ambitions to make China the UK’s second-biggest trade partner within the next ten years. Today, the country is our sixth biggest trading partner, with British exports totalling £25bn.

Read more: China's economic slowdown will hit London's property market hard

Chancellor George Osborne visited China last month, where he unveiled plans to formally link British and Chinese stock exchanges, and push for greater links between Chinese and British firms.

Osborne said that he wasn’t worried about China’s slowing economy, writing in City A.M.:

Our ambition is clear: we want to cement London’s position as China’s partner of choice as it raises finance on international markets.

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