On 13 March 2017, the Daily Telegraph and its website published a signed article by Ambassador Liu Xiaoming entitled “Britain is helping us build a new Silk Road”. The full text is as follows:
Britain Is Helping Us Build a New Silk Road
For more than 2,000 years, the Silk Road has borne witness to exchange and friendship between the East and West. With its tales of trade and travel down the ages, the route has traditions that have become a source of inspiration for those who seek new opportunities for common development. Now, China is looking to work with Britain in a new partnership, on a new Silk Road for today: the Belt and Road Initiative.
We are already seeing the fruits of this approach. In January, the first freight train from China’s eastern town of Yiwu arrived in London, extending Belt and Road (B&R) to the far western end of Europe. But there are other tangible results of this kind of enhanced, global cooperation.
Britain is a country of global influence and can be an important partner for China in B&R. Britain has many strengths and unique advantages that could give it a head start in B&R cooperation. It has a highly internationalised financial sector and mature professional services in law and consulting; it has prestigious think tanks and educational institutions as well as world-class R&D and innovation platforms. And, of course, it has a language that is spoken around the world, and close historical and cultural ties with countries along the B&R route.
These strengths and advantages put Britain in an excellent position to secure the opportunities the B&R has to offer. China and the UK can continue to advance their respective development strategies in tandem, can expand trade and investment, jointly explore and develop the market along the B&R route, and deliver greater common prosperity.
This has much in common with Prime Minister May’s vision of a truly “Global Britain” that “embraces the world”. Both leaders understand that win-win results are only possible if we increase global connectivity and share the fruits of growth. Increasing connectivity along the new Silk Road is one way to achieve that.
The forthcoming Forum in Beijing will be the most important international gathering to advance, as its theme suggests, “Cooperation for Common Prosperity”. So far, leaders from more than 20 countries across Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America have confirmed their attendance. Discussions at the forum will be devoted to infrastructure connectivity, commercial cooperation, industrial investment, energy and resources, financial support, cultural and people-to-people exchange, eco-environmental protection and maritime cooperation, among others.
The remarkable opportunities of “Belt and Road” cooperation are now up for grabs. With China, Britain can be a key partner, reaping the potential of these opportunities. By ensuring we pull together, the B&R initiative can, like the Silk Road before it, go a long way to delivering better lives for many millions of people, from Asia to Europe.