10th UK-China Leadership Forum

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The 10th Anniversary Leadership Forum took place in Beijing and Wuhan during 8th-13th April. GBCC assembled a strong UK delegation, led by Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of Duchy of Lancaster, Rt Hon David Lidington CBE MP, which marks the highest-level of participation of UK politicians since the inception of the forum.

The Forum is organised by GBCC in cooperation with the International Department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (IDCPC) with sponsorship from BP and Prudential.

The Forum, entitled ‘Partners for Progress: Strengthening the UK-China relationship in the Golden Era’, focused on practical cooperation between the UK and China in light of Britain leaving the European Union, along the Belt and Road and as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

20180410 For Website

10th UK-China Leadership Forum

The UK delegation consisted of 13 senior Parliamentarians representing the four main UK political parties, including GBCC’s president Lord Mandelson and Vice-President Sir Oliver Letwin MP, senior alumni Richard Graham MP, the Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP and CBBC Chairman Lord Sassoon. New participants included three Labour shadow cabinet members, Andrew Gwynne MP, Peter Dowd MP and Nia Griffith MP, Lib Dem and SNP spokespeople, Christine Jardine MP and Stephen Gethins MP as well as two Conservative MPs, Victoria Prentis and Bim Afolami. Senior representatives from sponsors BP and Prudential also joined the forum activities in Beijing.

The forum also saw high-level participation on the Chinese side which was led by IDCPC Minister Song Tao and supported by IDCPC Vice Minister Guo Yezhou and Vice Minister of the Development Research Center of the State Council, Long Guoqiang. The UK delegation also had meetings with the Chinese Vice-President, Wang Qishan, the Vice Minister of the Organisation Department Deng Shengming and Former Minister and current Vice Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of National People's Congress, Zhang Zhijun. A side meeting between David Lidington and Cai Qi, Party Secretary Beijing also took place.

Both Lord Mandelson and David Lidington, remarked on the warmth and informality of the Leadership Forum as a channel for frank and candid discussions. The Forum participants on both sides demonstrated a keen appetite for engagement across a broad range of issues with the discussion this year being particularly lively and substantive.

The UK side welcomed Xi Jinping’s announcement set out at the Bo’ao Forum in Hainan that promised to further open up China’s economy. The UK delegates sought to alleviate concerns over Brexit, stressing that Britain has always been and will continue to be an outward facing, welcoming, free-trading nation. The UK side stressed that it looked forward to continued development of trade links between our two countries.

UK delegates also raised several points of concern, stressing the need for international standards to be met under the Belt and Road framework in areas such as commercial dispute, best practice and transparency as well as the importance of the independence of the judiciary. In the final session, common challenges to uphold the rules-based international system were discussed such as the DPRK, climate change and the peace process in Syria.

Following the Forum, Minister Song Tao and the IDCPC hosted an Anniversary Gala Dinner at the prestigious Diaoyutai State Guest House for the Forum delegates.

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The delegation visiting HUST in Wuhan

With a wide range of engagements between institutions in Hubei province and the UK, the delegation also paid a visit to Wuhan, the capital of Hubei. Meetings with the Vice Chairman of Hubei Provincial People’s Congress, Vice President of Huazhong University of Science and Technology(HUST), and a roundtable with Dongfeng Automotive Group and BP Castrol JV provided an opportunity for the UK delegates to engage with officials at the local level. The delegates enjoyed a tour of the historical concession area in Wuhan which is currently under regeneration.

Date posted: 20 April 2018

Categories: Political Dialogues

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