On 28 April, Chinese Ambassador to the UK Zheng Zeguang attended and addressed the opening ceremony of the China-UK Hydrogen Energy Cooperation Forum. The Forum was co-hosted on-line in both Wuhan, China and Manchester, UK by the Chinese Consulate-general in Manchester, UK National Committee on China and Manchester China Forum.
On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in the UK, Ambassador Zheng congratulated on the opening of the Forum and pointed out that the Forum is an important action to implement the common understanding between the leaders of our two countries on enhancing cooperation on green development and ecological conservation. It is also a practical joint effort between the sister cities of Wuhan and Manchester and bears great significance to promoting hydrogen energy cooperation between the two cities and facilitating their green and low-carbon development.
Ambassador Zheng said that China attaches great importance to the development of green hydrogen energy. It is already the largest producer and consumer of hydrogen and has included the development of green hydrogen energy in its carbon peak and carbon neutrality policy framework and 14th Five Year Plan. In March this year, China unveiled the Medium and Long-Term Plan for the Development of Hydrogen Energy Industry (2021-2035), which lays out three-stage targets. The development of green hydrogen energy will enable China to accelerate the building of a green and low-carbon industrial system as well as the transition to green and low-carbon development, and attain the goals of carbon peak and carbon neutrality.
Ambassador Zheng said that in recent years, China and the UK have carried out joint projects in hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen industrial parks. Such mutually beneficial cooperation in hydrogen energy has huge potential and broad prospects for further growth.
The two sides should encourage local governments in strengthening communication, finding the match in our policy measures, building platforms for businesses partnership and create new highlights of mutually-beneficial cooperation.
We should carry out joint research and development on hydrogen energy and work together to promote innovation in the complete industrial chain, from technology to material and equipment, and we should promote international cooperation on hydrogen energy standards, foster a sound environment for the development of the international hydrogen energy industry, and contribute to its sustained and healthy development, said the Ambassador.
Ambassador Zheng also talked about the key results of coordinated efforts in China in responding to the lingering pandemic and promoting economic and social progress at the same time. He said, “In the past two years and more, China has managed to keep the infection rate and fatality rate at the lowest in the world. Our overall plan remains to achieve the goal of ‘dynamic zero-Covid’. We are fully confident that, through hard work, we have curbed the momentum of the latest outbreak of Omicron variant relatively quickly.” In the meantime, China’s economy has grown at an annual rate of 5.1% in the past two years. The growth rate was 8.1% in 2021 and 4.8% in the first quarter of this year. China will continue regarding economic stability as our top priority and pursuing progress while ensuring stability. It remains firmly committed to high-quality development, wider open-up at a high level and a green and low-carbon future. The sustained and steady development in China will create more opportunities for the sub-national cooperation between our two countries.
Ambassador Zheng pointed out that China stands ready to work with the UK side in the direction pointed out by the leaders of our two countries to actively support local governments and businesses to engage in closer dialogue and cooperation in green hydrogen development, work for the greater benefit of both our peoples and contribute more to global climate action.
During the forum, Ambassador Zheng met with Councillor Bev Craig and business leaders from both sides who were attending offline.
Zhao Haishan, Vice Governor of Hubei Province, Dang Zhen, Vice Mayor of Wuhuan, John Edwards, British Trade Commissioner to China, Kui Man Gerry Yeung, Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester and Councillor Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council also delivered speeches. Zheng Xiyuan, Consul-General of China in Manchester, Zhang Xiaomei, Director General of Hubei Foreign Office, Fang Wenjian, Chairman of the China Chamber of Commerce in the UK, Frank Slevin, Chair of UK National Committee on China attended the ceremony, representing various social sectors of both China and the UK. The Forum hosted in-depth discussions on opportunities of cooperation in hydrogen energy industry among government representatives as well as hydrogen energy specialists, scientists and business leaders from both sides. Wuhan city and Manchester City signed a memorandum of understanding on hydrogen energy industry exchange and cooperation, and Wuhan University of Technology and Manchester Metropolitan University signed a letter of intent on hydrogen energy cooperation.