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Li's visit to boost Sino-UK relations
2011-01-10 00:28

BEIJING - Vice-Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Scotland on Sunday, starting his four-day visit to the United Kingdom aimed at boosting mutual political and trade ties.

Li is the first senior leader of China to visit the country since the coalition government led by David Cameron took power in May.

During his stay in Britain, Li will meet with British Prime Minister Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Foreign Secretary William Hague.

The UK media has closely followed Li's European trip.

As the preview of Li's visit to Spain, Germany and Britain, The Financial Times put Li's promise to support European countries as "Chinese diplomatic overtures to the financially fragile nations of the eurozone periphery".

And rather warm pieces can also be found on The Daily Telegraph. An article puts Li's visit as "the current warm breeze" and expects it to "turn into strong trade winds" and to become "an important moment in the UK's economic recovery and reinvention".

Li's visit proves China is a responsible "market player", Liu Xiaoming, Ambassador of China to the UK, wrote for The Daily Telegraph.

"China is doing what a Chinese proverb says about 'sending charcoal in snowy weather'," Liu wrote.

"Britain needs China because it needs international investment and overseas markets to solve its economic problems - such as the low purchasing power as a result of its tightened monetary policy," said Cui Hongjian, an expert on European studies at China Institute of International Studies.

The UK is the last leg of Li's Europe tour, after his four-day visit in Germany.

Li arrived in the state of Bavaria on Saturday and met with the Governor of Bavaria Horst Seehofer. Both agreed on further cooperation in technology and trade between the state of Bavaria and Chinese provinces and cities.

Li also paid a visit to German carmaker BMW's new energy vehicle project and the Deutsches Museum in Munich.

Previously, Li had met with Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Christian Wulff and other senior German officials.

In meeting with Li, Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle has asked China to review its policy of rare earth exports, said a spokeswoman for German Economy Ministry on Friday, according to German media Spiegel Online citing Reuters' report.

But Li rejected the requirement.

"China has only one-third of the reserve of the world, yet covers over 90 percent of rare earth production," said Li.

To protect the environment and ensure long-term utilization, China began to standardize the exploitation of the exhaustible resources, Li said.

Obeying the international rules, China will continue offering rare earth to the international market, said Li.

"We hope China and Germany can enhance relevant technical cooperation, increase the utilization rate of rare earth and develop the alternative, so as to make sure a stable rare earth supply."

Xinhua and AFP contributed to this story.

China Daily

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