In the new year, it is important that we seize the opportunities, address the challenges properly and work together to ensure the steady and sustained development of the China-UK "Golden Era". To advance China-UK relations in 2019, I have in mind four key words.
The first word is reinforce. Looking back at how far China-UK relations have come, we can see that it is a journey in which we constantly broke hard ice to forge ahead. Francis Bacon wrote, "The golden age is before us, not behind us." Going forward, we should continue to reinforce China-UK relations. To do that, we should adopt a long-term and strategic vision. We must bear in mind the large picture and follow the main trend of our bilateral relations. It is important that we view each other's development as an opportunity rather than a challenge, still less a threat. It is important that we enrich cooperation and contribute positive energy to China-UK relations. This will ensure that we can keep our relations on the right track.
The second word is energize. Despite Brexit, China-UK business cooperation remains strong. Chinese companies have invested more in the UK in the past five years than they did in the previous 30 years. Last year, RMB did well in London's foreign exchange trading. Dollar-yuan turnover increased to $73 billion per day, overtaking pound-euro turnover for the first time. Last September, China Re completed its 100% equity acquisition of Chaucer Holdings. This was the latest highlight of China-UK cooperation in insurance and financial sectors. It was also another vote of confidence by Chinese companies for the prospects of China-UK economic cooperation as the UK leaves the EU.
I hope that the UK will respond in the same spirit of openness and inclusiveness. I hope you will resist all kinds of pressure and interruptions, and continue to foster a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies in the UK, including Huawei. This would be vital if we want to inject much needed energy into China-UK cooperation and take it to a new level.
The third word is innovate. Both China and the UK are full of vitality. We both value innovation and have engaged in fruitful cooperation on innovation. Last November, the ninth meeting of the China-UK Joint Commission on Cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation was held in London. At the meeting, our two sides reached important agreements on deepening cooperation on innovation and entrepreneurship. In April this year, the 17th China International Talent Exchange Conference will be held in Shenzhen. The UK will be the only country of honour. I am sure this significant event will give a fresh boost to China-UK cooperation on innovation and talent exchange.
The last word is respect. China and the UK differ in social system, history, culture and development stage. It is natural that we do not see eye to eye on every issue. The key to addressing our differences is that the two sides should treat each other with mutual respect and on an equal footing, respect each other's core interests and major concerns, and respect each other's sovereignty, security and right to development. Only by addressing our differences properly can we ensure that our bilateral relations will continue to break the ice and forge ahead.
A famous line of Percy Shelley says: If winter comes, can spring be far behind? This echoes a Chinese poem describing the scenery in late winter and early spring: Wild wind chases away remnant of snow melting. Dale stream washes down broken ice whirling. I am confident that, in the new year, as long as we carry on the "Icebreakers" spirit, as long as we march on with the courage to "break the ice" and forge ahead with the wisdom to "melt the ice", we will embrace a warm and sunny spring of China-UK relations!
Now, may I invite you to join me in a toast:
To the steady and sustained development of the China-UK "Golden Era",
To a happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Pig for all of you present today.