China-UK ties the realization of a promise 50 years in the making
Updated 16:52, 15-Mar-2022
Meifang Zhang

Editor's note: Decision Makers is a global platform for influential leaders to share their insights on events shaping today's world. Meifang Zhang is China's consul general in Belfast. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

Fifty years! A 50-year relationship of almost any kind would be cause for a grand celebration, and this relationship certainly meets the mark.

It has been 50 years since China and the United Kingdom opened ambassadorial relations with one another and, in doing so, opened both a door and window into new worlds and opportunities. It is a doorway to shared prosperity and a windowed view into cultures and peoples that vary yet share common core values and interests. It is also a coveted relationship, as it is essential for a world awaiting a greater version of itself through a vision for a shared future realized through such confluence.

If one were to reflect for a moment upon the past, we would find a political partnership with its roots in courage and conviction, beginning with the UK as the first Western power to acknowledge and trade with the People's Republic of China (PRC), jointly cooperating with China in the face of unprecedented challenges posed by climate change, COVID-19 and other threats to our collective existence. We would also find an economic relationship of resilience that has evolved into trade and investment between the two nations that rose to record levels in 2021. Additionally, we would see two nations with time-honored histories, traditions and cultures that have championed multilateralism, trade liberalization and its implementation.

These moments among many, helped pave the way to today, to where China-UK relations truly stand, not in some temporary state of discontent but upon the ultimate reality of solidarity. These moments have served well the coveted relations between our two nations. I am particularly proud of the advancements – and with it the emergence – of Northern Ireland as a critical intersection between the road traveled and the adventure and advancements awaiting. Northern Ireland is unique in what it holds for China and the UK, positioned perfectly to ease the journey through a post-Brexit world, allowing for greater goals and intentions to be attained.

What are these goals and intentions, one might ask? They are the promotion of exchanges across all levels and in various fields, the high-quality development of economic and trade cooperation, the further implementation of coordinated education initiatives, the advancement of people and cultural exchanges, and emboldening sister-city relations for a stronger brotherhood of nations.

Indeed it is a coveted bridge to a shared future!

With such a storied past together, the mutual benefits serving the needs of not just nations but humanity as a whole may be realized. Visions manifest through the furthering of a relationship as essential to today and to a more favorable tomorrow as it has been for the past half century.

What awaits us as we awaken to the possibility together as one global community with a shared future for all humanity is a promise made and kept for a world designed for discourse and discovery to learn and grow. It means a world where acceptance is demonstrated for what it is, not agreement but the willingness to allow for other ways without judgment or resistance and understanding that each nation and people are the best determinants of their own path because they have the benefit of their historical awareness and cultural acumen – a world in cooperation, where we find common ground and where common ground resides. It means a world where we work together as equals in those areas where together is the only way forward and, dare we say, move as a more loving and empathetic planet and people, with China and the UK, including Northern Ireland serving as a model reminder that we are simply stronger together.

Chinese restaurants on Chinese Street, London, UK, August 30, 2017. /CFP

Chinese restaurants on Chinese Street, London, UK, August 30, 2017. /CFP

What awaits us all is a triangle of enriched manifestation with China and the UK, including Northern Ireland. In thoughts, words and actions, may we continue to realize together a model exemplary of how regions may lead nations, not in a political sense but an economic, cultural and vital sense. May we also come to realize how bridges less traveled may lead to a future most richly adorned.

The people of Northern Ireland and other regions and nations of such extraordinary traits and resources will have quite a say in where tomorrow may lead. And if they will do so tomorrow, then I say make it today! Let us embrace China and the UK, including Northern Ireland as a linchpin to tomorrow. Let's embrace the spirit of the Year of the Tiger and call forth the strength, vitality, resilience, bravery, a sense of adventure and unbridled enthusiasm as we usher in the next 50 years of the relationship, cooperative intention.

We have learned a better way to get along: together as one, varied in the complexity that defines humanity and common at the core.

Pandemics, climate change and challenges to the economy may appear daunting at the moment. However, the solution to each resides within all, within that part of us. To recognize our journey as humanity, we must rely upon our collective will and a shared approach. With it, a joyous victory will be shared by all!

For once we have awakened to this, the ultimate truth, all roads forward will converge into but one. And we will have begun a greater journey, one that serves as a promise fulfilled – a promise 50 years in the making. 
What is the promise? That whatever the cause, that not one person, place or people will be lost upon the road paved. That all will share in the wealth this world has to offer. Health, wealth and happiness, by virtue of these and more, we will win the day together.

And what a grand day indeed it will be!

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