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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Opinion -> 
May May come in May
    2017-02-27  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    Winton Dong

    dht620@sina.com

    THE spokesman of Theresa May confirmed in an earlier news conference that the British Prime Minister will visit China this year to cement ties and strengthen cooperation with Beijing as Britain is negotiating its departure from the 28-member European Union.

    Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang later responded that “China welcomes Prime Minister May to visit China at an appropriate time,” without commenting on the concrete date.

    In my opinion, the best time this year for May’s visit is May, the time when China will host the Belt and Road Initiative Summit in Beijing. Such timing is mainly based on the domestic situation of Britain, its relations with the United States, China, Russia and other important countries in the world.

    After Donald Trump took power in January this year, May was the first foreign leader to meet the new U.S. president and secure commitment to the NATO alliance. However, on Jan. 27, the day when May ended her U.S. visit and left Washington, Trump abruptly announced a move to ban travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, sparking an outcry in Britain and other countries throughout the world. It is reported that more than 2 million British citizens have signed a petition so far opposing the invitation to Trump to make a state visit to the United Kingdom later this year which May had announced in Washington. The petitioners even said that such a meeting with Trump would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty. A state visit in Britain usually includes extensive pomp, a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II and a stay at Buckingham Palace. Moreover, on Feb. 19, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is also of Muslim origin, said before a British legislative debate that the U.S. president should not get VIP treatment when he comes to Britain because of his cruel travel ban and unfair policy blocking refugees from entering the United States.

    Under great pressure from inside Britain, Prime Minister May is facing a tough situation to strike a balance between her traditional friend the United States and other new partners all around the world. Frankly speaking, with President Trump’s broadcasting of the “America First” doctrine and shift to protectionism, it is virtually impossible for Britain to get many favors from its former ally in the coming years.

    

    As for its ties with China, after May took office as prime minister in July last year, Sino-British relations have entered into a “Golden Era.” May attended the G20 Summit in Hangzhou last year and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in September. She quickly approved the 18 billion pounds (US$23 billion) project to build a nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Southwest England. It was said that China would cover one-third of the total construction cost, with the understanding that the U.K.’s next nuclear project would be Chinese designed and built.

    During the 2017 Spring Festival, May extended her sincere congratulations to Chinese people via media in which she hoped a new year of blossoming ties with China. After years of robust development, Britain has now turned out to be the largest destination for Chinese investment in Europe. Compared with 2015, Chinese direct investment in Britain’s nonfinancial sectors increased by more than US$1 billion last year. However, with the U.K.’s decision to withdraw from the European Union and the pending uncertainties between Britain and the European single market, it is an urgent necessity for May to visit China as soon as possible, thus giving more confidence and business enthusiasm to Chinese enterprises and investors, especially those involved in the financial sector and whose European headquarters are in Britain.

    Moreover, the year 2017 marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of Sino-British diplomatic ties. According to Chinese custom, anniversaries of multiples of five and 10 years are of special significance in commemoration. Under this circumstance, a visit to China by Prime Minister May this year will surely further consolidate close partnership between the two powerful countries.

    Since the Belt and Road Initiative Summit in May is an important international gathering, many state leaders will attend the summit. China has not yet released the list of VIP participants. But prime ministers of Sri Lanka, Mongolia and others have declared their attendance. During a recent news conference in Beijing, Andrey Denisov, Russian ambassador to China, also revealed that President Vladimir Putin would meet with President Xi Jinping in a visit to Beijing this May. Despite the fact that the ambassador did not mention the concrete date of their meeting, it is very possible that Putin will attend the summit.

    By visiting China in May and taking part in the summit, Prime Minister May can not only enhance cooperation with China — jumping on the bandwagon of the Silk and Road Initiative which boasts gigantic business potential — but also facilitate the U.K.’s relations with Russia and other attendees in the summit through sideline meetings.

    As a famous Chinese saying goes, “A stitch in time saves nine.” As her name indicates, if May really comes in May, she will surely break new ground for British diplomacy and become a shining star in China and the summit.

    (The author is the editor-in-chief of the Shenzhen Daily and guest professor of Shenzhen University with a Ph.D. from the Journalism and Communication School of Wuhan University.)

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