China and the UK, both big countries and great civilizations with global influence, have "enormous potential and promising prospects" in building Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Chinese ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming has said.
Liu made the remarks while speaking at the Sixth Cambridge University International Real Estate Finance and Investment Conference opened on Tuesday night.
"In the new era, our joint effort in building the BRI enjoys enormous potential and promising prospects," Liu said. "The past five years have seen such effort becoming a major highlight in China-UK overall cooperation."
"The UK is known for its pioneering spirit," he said, noting that the UK was the first major Western country to apply to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and second only to China to contribute to the AIIB special fund.
He added that the British government showed its vision by making the UK a "natural partner" of China and deepening cooperation with China on the BRI.
Proposed by China five years ago, the initiative, Liu said, is aimed at "enhancing connectivity between countries and regions of the world so as to achieve inter-connected development and open new space for world economic growth."
"The BRI follows the trend of the times and takes the lead in international cooperation," he said. "The past five years have seen it taking root, growing strong and bearing fruits."
The British government has appointed a BRI Special Envoy, and an Expert Board was set up at the same time to enhance policy coordination and promote the development of the BRI, according to the ambassador.
"The UK can set a good example of how to achieve early harvests," Liu said. "As the UK deepens its understanding of the BRI, cooperation between our two countries is producing an increasing number of early harvests."
For example, he said, the main structure of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant, a flagship project of China-UK cooperation, is being built, and the generic design assessment on Hualong One nuclear technology has entered the third phase. Also the ABP Royal Albert Dock, with 1.7 billion pounds (2.17 billion U.S. dollars) of investment from the Chinese company ABP, has broken ground.
China Railway Express ran its first freight train between China's Yiwu, Zhejiang Province, and London, offering a new, on-land option for the movement of goods between China and Britain, he added.
"This has extended the Belt and Road to the western end of Europe," Liu said, adding that the UK can be "a pioneer in exploring deeper cooperation on the BRI."
"The UK has unique strength in financial services, think-tank and creative industry," he said. "In recent years, people from all walks of life have come forward with numerous ideas on how to leverage these strengths to engage more deeply in the BRI development."