Xi's UK visit will build bridges for future generations to cross
FromChinadaily Date:10-20-2015 Attention:4193       Print

Britain's universities are eagerly waiting for the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Leaders of industry and higher education think China and the United Kingdom must continue to expand their international focus.

The UK is home to renowned universities and institutions that continue to foster research and development, so key to building infrastructure that allows industry to excel. Students from China and elsewhere contribute invaluably to research excellence at British universities.

Britain cannot construct a manufacturing nation and a strong workforce in isolation. Nor can it work alone in its bid to keep pace with developments in industries like nuclear technology and advanced manufacturing. There is much virtue in building bridges.

As a member of the delegation that accompanied Chancellor George Osborne on his tours of Beijing and Shanghai last month, I saw many such bridges being built.

Britain is keen to forge connections not just in China's most prosperous cities but in its industrial heartlands and future powerhouses such as the western region of Xinjiang.

Britain is hoping to establish efficient transport connecting its northern cities and a balanced economy to support modern industrial professions and to provide high-quality training to the next generation. China can help the UK at every step in achieving its vision.

China has always had a vision to empower its citizens, now a strong 1.3 billion, and plan a way forward, be it as a manufacturing engine for economic growth or a consumption-led growth engine of the future.

For Britain, China is an excellent model for central infrastructure planning and investment. In Chengdu, Osborne opened up the bidding process for a UK high-speed rail link, signaling that the project would not go ahead without the assistance of China.

China's investors will also prove key to Britain's efforts to upgrade its nuclear energy technology. Rebalancing economic growth across the UK, improving the skills of workforce, and broader cultural collaboration are all stiff challenges for the UK that can be surmounted in partnership with China.

For instance, Chinese students at the University of Sheffield are an essential part of every faculty. The Confucius Institute has extended the hand of friendship between the university and a number of institutions in the Chinese region, including the renowned Center of Scientific and Technological Learning, Nanjing University.

The University of Sheffield also promotes understanding of Chinese culture and language, and encourages friendship between everyone in the university and beyond.

The University of Sheffield also aspires to involve Chinese students and professionals in a number of endeavors from advanced manufacturing research to development of innovative digital healthcare solutions and engineering innovations in every field.

At the university's Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Center, work is progressing on technologies to help China safely and effectively expand its nuclear power-generating capabilities with world-leading industrial partners like Rolls-Royce. The center recently hosted a visit from the China Railway Construction Corp.

The state visit of President Xi is therefore an opportunity for two great building nations to build bridges that will be crossed by generations to come.