- President of the People’s Republic of China, speaking at the Guildhall, London in November 2005
In the 1950s, a group of far-sighted people from the British business community overcame one obstacle after another, and made the famous ice-breaking trip to China, thus starting business exchanges with the newly-founded People’s Republic. Today, more than 50 years later, it is important that the business communities of our two countries carry on the pioneering spirit of those who broke ice, vigorously explore new avenues and new areas for expanded economic cooperation, and work to elevate our business ties to a higher level. The Sino-British relationship has now entered a new phase of sustained development, and achieved gratifying results, particularly in economic cooperation and trade.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the 48 Group. I extend my warm congratulations on behalf of the Chinese government.Six decades ago, with outstanding courage and exceptional foresight, Mr. Jack Perry and other ‘Icebreakers’ of the older generation overcame obstacles of all sorts and opened the door of trade links between China and Britain and even the entire Western world. Since then, and inspired by the ‘icebreaker spirit’, later generations of our countries have been fully committed to China-UK economic cooperation and cultural exchanges. These endeavors have greatly advanced overall China-UK relations. I met with the Young Icebreakers during my UK visit in 2011. I was deeply impressed with their vigor and energy as well as their determination to increase British people’s understanding of China and strengthen China-UK cooperation. This year also marks the 10th anniversary of China-UK comprehensive strategic partnership. Thanks to the support of the 48 Group Club and various social sectors of both countries, China-UK relationship has made encouraging progress. Not long ago, I had a successful meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron in Beijing. We reached broad consensus on pushing forward bilateral relationships and expanding practical cooperation. We have agreed to further enhance political mutual trust and increase cultural and people-to-people exchanges. We also identified the priority areas for our cooperation. These include nuclear energy, high-speed railways, finance and high technology. I am confident that all these will provide strong support to the long-term sound development of China-UK relations. China and the UK working together will benefit our two peoples and contribute to global peace and development. May the 48 Group Club continue to achieve even greater development.Premier, State Council of the People’s Republic of China in January 2014
- Former Premier of China speaking in London in November 1993
I have very good memories of my meetings with the ’48’ Group who did a lot for trade with China. They were the ‘Icebreakers’, and we shall never forget those who broke the ice in the difficult years.