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Photo exhibit celebrates China-UK ties
July 10, 2014, 11:27 pm

Sir Edward Heath, prime minister from 1970 to 1974, advocated closer ties with China until his death in 2005 [Xinhua]

Sir Edward Heath, prime minister from 1970 to 1974, advocated closer ties with China until his death in 2005 [Xinhua]

A photo exhibition held at the home of the late former British Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath on Thursday has highlighted the history of China-UK relations tracing their development to the diplomatic breakthroughs of the 1970s.

It was under Heath’s premiership in 1972 – and during his visit to China – that London and Peking (at the time) restored full diplomatic ties and began a rapprochement with the West.

The exhibit in Arundells, Wilshire includes many rare and previously unseen photographs showing Heath meeting with China’s leaders over the decades.

Heath died in 2005.

Photo exhibit curator Stuart Craven said Heath had a very close relationship with China.

“His connections with China are evident throughout the house, including photographs with Chairman Mao and Deng Xiaoping, and Chinese wall paper. Plus, we’ve got Qianlong vases given to him by Chairman Mao,” Craven said in comments carried by the Chinese news agency Xinhua.

China’s ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming told the media that “British political leaders, represented by Sir Edward Heath, broke the political ice” with China in the 1970s.

London’s ties with Beijing have strengthened in recent years.

According to the Financial Times, London has aggressively been pursuing Chinese investors as part of the UK Treasury campaign to bankroll nearly $80 billion worth of projects via foreign sovereign wealth funds and private capital.

Britain is considered the fourth biggest investment destination for Chinese companies; 18 such firms have already invested there, the Financial Times said.

This year marks the 10th founding anniversary of the China-Britain comprehensive strategic partnership.

Last month, the UK government has agreed to establish a yuan-clearing bank in London that would “act as a signal for London’s growing yuan activities”.

China and the UK had signed an agreement last year to establish a reciprocal 3-year sterling/renminbi (RMB, or Chinese yuan) currency swap line.

Source: Agencies