POLITICS
22/09/2015 11:38 BST | Updated 22/09/2015 12:00 BST

George Osborne Hails 'Golden Era' With China But Says Won't Engage In 'Megaphone Diplomacy' Over Human Rights

George Osborne has spoken of how watching his 12-year-old daughter do her Mandarin homework at Downing Street underlines the potential "golden era" between Britain and China.

The Chancellor today continued his Eastern charm offensive during a speech at the Shanghai Stock Exchange, a day after it was announced that Chinese firms will help fund a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. In his address, he urged the two countries to "stick together" despite recent financial market turbulence.

Mr Osborne hailed bringing his largest ministerial delegation ever to China alongside British and civic cultural leaders, and announced a feasibility study into connecting the UK and Chinese stock markets.

george osborne

George Osborne: "By sticking together we can make this a golden era for the UK-China relationship for many years to come."

Ahead of his speech, he defended closer ties with China despite its human rights record, telling Radio 4's Today programme "engagement" would be more effective than "megaphone diplomacy".

As well as trumpeting the global opportunities for UK and Chinese investors, he said in his speech "not everything can be measured in pounds and renminbi" as he hailed their cultures having "done more to shape the world than almost anyone else".

He said: "Our philosophers, our scientists, our writers have influenced people across the globe, far beyond our own shores. When Chinese people are asked where in the world they’d most like to visit – Britain features right at the top of their list.

"And in Britain, there is a hunger to learn more and understand more about this great civilisation. I see it at home in Downing Street every night as my twelve year old daughter does her Mandarin homework.

"We have different political systems. We’re a multi-party democracy. So, of course we will disagree on issues. But let’s conduct our discussion on the basis of the mutual respect of our two great nations."

george osborne

"We have different political systems. We’re a multi-party democracy. So, of course we will disagree on issues."

Adding the cultural exchange included Shakespeare’s plays performed in Mandarin and the British Museum’s modern exhibition opening there to Chinese visitors, he said: "I believe our two countries are perfectly positioned to be partners in growth.

"Britain can be China’s best partner in the West. Of course, there will be ups and downs in the road ahead, but by sticking together we can make this a golden era for the UK-China relationship for many years to come."

He vowed to "make Britain China's best partner in the West" and create a "golden decade".

Mr Osborne said: "I very deliberately chose to come here, to the epicentre of the volatility in financial markets this summer, to say this: whatever the headlines, regardless of the challenges, we shouldn’t be running away from China.

"And so today my message is clear: through the ups and downs, let’s stick together."

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