I’d like to send my warmest wishes to everyone around the world celebrating Chinese New Year.
As the celebrations get underway – and cities across the globe are lit up with fireworks and parades – this is a good moment to reflect on Britain’s relationship with China.
It’s a relationship based on deep and enduring ties between our 2 countries.
One part of this is of course economic – and last year I was delighted to lead Britain’s largest ever trade delegation to China.
The Chinese economy is once again set to become the world’s largest later this century, a position it has held for 18 of the past 20 centuries.
Britain meanwhile is growing faster than almost any other country in the West – and is more open to Chinese investment than any other.
And that’s why in the years to come I want our 2 countries to continue working closely together for the mutual benefit of all our people.
But our relationship goes much deeper than economics.
It’s great – for example – that so many Chinese students have the opportunity to come and study here at British universities.
And these celebrations are a reminder too of the richness and vibrancy of Chinese culture here in the UK, and on this New Year I want to pay tribute to the incredible contribution that the British Chinese community makes to this country.
So let me once again wish you a Happy New Year – and every possible success for the next 12 months.
Xin nian kuai le.