I want to send my best wishes to everyone around the world celebrating Chinese New Year. Here in Britain, we’re not just marking the beginning of the Year of the Fire Monkey, but the growing relationship between Britain and China.
You can see the bond between our countries shining brightly: in our universities, where thousands of Chinese people are studying; in our businesses, where bilateral trade has more than doubled in 5 years; and in our cities, with more Chinese tourists choosing to visit Britain than ever before.
Last year it was an honour to welcome President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng to the UK, heralding a golden era in our countries’ relationship. During the state visit – the first in a decade – we made a huge range of agreements that would bring us even closer together, from more investment and research to better visa arrangements. And this year will be about delivering on those things.
Here in Britain, we see the impact people of Chinese origin have, day in, day out. From our high streets to our hospitals, our schools to our Parliament, the British Chinese community more than makes its mark – and never more so than at this time of year.
So as the lights go up, the parades begin, the music starts and families gather together, let’s celebrate everything we are achieving together – and let me wish you the very best health and happiness for the new year.
Xin nian kuai le.