British Prime Minister David Cameron hailed a banner year in UK-China relations, the high point of which will be President Xi Jinping's state visit to Britain in October.
Speaking after a meeting with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi at 10 Downing Street in London on Tuesday, Cameron said he was looking forward to meeting Xi. This will be the first official visit to the UK by a Chinese president in the last decade. Cameron visited Beijing in 2013.
Xi's visit will be a milestone in the ties between the two countries and could herald the dawn of a new era in relations, Wang said.
"We should ensure it goes smoothly and brings our relations into a golden age," he said.
Cameron said the UK not only wants to improve relations, it wants to be China's leading global partner.
Britain will push for greater bilateral trade, encourage two-way investments and welcome Chinese investments in various fields, including high-speed rail, aviation, telecommunication and civilian nuclear power, Cameron said.
Cameron also vowed to facilitate the EU-China Investment Agreement negotiations and support a feasibility study into an EU-China Free Trade Agreement.
Tian Dewen, a researcher of European studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Cameron's goals for the relationship are rooted in his determination to speed up UK economic growth.
"The ruling Conservative Party's main focus for this term is to develop the economy and improve the lives of British people. That aim is directly reflected in Britain's high and clear expectations for its economic and trade cooperation with China," Tian said. "Britain wants to seize opportunities to strengthen economic growth from working with the fast-developing Chinese economy."
China also sees benefits in working with Britain for overseas opportunities, Tian said. "The two countries share much common ground, like opposition to trade protectionism. Common interests will drive cooperation."
Wang also talked with specialists from British think tanks on Tuesday, answering questions about China-related issues, including the Belt and Road Initiative.
"China will prove that our development will contribute to world peace and prosperity through our actions, and we'd like to have more communication with foreign experts, including British ones, in a move to help foreigners see China in a sensible, objective and friendly way," Wang said.
The British specialists, including Mark Leonard, director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, and Peter Nolan, professor at the University of Cambridge, said the UK and the EU attach great importance to China's ongoing development as it is one of the hottest topics in academia.