The pandemic has highlighted “a new dimension” in relations between China and Scotland, as the two nations maintained communication and coordination on their respective Covid-19 responses, Zheng Zeguang said.
“The world at the moment is full of challenges, the pandemic is not over, [the] Ukraine conflict, developing countries are faced with difficulties. It’s a time for cooperation, and above all, calling for peace,” Zheng said at an informal lunch held by the UK National Committee on China.
UKNCC is an education-focused platform that facilitates conversation on Chinese affairs and hopes to strengthen decision-making for the nation.
“I want to assure you, we stand for peace, and we stand for cooperation, and strongly oppose decoupling, confrontation is not the key to the challenges, working together is the path forward,” the ambassador noted.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the establishment of China-UK diplomatic relations.
“In recent years, the China-Scotland relationship has maintained a sound momentum of development.”
He went on to hail on the industry ties between China and Scotland. “In recent years, the China-Scotland relationship has maintained a sound momentum of development,” he said.
According to Transport Scotland, China is Scotland’s second biggest source of imports, and Scotland is China’s 16th largest export market, Scottish whiskey and salmon being the largest shares of the exports.
Over 250 Scottish companies have partnered with companies in China, in an effort to bring products to Chinese consumers. Zheng also mentioned reinforcing the educational ties between Scotland and China.
In 2021, the UK hosted more than 143,000 Chinese international students. Over 17,000 of those students chose to study in Scotland and attend one of 19 Scottish universities.
China and Scotland’s educational relationship also goes further than higher education. The China Daily reports that more than 50,000 Scottish primary and secondary school students are learning Chinese in school through a Mandarin education program.
Commenting on the ambassadors visit, a Universities Scotland spokesperson, told The PIE News, “The internationalisation of higher education brings many benefits to students coming to Scotland… It’s hugely positive that Chinese students and their families value a Scottish university education.
“We look forward to the imminent publication of the Scottish government’s International Education Strategy which will hopefully demonstrate both universities commitment to internationalisation as well as ensuring students coming to Scotland have the best experience possible.”