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Friday, October 23, 2015, 08:57

Xi stresses culture and cooperation

By Wu jiao in London and Li Xiaokun in Beijing
Xi stresses culture and cooperation

President Xi Jinping attends a Confucius Institute event with Britain's Prince Andrew (left) at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in London on Oct 22,2015 . Xi and first lady Peng Liyuan are on a four-day state visit to Britain. (Peter Nicholls / Reuters)

President says countries can work together despite their differences

President Xi Jinping cited William Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes, James Bond and Downton Abbey in a key speech in the City of London, drawing applause and laughter from his audience.

Addressing hundreds of prominent guests in the 15th century Guildhall on Wednesday evening, the president used his rich understanding of British culture by referring to the famous names and the popular TV drama series.

The banquet was hosted by the Lord Mayor of London, Alan Yarrow, and Prince Andrew was among those attending.

The president said he had been deeply impressed and inspired by Shakespeare. "I often pondered the question of to be or not to be. Eventually, I made up my mind that I should dedicate myself to serving my country and my people," he said.

Xi, who is on a four-day state visit to the United Kingdom, used his speech to illustrate how countries with different cultural backgrounds and social systems can cooperate together.

He focused on China's domestic situation, set against a backdrop where disputes over human rights and other political friction had often derailed cooperation.

Recognizing that "some are bullish on China, others bearish", Xi said it is not easy to understand and appreciate a country with more than 5,000 years of civilization, 56 ethnic groups and more than 1.3 billion people.

He stressed that the most appropriate judgment should be based on facts, rather than "glimpses through the fog".

"I hope the UK will continue to be a trendsetter and an example of openness and inclusiveness in carrying out cooperation with China," he said.

"We look to the UK to assume a leading position in the cooperation between China and Western countries, and to fulfill its aspiration to be China's strongest advocate in the West with concrete actions."

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