EDINBURGH, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond foresaw greater prospect of cooperation with China in an exclusive face-to-face interview with Xinhua at his official residence at Bute House in Edinburgh on Wednesday.
Question: As the Chinese New Year is forthcoming for the reunion of Chinese families, what's First Minister's greeting message to the 1.37 billion Chinese population from Scotland, the land of invention?
Answer: I would say "Guo Nian Hao" (which in Chinese means "Happy New year"). I wish everyone, our friends in China, a very successful and prosperous year of the snake. We have built up such great relationships over the last few years between Scotland, the land of invention, and China, a most extraordinary country in the world. That's a very important partnership that we intend to develop. So, we move forward into this new year, very hopefully indeed.
Question: What's your comment on the current development of the relations between Scotland and China? Why did the Scottish government update the China Plan of 2006 to China Strategy in December 2012, and how will it benefit both Scotland and China?
Answer: We can see the direct investment from China in Scotland in oil, in petrochemicals, in textiles, in engineering, and equally we see a great success of Scotland exports to China, traditional exports like whisky and Salmon which have been so booming in the last few years, and also technology exports and renewable energy cooperation.
The relationship has been a success but you always refresh and update your plans to make sure that success will continue. I am delighted to say that we had a message from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic (of China), looking at the new updated plan, approving the plan, valuing the plan, saying "the exchanges and cooperation between China and Scotland have been widened and deepened" and have promising prospects for the future. So, we developed a plan in association and partnership with our friends in China.
The relationship between Scotland and China can't just be economic. It has to be economic and cultural. We also value educational ties. Now, Chinese students are the greatest number of any international students in Scottish universities, (which is) very important and (there are) cultural exchanges, like the Chinese Ballet coming to the Edinburgh Festival (2011), or the Chinese pandas in the Edinburgh Zoo, which have attracted a half million visitors in the first year, and the performances of the Scottish cultural companies in China. We had economic, cultural and educational links.
So, the updated strategy was to take account of the success we have had over the last five years and to move forward for a greater success in the future.
Question: If you can suggest, what kind of Chinese artist groups would you prefer for this year's Edinburgh International Festival?
Answer: As First Minister of Scotland, I have many responsibilities, but I leave the choice of artists to the artists, to the Festival organizers. The Chinese Ballet had an exceptional performance and was very very well received. I know the Festival organizers have been looking for other aspects of Chinese culture and background. I am sure they will make wide choices and the audience will be equally delighted.
Question: As the world economy is not expected to come out of the slowdown trend and the UK economy has also been affected, from the point of view of an economist, how do you think ordinary Scots can be assured of better life in the future?
Answer: We just released the latest Global Connections Survey today, which shows Scottish exports have increased by 7 percent (in 2011), which is a good performance against international environment, and shows that if you've got the right products, the right quality of products and high quality engineering, specialists, communication products, the great natural food and drink products, if you have the right mix of products, you can succeed even in a difficult international market place.
So, from the Scottish point of view, we have to do our best to mark the symbol of quality, which is behind the expertise, which is behind the Scottish products. We've got to use natural resources as well.
From the world economy point of view, we are still in a period of requiring rebalancing. People often focused on the immediate difficulties of the eurozone of getting the right management systems. Of course, that's very important, but the fundamental issue is that the countries which have built up substantial surpluses in the world, they must invest directly to rebalance the world economy.
So, the route ahead should be for more cooperation, more collaboration between economies, looking to benefit from each other's expertise and to build up strong, enduring partnerships.
China and Scotland have a tremendous partnership together. We also realized there has to be a partnership. China has "Panda diplomacy," so Scotland has "digital diplomacy" in China when we digitalized the Eastern (Royal) Tombs of the Qing Dynasty. We are using modern expertise to bring to life historical artifacts.
These are good exchanges which take our cooperation beyond the economic into the things that really matter, which is cultural, educational, increasing human knowledge and understanding. So, on that solid base, China and Scotland will go forward to our relationship together. Xie Xie (which in Chinese means "Thanks").
The world needs common development of China, India
More than "putting out the fire" in Africa
Encircling China just Japan's wishful thinking
Philippines moves in wrong direction
Unleash 'China energy' in global governance
Former Japanese PM apologizes for wartime crimes