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UK names 'China hand' as new ambassador

Updated: 2014-08-07 09:13
By Zhang Chunyan in London ( chinadaily.com.cn)

Britain has appointed a "China hand" as its new ambassador to promote bilateral trade and business.

UK names 'China hand' as new ambassador

Barbara Janet Woodward will become Britain's Ambassador to China early next year. [Photo/gov.uk]

Barbara Janet Woodward has been named to succeed Sebastian Wood, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London said on Wednesday.

Woodward, who is experienced in Chinese issues at the FCO, will take up her appointment early next year.

She said she is honored and delighted to succeed Sebastian Wood and to be returning to China where she worked as a political counselor and later minister and deputy head of mission in Beijing from 2003 to 2009.

"I look forward to supporting further dynamic development in our bilateral trade and investment and to accelerating and deepening our cooperation across China, building up the indispensable partnership that the Prime Minister (David Cameron) and Premier Li Keqiang reaffirmed earlier this year as the cornerstone for our security and prosperity in the 21st century," Woodward said.

Woodward joined the FCO in 1994 and has worked in China, Russia, the European Union and at the United Nations. Since 2011, she has been a member of the Board of the FCO as director general of economic and consular affairs.

Woodward is familiar with Chinese and economic affairs and experts said the appointment shows the British government wants to further deepen its trade and business relations with China.

Britain is China's second-largest trading partner in the European Union and its second-largest source of foreign investment.

Two-way trade hit $70 billion last year. Chinese investment in the UK has made huge progress. In the past two years, Chinese companies invested more than $13 billion in the UK, outdoing their total UK investment of the previous three decades.

More than 40 agreements worth $30 billion were signed during Li's three-day visit to Britain in mid-June.

Li also called on the two nations to realize a $100 billion annual trade target by the end of 2015, up from $70 billion achieved in 2013.