Home News A timeline of China-UK Ambassadorial Relations: 2010 to present

A timeline of China-UK Ambassadorial Relations: 2010 to present

by CBBC Staff
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This year marks the 50th anniversary of ambassadorial relations between China and the UK. In this article series, we take a look at some of the key events that have taken place between 1972 and 2022, continuing with the 2000s.



  • Sir Sebastian Wood becomes the British Ambassador to China.

  • Liu Xiaoming becomes Chinese Ambassador to the UK.
  • UK Prime Minister David Cameron leads a large ministerial delegation to China. Business leaders accompany the delegation to the UK-China Summit. 
  • The UK-China Energy Dialogue is established. 


  • Chinese Pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang arrive in the UK, on loan to Edinburgh Zoo.
  • China’s Vice President Wang Qishan meets with UK Chancellor George Osborne and CBBC Chairman Sir David Brewer.
  • Premier Wen Jiabao pays a visit to the UK at the invitation of Prime Minister David Cameron

  • CBBC Chairman Sir David Brewer meets with Vice Premier Li Keqiang in London. 


  • A China-UK business luncheon is held at the London Millennium Hotel to promote new developments in the two countries’ economic relations.

  • The London 2012 Olympic Games commence. China leaves the Olympics with 91 medals (including 39 gold medals), second only to the United States.


  •  Prime Minister David Cameron visits China on a trade mission and holds talks with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. 
  • CBBC holds the China Business Conference. The theme of the conference is “China’s Urbanisation, Consumers and the Enterprise Internationalisation.” 
  • Prime Minister David Cameron speaks at the UK-China Business Summit during his visit to Beijing. 


  • Premier Li Keqiang and Madam Cheng Hong visit the UK and meet with the queen and Prime Minister David Cameron. 
  • Premier Li Keqiang and CBBC Chairman Lord Sassoon host a dinner at the Natural History Museum. 

  • The National Theatre of Great Britain and the National Theatre of China reach an agreement to bring a Chinese-language version of War Horse to the stage in China.


  • Dame Barbara Woodward becomes the first female British Ambassador to China.
  • UK Chancellor George Osborne announces the UK’s intention to join the China-instigated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the first major Western country to seek membership.

  • China’s President Xi Jinping and Madam Peng Liyuan pay a state visit to the UK and meet with the queen. 

  • President Xi Jinping receives a copy of CBBC’s Belt and Road Report from Chairman Lord Sassoon. 
  • UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond visits China. On the first day of his visit, Mr Hammond speaks at Peking University in Beijing, outlining the UK’s relationship with China. 

  • The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, visits China and meets with President Xi Jinping.

  • The People’s Bank of China (PBOC), China’s central bank, issues its first offshore renminbi bond in London.


  • President Xi Jinping meets UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who was in China for the G20 Summit.
  • The UK and China declare a ‘Golden Era’ for developing bilateral relations. 
  • UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond undertakes his second trip to China to speak about the relationship between the two nations. 
  • UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson hosts China’s State Councillor Yang Jiechi for annual foreign policy talks.


  •  Princess Anne visits China to mark the 45th anniversary of UK-China ambassadorial ties.
  • UK Minister for Asia Alok Sharma hosts an event to mark the 45th anniversary of ambassadorial relations between the UK and China. The Chinese ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, also attends. 
  • Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong meets Prime Minister Theresa May and Princess Anne during the UK-China People to People Dialogue.
  • Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to President Xi and agrees that the UK and China should continue to consolidate the ‘Golden Era’ of bilateral relations and deepen its strategic partnership.
  • UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson marks 20 years since the Hong Kong handover. 


  • UK Prime Minister Theresa May visits China on a trade mission and meets with President Xi Jinping. The CBBC joins Prime Minister Theresa May’s trade visit to China.
  • UK Foreign Office Minister Mark Field visits China to “support the Golden Era of UK-China relations.”
  • UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt visits China for meetings with his Chinese counterpart and to further enhance UK-China relations.


  • UK Chancellor Philip Hammond launches the CBBC’s Fourth Belt and Road Report. 
  • CBBC co-hosts the UK-China Business Dinner in honour of Vice Premier Hu Chunhua following the Economy & Financial Dialogue in London.


  • Dame Caroline Wilson is appointed UK ambassador to China and meets with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Qin Gang.


  • President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, send a message of condolence to the queen after the death of her husband, Prince Philip.

  • Zheng Zeguang becomes Chinese Ambassador to the UK.


  • Beijing holds the Winter Olympics, and China becomes the first country in the world to host both the Summer and the Winter Olympic Games.

  • President Xi Jinping sends a congratulatory message to the queen on the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne.

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