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Chinese premier congratulates on 65th anniversary of Icebreaking Mission in China-Britain trade

BEIJING, Feb. 1, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday sent a congratulatory message to an event commemorating the 65th anniversary of the "Icebreaking Mission" in China-Britain trade held by Britain's 48 Group Club.

In the message, Li said that over the past more than 60 years, British friends including the 48 Group Club have been actively promoting trade and cultural exchanges between the two countries, facilitating the process of China's reform and opening-up, and also enhancing bilateral win-win cooperation.

The "icebreakers" spirit not only shows the willingness of the British people to develop friendly cooperation with China, but also demonstrates that the development momentum of human society towards a more open and inclusive future is unstoppable, Li said.

In 1954, Jack Perry, the founder of London Export Corporation, led a group of 48 British businessmen on a historic trade mission to Beijing and helped deliver one of the first modern-day trade links with China.

The 48 men were the precursors of the 48 Group Club. The trip became known as the "Icebreaking Mission," and the club members were called "icebreakers."

The Chinese government speaks highly of the efforts made by the 48 Group Club for promoting China-Britain friendship, and looks forward to the "icebreakers" spirit being passed on and carried forward to make new and greater contributions to deepening friendship between the two peoples, Li added.

Li stressed that China is willing to continue to work together with friends from all walks of life in Britain, on a basis of mutual respect and on equal footing, to continuously strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation, jointly safeguard multilateralism and free trade, and promote the development of an open and inclusive world.

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