Ahead of British Prime Minister Theresa May's Visit to China, the British Ambassador to China Barbara Woodward briefed Chinese media on January 29, 2018 at her residence, saying a post-Brexit Britain would be able to "move a bit faster towards" deepening cooperation with China as well as jointly expanding Sino-UK commercial partnerships into third countries along the burgeoning Belt and Road.
But business is the focus of her trip.
She said also that Britain was "a natural partner" for Beijing's signature "Belt and Road Initiative", with its ability to provide support not only in terms of the physical development of infrastructure projects, but also from a financial perspective.
Ms May will also be joined by her husband Philip for the first time on a bilateral overseas visit, in a step marking how critical Downing Street sees the trip.
She said: "We are in government".
China was expected to play a "huge role" in the economic development of the world, said the PM, adding: "I want that future to work for Britain, which is why, during my visit, I'll be deepening co-operation with China on key global and economic issues that are critical to our businesses, to our people, and to what the United Kingdom stands for".
The prime minister, who will be accompanied by her husband Philip for the first time on a visit outside Europe, said she would push for greater commitments from the Chinese to adhere to global economic rules and standards as it continued to "open up" to the world.
Britain has said it will leave the EU's single market and customs union so that it can strike its own trade deals with countries outside the bloc, making China's huge market an attractive target.
"One of the things the prime minister will be focusing on this visit is looking at the scope to work with China, as China opens up its markets, to move towards a more ambitious trading relationship with China", Woodward told reporters.
"And I want to see that this happens in a way that protects our values, ensures global security and advances the multi-cultural system and the rules for which we have fought so hard".
"In the past five years, Hong Kong has seen increasing threats to the basic freedoms, human rights and autonomy which the people were promised at the handover just over 20 years ago", they wrote. "That job is about getting the best Brexit deal, about ensuring that we take back control of our money, our laws, our borders, that we can sign trade deals around the rest of the world".
May is battling criticism of her Brexit strategy back home. So at least in this respect, Mrs May has to impress not only her hosts, but also her domestic audience.
Media reports have said the number of "no confidence" letters submitted by lawmakers from May's party is nearing the threshold that would trigger a leadership contest.
The prime minister told reporters she meant to raise both issues in her meeting with China's leaders, though declined to give specifics.
Responding to one of more than 10 questions about her leadership during a 25-minute briefing, May defended her record by singling out housing, education and employment rates as areas where her government has made progress.
"Are you asking me is there more for us to do, talk to people about, more generally about what we are achieving and what we are doing?"
The US has hiked tariffs on Chinese steel and called on both the United Kingdom and European Union to do more to stop "dumping" of its products on their markets.