In 2013, the relations between the People's Republic of China and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland resumed normal growth after experiencing some ups and downs.
Political exchanges were gradually restored. In September, President Xi Jinping spoke briefly with Prime Minister David Cameron during the G20 St. Petersburg Summit. In June, Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a phone conversation with Foreign Secretary William Hague. In March, Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Foreign Secretary Hague sent congratulatory messages to President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi respectively. Premier Li spoke with Prime Minister Cameron on the phone. In May, Prime Minister Cameron publicly reaffirmed in the parliament that the UK respects China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, recognizes Tibet as part of China and does not support "Tibet independence". In October, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne visited China and co-chaired the fifth China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue with Vice Premier Ma Kai. In December, Prime Minister Cameron visited China and held the China-UK prime ministers' annual meeting with Premier Li. The two sides agreed to advance the China-UK comprehensive strategic partnership on the basis of respecting and accommodating each other's major concerns.
Practical cooperation further deepened and expanded. China was the UK's second largest trading partner and fourth largest investment destination outside the EU. The UK was China's third largest trading partner and second largest source of actual investment within the EU. Bilateral trade in goods continued to grow. Direct investment by Chinese companies in the UK grew rapidly. The two countries signed the MOU on enhancing investment cooperation and the MOU on enhancing cooperation in the field of civil nuclear energy. Chinese and British central banks signed a bilateral currency swap agreement totaling RMB200 billion. London became the biggest offshore trading hub for renminbi outside Hong Kong. The two sides signed an MOU on research and innovation partnership, agreeing to each provide ₤100 million to a joint innovation fund.
People-to-people exchange thrived. The two sides signed the programme of cultural exchanges from 2013 to 2018. "Happy Spring Festival", the biggest Chinese New Year celebration activity outside China, continued to be held in the UK. Chinese art troupes actively participated in the Edinburgh Art Festival. Chinese was the only Asian language on the list of options of compulsory foreign language courses for students from the third grade upwards in public primary schools. Greater efforts were made to set up Confucius Institutes and Classrooms. The number of exchange students continued to rise. The UK launched Generation UK, which would support 15,000 British youths to study or take internships in China in the next three years. The UK became China's second largest scientific cooperation partner. China and the UK enjoyed sound cooperation momentum in science and technology, health, climate change, sustainable city, personnel exchange and wildlife protection.
The two countries maintained military-to-military exchanges. In December, British guided missile destroyer HMS Daring visited Shanghai.
Sub-national exchanges continued to deepen. By the end of 2013, the two countries had 49 pairs of sister cities (provinces, counties, districts).
China and the UK maintained consultation and coordination in international affairs. The two countries had close communication in the United Nations and G20 on climate change, non-proliferation, international development, cyber security and African affairs.