British Prime Minister Theresa May (Xinhua file photo)

LONDON Maliek Collins Hat , Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- British Prime Minister Theresa May gave her clearest indication so far on Monday that Britain would be prepared to leave the European Union with no deal.

Addressing MPs in the House of Commons on the first day back after the conference season, May said achieving a special partnership after Brexit will require leadership and flexibility, not just from Britain, but from the 27 nations of the EU.

"As we look forward to the next stage, the ball is in their court. But I am optimistic it will receive a positive response," May told MPs in her first parliamentary statement since her big speech last month in Florence.

May added: "What we are seeking is not just the best possible deal for us, but I believe that will also be the best possible deal for our European friends too. Progress will not always be smooth but by approaching these negotiations in a constructive way in a spirit of friendship and cooperation and with our sights firmly set on the future, I believe we can prove the doomsayers wrong."

In her statement, May said the British government had published Monday two new policy consultation statements on trade and customs.

"These pave the way for legislation to allow the UK to operate as an independent trading nation and to create an innovative customs system that will help us achieve the greatest possible tariff and barrier-free trade as we leave the EU," said May.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, responded to May's speech by saying that 16 months on after the referendum, no significant progress has been made.

The government is no closer to deciding what it wants, said Corbyn.

May's statement came as the fifth round of negotiations between Britain and the EU started in Brussels.

Brexit Secretary David Davis sat alongside May as she delivered her statement, with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson seated some distance away.

Some media observers speculated this could be significant after calls on May to fire or demote Johnson.

BEIRUT, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Ambassador to Lebanon Wang Kejian pledged on Monday that China will continue its support to the UN peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon.

At the invitation of Michael Beary, head of Mission and Force Commander of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Wang visited the UNIFIL headquarters in Lebanon's southern town of Naqoura and toured the UNIFIL zone near the Lebanon-Israel border.

In his meeting with Beary, Wang said that China, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has always actively supported and participated in UN peacekeeping operations.

The Chinese envoy pointed out that China has established an 8,000-strong standby UN peacekeeping force, which will play a bigger role in protecting world peace.

Hailing the important role played by the UNIFIL in safeguarding peace and stability in southern Lebanon as well as the region, Wang vowed that China will continue its support to the UN mission there.

For his part, Beary said that China, as a great power with global influence, has made great contribution to the UN peacekeeping missions.

Beary spoke highly of the professionalism and outstanding performance by the Chinese peacekeepers within the UNIFIL. He also commended their friendly relationships with other countries' peacekeeping forces, local government and residents.

As one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, China has dispatched the most troops on UN peacekeeping missions, and provided major funding for such operations.

Since joining UN peacekeeping operations in 1990, Chinese troops have been deployed 24 times, with over 36,000 personnel dispatched. A total of 2,506 Chinese peacekeepers are currently on UN missions in eight locations around the world.

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