Sino-British relations will deteriorate under new Prime Minister EJINSIGHT
In October 2015, British Prime Minister David Cameron declared a “golden era” in his country’s relations with China. Now, not seven years later, the two people campaigning to become the next prime minister are competing to attack China.
“China and the Chinese Communist Party pose the greatest threat to Britain and the security and prosperity of the world this century,” said Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in Boris Johnson’s cabinet before his resignation on Tuesday. July the 5th. “I would close all 30 of the Chinese Confucius Institutes in the UK, the largest (number) in the world.
His opponent, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, said she would crack down on Chinese companies such as social media giant Tok Tok. “The government should absolutely crack down on these types of companies and limit technology exports to authoritarian regimes,” she said.
The hostility of the two candidates shocked China and the business world. In an interview with the Financial Times published on Saturday, the chief executive of the Confederation of British Industry said that thousands of British companies were cutting their economic ties with China.
“Business leaders are increasingly switching business ties from China to other countries in anticipation of a further deterioration in relations between Beijing and the West,” Tony Danker said. “Every company I talk to right now is engaged in overhauling their supply chains. They anticipate that our politicians will inevitably accelerate towards a world decoupled from China.”
According to UK government figures, last year China was the UK’s largest import partner and sixth largest merchandise export partner. The UK imported £63.6 billion of goods from China in 2021, or 13.3% of all goods imports to the UK, and exported £18.8 billion of goods, representing 5.8% of all UK goods exports.
Britain is one of the top three destinations in Europe for Chinese investment. In 2021, despite Covid, the total value of disclosed deals involving Chinese investment in the UK was £3.59bn, with the number of Chinese companies filing audited turnover in the last two financial years rising to 845 and employing 61,000 people, according to UK magazine Accountancy Today.
Additionally, in 2020-21, 144,000 Chinese were studying at UK universities, up from 96,000 in 2016-2017, according to data from the British Higher Education Statistics Agency. They represented 32 percent of all non-EU international students.
According to UK government figures, the UK’s foreign direct investment (FDI) outward stock in China in 2020 was £12.9 billion, or 0.8% of the UK’s total outward FDI stock. -United.
China reacted to the debate with anger and disgust. “The reality is that the UK is China’s third-largest trading partner, with two-way trade up 22% last year, despite the US lockdown and the Covid-19 pandemic. Both countries are committed to build a comprehensive comprehensive strategic partnership for the 21st century,” China Daily said in a July 26 editorial.
On the 28th, its editorial said the two candidates’ anti-China plans were “equally absurd…For the past seven years, the UK has sunk deeper into the quagmire of self-inflicted suffering.” He was completely captivated by the United States. The UK has paid a heavy price for this in terms of previously flourishing relations with China,” he said.
Sunak and Truss reflect the big shift in Britain’s view of China during President Xi Jinping’s second term. Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado on July 21, Richard Moore, Britain’s spy chief, said China was now the top intelligence priority for the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS ), known as MI6, going beyond counter-terrorism.
“If you go under that strategy in terms of implementation, organization, tactical intent, and what capabilities they’re developing, it’s a black box,” Moore said.
Other factors behind the change are British criticism of the national security law in Hong Kong and China’s support for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and the crackdown on Uyghurs in Xinjiang. . “I will protect key UK assets,” Sunak said. “This means examining the need to prevent Chinese acquisitions of key UK assets, including strategically sensitive technology companies,”
All of this is bad news for Beijing. He had seen Britain as his beachhead in Europe. He saw it as weaker for leaving the European Union and more in need of bilateral trade and investment deals with non-European countries, of which China is the most important.
Thanks to the tens of thousands of Chinese who have studied and worked there and because it uses English, Britain is the country in Europe that Chinese companies and institutions know best.
That’s why Beijing spent £250 million in 2018 to buy the former Royal Mint in central London as its new embassy, the biggest in Europe and almost a third bigger than the new US embassy in London. four miles away.
But such is the groundswell of local opposition that in 2021 politicians in the borough of Tower Hamlets, where the Royal Mint is located, passed a cross-party motion to rename nearby roads “Tiananmen Square, Hong Kong Road, Uyghur Court and Tibet Hill”. ”
How far are David Cameron and his “golden age”. Whether Sunak or Truss follow him to 10 Downing Street, those times will not return.
— Contact us at [email protected]