“China hawks” get stronger as Britain struggles with the fall of the new corona virus.
Liu Xiaoming, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Britain, spoke at an event in London to mark the 45th anniversary of the ambassador’s relations between Britain and China, March 29, 2017.
Recent years have shown Britain as one of the most vibrant European partners in Beijing. Praised by then Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015 as a start “The golden era,” developing links in these countries have enabled Britain to strengthen its position as a continent goal number one for Chinese investment. This success has been driven by the administration of the Conservative Party which successively “separates” the economy from sensitive political issues between the two powers. This allows lucrative market relations to face some diplomatic storms. For example, when former Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt threatened “Serious consequences” will follow a crackdown on Hong Kong protests last year, he is simultaneously interested “in maintaining great relations between Britain and China.” This complicated approach has even allowed Huawei a supporting role in the 5G infrastructure which is still new in the UK, even by not wrath Donald Trump is able to separate England from comfortable contradictions.
The COVID-19 crisis, however, might prove to be a turning point for this political balancing act. On April 28, the US National Health Service had registered more than 21,600 deaths from the virus were first reported in Wuhan, China. According to this public health expert situation shows no sign of ending because lockdown restrictions are potentially seen to last into the fall. Of course, this development will have inevitable consequences for bilateral relations marked by differences, with an unprecedented health emergency apparently pushing London’s desire to accommodate the Beiijing market power to its breaking point.
This is evident from the aggressive new line taken by Downing Street officials in recent weeks, now far from 2019 “pro-China” rhetoric Boris Johnson, just now recover from the infection itself. Leading Minister Michael Gove was one of the first to pioneer this approach, stated at the end of March that “some reports from China were not clear about the scale, nature, infectiousness [COVID-19.]”This only provides a way for stronger threats to fully restore bilateral relations, such as Foreign Minister Dominic Raab recently declared that “We can’t have business as usual.” British intelligence agencies seem to have given a boost behind this abusive approach, debate that “strategic industries” are believed to be vulnerable to Chinese infiltration must now be blocked from potential takeovers.
This rapid transformation even results creation from the new “Chinese Research Group” in the Conservative Party. Led by Beijing’s leading critic, Tom Tugendhat, the group’s creation exemplifies the increasing wealth of the “Chinese eagle” in the British political sphere. These voices seemed eager to a “calculation” with the Xi government that is thought to risk becoming a “pariah state.”
Because this confrontational approach is met by the same reply hawkish However, from the new generation of Chinese diplomats, the question must be asked whether this rhetoric will only mean a war of words. Sure, while politicians fight, Request continues for personal protective equipment (PPE), many of which are produced in mainland China. This reality was recently overcome by the British embassy in Beijing, which, instead of preventing trade, was only laid out guidelines for businesses who want to do activities with Chinese companies. Such advice seems to signal the “structural strength” of the relationship between two influential markets, which might prove too important to be dangerous.
Events like this will naturally give the UK government, which is now renegotiating its Chinese policies, much to think about in the coming months. While it has been exiled to the wilderness of politics in such periods of testing, it must be remembered that Britain is still officially set to go The European Union as a whole at the end of the year. A potential free trade agreement with Beijing, therefore, might still seem very attractive to a strong economy that wants to do its best in the face of uncertainty. At the same time, an agreement will also help restore the face of the Chinese Communist Party amid a global reaction, with the government excited about to enhance its tarnished image as an international leader.
Overall, it is clear that the future of British and Chinese relations remains as unpredictable as the virus which makes it very difficult. When emotions flare up, a crisis that seems irreconcilable now might just prove another dispute in a relationship that has long been as confrontational as it is cooperative.
Niall Gray is a master’s student in Central and Eastern European Studies, Russia and Eurasia at the University of Glasgow.
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