Amid nuclear spat, Britain’s May tells China: We want stronger ties

Britain's Prime Minister, Theresa May, speaks to the media outside number 10 Downing Street, in central London, Britain July 13, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, speaks to the media outside number 10 Downing Street, in central London, Britain July 13, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

Prime Minister Theresa May has told China’s leader that Britain wants to strengthen trade and business ties, an attempt to reassure the world’s second largest economy after London delayed a $24 billion nuclear project.

May’s surprise decision to review the building of Britain’s first nuclear plant in decades upset China, which questioned whether Chinese money was still welcome in Britain just weeks after the June 23 Brexit vote to leave the European Union.

After Beijing’s expression of frustration, May wrote to President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang saying Britain attached great importance to Sino-British cooperation.

Britain “looks forward to strengthening cooperation with China on trade and business and on global issues”, China’s foreign ministry said, citing the letter.

A source in May’s office confirmed the contents of the letter, which was hand-delivered by Alok Sharma, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office,

“This is part of what you’d expect the Prime Minister to do in terms of our relations with the wider world. It’s all part of Britain remaining an outward-looking country as we head toward Brexit,” the source said.

China’s $11.3 trillion economy is currently more than four times as big as Britain’s at $2.4 trillion.

Cast as the jewel illustrating a “Golden Era” of relations between the two powers, the financing deal for the Hinkley Point nuclear project in southwestern England was signed in Downing Street during a state visit to Britain by Xi last year.

May’s predecessor, David Cameron, said the Hinkley Point project was a sign of Britain’s openness to foreign investment, but May is concerned about the security implications of the planned Chinese investment, according to a former colleague.

May’s most striking corporate intervention since winning power in the turmoil which followed the Brexit vote indicates a more cautious view of Chinese investment and a willingness to take a tough line with EU allies such as France.


Under plans drawn up by Cameron, French utility EDF and China General Nuclear Power Corp would fund the cost of building two Areva European Pressurized Water Reactors at the Hinkley C nuclear plant in Somerset.

Britain has committed to pay a minimum price for the power generated by the plant for 35 years, though critics said London had agreed to pay far too much.

Hinkley is seen as blazing the trail for closer ties with China on nuclear issues and paving the way for tens of billions of dollars of investment and another two nuclear power plants with Chinese involvement.

China’s foreign ministry cited Britain’s envoy, Sharma, as telling Foreign Minister Wang Yi that Britain attached great importance to Sino-British cooperation.

Wang told Sharma that China believes Britain will continue to have an open policy toward China, the ministry added.

Sharma tweeted that he had a “great” first meeting with Wang. “A warm welcome and forward looking approach.”

(Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Richard Balmforth)

Source: Reuters “Amid nuclear spat, Britain’s May tells China: We want stronger ties”

Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


9 Comments on “Amid nuclear spat, Britain’s May tells China: We want stronger ties”

  1. johnleecan says:

    Remember the British built a structure that is bad Feng Shui for Hong Kong when the handover was nearing. China then built another structure that countered the bad Feng Shui that was acknowledged by some of the best Feng Shui experts as very good indeed.

    After 99 years, they can’t accept Hong Kong was to be returned to China and they have to do something to bring bad luck to Hong Kong.

    And with the latest destabilization efforts by the involvement of the British on Hong Kong’s umbrella movement, China should remember her enemies.


  2. Simon says:

    Britain is one of the “5 Anglo Alliance” that include America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. They are a group bound by a common cultural ancestary of the British that dominate their respective country’s founding and politics and share strategic interests above any other alliances they are members of including NATO. Can Britain be trusted? Definately not!
    Under PM David Cameron the British came to China with a begging bowl asking Chinese money to invest in Britain’s waning economy. When said and deals are done with President Xi’s visit which amount to an inward investment of over £35 billion into the British economy the largest ever in history. Following Brexit Britain with a new regime in government came to China again with a begging bowl for more investments and even at that stage HInkley Point project was still going ahead. Just weeks later when deals finalising becomes a formality Theresa May postponed it.
    Not surprise the Chinese are not happy not least because they are being singled out as the reason for the postponement not because of anything other than prejuduce. The Chinese did not prejudice the British and welcome them when they are in need but the Brits are shown to be untrustworthy two faced. The British are being looked upon negatively around the world and it is troubling they are having problems making friends and doing business with other countries which they desperately need and they really made a hash job of it with the biggest and most important economy in China that is likely to have any chance to offset the negative impact from Brexit.

    The behaviour of the British and PM May’s regime is liken to the Chinese saying
    食碗面反碗底 [sihk wún mín fáan wún dái] (To eat from a bowl and then turn it over)


    • James says:

      The only way to deal with arrogance and prejudice is to let them sink themselves into the abyss. An informal boycott of UK investments if the pommies feel they are so insecure with Chinese money. Lets them stew in their own debt. China has been magnanimous towards the British considering the opium misery brought into mainland China during the 19thC.
      Lets bygones be bygones … lets start afresh with mutual trust. But that not how Anglo/Saxon/Celtic culture works. Smiles and back patting in front, meanwhile scheming to back stab you.
      Remember China, there are “5 Eyes” that will spy on you.

      Best, China take it’s money where they are appreciated – Africa, SEAsia, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and S America.

      If China still wants to invest in W. Europe, Germany is a better bet. Forget London, try Frankfurt

      Liked by 2 people

      • Simon says:

        I know UK universities relies heavily on Chinese students for its very survival. Chinese students pays over £15k each year up front unlike home students whose fees are loaned. It is true Chinese students are subsidising UK students. The fees are only a fraction of what these students contribute to the British economy. Billions £££££ are spent by Chinese students shopping in the UK. If partnership with UK universities comes to an end it will be a disaster for Britain.


  3. valiant says:

    i like your money, i want your money and i need your money and i love to be your friend.


  4. valiant says:

    it is like telling someone to trust me for not trusting you.


    • James says:

      The Poms only sees the $$$$ that China can provide. Nothing else.
      Nothing comes good out of mistrust. Chinese leaders should be very vary of British intentions. “Golden Era”? lol Past British actions towards China over the 150 years is a good guide. The ball is on the UK side. Unfortunately, the May govt latest action is very telling.
      Tread very carefully China – they are back-stabbers.