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Friday, July 19, 2024


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Graham Perry
Graham Perry
Experienced Arbitration Lawyer | China & Chinese Business Affairs | Public Speaker/Lecturer.


Questions arise about the state of UK-China relations. Are they good or are they struggling? Is Prime Minister Johnson’s Tilt Towards China in place or is it wilting? Is the China-Britain Business Centre optimistic or pessimistic about the future for UK Business in China? To what extent is the future for UK Business tied to the UK need to be seen to support its major ally – the USA?

The FT reports that the UK is exploring ways to remove China’s state-owned nuclear energy company from all future power projects in the UK including the consortium planning to build the new £20bn Sizewell nuclear power station in Suffolk.

Relations have stumbled in recent months as the UK has focused on the National Security Law in Hong Kong; the allegations of genocide of the Uyghurs; China’s handling of the initial Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan and the removal of Huawei from UK’s 5G network. It was Foreign Secretary Raab who stated in 2020 that the UK could no longer conduct “business as usual” with China.

The UK is tied to the US + Biden’s policy of De-Coupling” from China but can the UK build closer trade links with China whilst removing nuclear energy links with China. Can the UK have More of China and Less of China at the same time? And all this as the newest UK aircraft carrier steams towards the S China Sea in a show of military strength which stirs recollections in Beijing of Gunboat Diplomacy of the 19th Century and the Opium War.

The UK sees short term. China sees long term. We must prepare for the possibility that the UK will be increasingly marginalised where China is concerned as the UK, incorrectly, believes that China needs the UK more than the UK needs China. Choppy waters ahead.

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