Boris Johnson said he is ‘fervently Sinophile’ in an effort to strengthen economic relations between China and the UK
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently claimed he is “fervently Sinophile” to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year during a Downing Street Round Table.
Johnson told those gathered at February 12 that, by restarting the Economic and Financial Dialog and the Chinese-UK Joint Economic Exchange and Commission, he wanted to resume structured trade talks between China and the United Kingdom, said a report in the Guardian. However, no date for the reopening of either forum has been set.
The United Kingdom tries to boost its economic and commercial relations with China after Boris Johnson says that he was “fervently Sinophile” and willing to enhance links “whatever the occasional political difficulties.”
Speaking at a round table with Chinese companies on Downing Street, Prime Ministers are probably upset about backbenchers in his conservative party who want the government to follow a more tough approach to Beijing’s abuses of human rights.
Johnson also said he wanted to resume structured trade negotiations between the two countries by reopening two fora, the Economic and Financial Dialogue, annual discussions between the two countries, and the Joint Trade and Economic Commission of China-UK (Jetco). Both were stopped in response to Chinese civil rights repression in Hong Kong’s former UK colony
On 12 February the roundtable on Downing Street marked the lunar new year and was attended by some of the companies more involved in China, including the Swire Group and Tenacity, a real estate and investment group based in Hong Kong.
The excitement of Johnson for re-building trade ties with China comes from demanding a new strategy by Human Rights advocates, and the US criticized the EU for moving ahead with an investment agreement with China in December.
In protest against the imposition by Beijing of new oppressive laws in Hong Kong, the UK suspended most formal economic dialogs with China last year.
On Johnson’s statements, Downing Street would not comment in-depth but said his views on China were well known. He added that no date for the resumption of the Economic and Financial Dialog or Jetco was yet set.
The Lords and Commons are also voting on the long-standing question of the position of UK courts to advise parliament on genocide in a country such as the alleged Uighur Muslim genocide of China’s Xinjiang.
A cross-party coalition of peers inserted twice, with a huge majority, the measure which gave UK courts a place in the trade bill, but the amendment was subsequently rejected twice by slim majorities. On Tuesday, colleagues must decide whether or not to press the question for a third time.
When opposing the genocide amendment, the Ministers had repeatedly told the Commons that the UK had no immediate prospect of signing any new trade or economic deals with China and that if there was any proof that the Ministers themselves would baulk at signing any such agreements without the High Court needing to draw preliminary judgments on the nature of genocide.
The roundtable comments of Johnson indicate that he is ready to sign with China new investment and market access agreements.
Luke de Pulford, who has coordinated the genocide amendment, said: “As they sterilize, brainwash their children and are exploited by tens of thousands, the UK is bending backwards to gain further trade in China. How wrong are things to get before Boris Johnson knows that this sort of thing makes the barbaric regime of Xi Jinping? ”
The National Statistics Office reveals that in the second quarter of 2020, the UK has imported more goods from China (£11bn) than any other trading partner. This was the first quarter in which China accounted for the largest share of UK goods imports. The share of UK imports from China rose from 8.6% in the first quarter of 2020 to 13.4% in the second quarter of 2020.
There is uncertainty around the government on how to balance the post-Brexit China agenda, between attempting to replace Europe’s markets and acting as a good power in the world in the protection of human rights. Some claim that the United Kingdom will question Beijing without tipping on the sort of trade and diplomatic war between China and Australia.