- China has warned the UK against pursuing a new ‘cold war’ with the East amid rising international criticism of Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
- China’s ambassador to the UK accused British politicians of poisoning relations with Beijing.
- He accused UK politicians of being “addicted to the cold war mentality to compare China to the former Soviet Union and urge a review of the China-UK relationship, and even call for a new cold war.”
- The comments came after the UK backed calls by President Trump for an investigation into China’s handling of the outbreak.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
China has warned the UK against pursuing “a new cold war” after Boris Johnson’s government joined growing global criticism of Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak
Liu Xiaoming, Beijing’s ambassador to the UK, said in a webinar on Tuesday that British politicians could “poison” the UK’s relationship with China, in remarks reported by Bloomberg.
“Regrettably a few politicians in the UK have been addicted to the cold war mentality to compare China to the former Soviet Union and urge a review of the China-UK relationship, and even call for a new cold war,” he said.
“If they go unchecked they will poison the China-UK joint effort, and even international solidarity just as it’s needed most.”
The First Secretary of State Dominic Raab, who deputized for Johnson while he recovered from the coronavirus, warned last month that the UK’s relationship with China could not return to “business as usual” after the pandemic.
A growing number of Conservative Members of Parliament are now calling on the UK to reset the UK’s ties with China and rip up the deal with Huawei to develop Britain’s 5G network.
Business Insider reported last week that a number of influential Conservative MPs have set up a new parliamentary bloc called the “China Research Group,” in order to push Johnson to scrap the deal.
Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, who chairs the group, predicted that Johnson would revisit the controversial agreement.
“I can’t see how it doesn’t change that. Clearly, it’s going to have implications,” he told Business Insider.
“It makes the Huawei position hard.”
UK backs calls for China coronavirus investigation
The UK government last week backed calls for there to be an investigation into how the coronavirus outbreak started in China.
“This is the third virus, I think, to come out of China before the century is a quarter old,” Dame Karen Pierce, the UK’s ambassador to the US, said.
She added: “I think there definitely needs to be some sort of review or investigation.”
Despite the rising tensions, Xiaoming said he believed the two countries could still work together.
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“They do not even represent the [UK] Parliament,” he said of China’s critics in London.
“I believe the UK government and Prime Minister Johnson is still committed to a stronger relationship with China.
“I feel confident that we can work with the UK government.”
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