Beijing’s might and ambitions, and the approach of Brexit, make the path ahead more difficult. It’s time for careful thought
A few years ago, George Osborne announced that Britain’s relations with China were entering a “golden era”. On Thursday, his successor as chancellor gave a more measured assessment: they are “complex”, Philip Hammond said, noting that they “had not been made simpler” by the defence secretary Gavin Williamson’s threat to deploy an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea.
Britain, blanching as Brexit approaches, is more anxious than ever to keep Chinese cash flowing. Diplomats from other nations say London is already less willing to criticise Beijing because it knows how much it will need it. Yet some of the lustre is coming off bilateral dealings, as it is from China’s relationships elsewhere. The Trump administration is viscerally hostile, but Beijing’s increasingly repressive turn at home and forcefulness abroad has alarmed many who were more sympathetic to it.
Link : The Guardian view on Britain and China: it’s complicated | Editorial