The UK and China appear to be edging closer to a cold war or economic trade stand-off. It comes after the UK has publicly criticised Chinese activities, as well as making moves to suspend certain agreements. Developments came in the face of China’s dealings in and around its border regions.
Most notably, its actions in Hong Kong, where last month the mainland implemented a new and controversial security law on what is supposed to be an autonomous region until 2047.
On Monday, the UK suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong over the security law.
The Chinese ambassador reacted by saying the UK had “blatantly interfered” in China’s affairs.
Liu Xiaoming said: “China has never interfered in the UK’s internal affairs. The UK should do the same to China.”
He warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the “UK will bear the consequences if it insists on going down the wrong road.”
The comments mirror that of Sean King, senior vice president at Park Strategies and business advisor to Asia, who told Express.co.uk that China operates in a way where “if you don’t play along and put up, you will suffer the consequences.”
Mr King argued that recent events prove as good a time as any that the UK, US and other liberal democracies need to look elsewhere to secure trade deals and business.
This, he said, is so we’re not forced to “sacrifice” our own values in order to make a profit or secure a transaction.
JUST IN: US in furious warning at China as tensions hit breaking point
Last year, trade between the two countries hit a record high, with large infrastructure projects and education playing major roles.
China’s being the UK’s sixth largest market made for a deal worth £30.7billion, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
In a separate direction, China was the UK’s fourth largest source of imports, worth an estimated £49billion – another record high.
It is not known for certain how trade such as the aforementioned deals will be affected because of the fresh tensions.
Many have argued that a trade war between the two looms.
On Sunday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab accused China of “gross and egregious” human rights abuses against a minority group known as the Uighurs.
He said sanctions against those responsible cannot be ruled out.
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in London on Monday evening ahead of talks with Mr Johnson including China and the coronavirus pandemic.
The US has taken a much more hard line approach to China than the UK.
In 2018, Trump began setting tariffs and other trade barriers on China in what marked the beginning of an on-going trade war.