UK’s understanding with China key to stability - GulfToday

UK’s understanding with China key to stability


Xi Jinping.

“China does not stir up trouble, but China is not afraid when others do. China is not the first to shoot, neither will we be passive and submissive to threats from the outside. Today’s world is not the world of 120 years ago. The Chinese people will not be bullied.”

The statement of Yang Xiaoguang, China’s charge d’affaires in London, at a news conference, merits considerable attention.

China slapped sanctions on several British politicians and organizations on Friday after the UK joined the European Union and others in sanctioning Chinese officials accused of human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region. The UK responded by accusing China of violating human rights on an “industrial scale.”

In the latest salvo in its full-bore response to Western criticism, China sanctioned four British institutions and nine individuals, including prominent lawmakers who have criticised the treatment of the Uyghur Muslim minority in Xinjiang. It said they would be barred from visiting Chinese territory and banned from having financial transactions with Chinese citizens and institutions.

Britain on Friday summoned China’s senior envoy in London to make clear that sanctions imposed by Beijing on British individuals were “unwarranted and unacceptable”.

The latest sanctions and the harsh tone of comments from Beijing officials reflect China’s increasingly tough diplomacy under nationalist leader Xi Jinping, who has pledged to uphold China’s interests at any cost. Over recent days, China has blocked already highly limited BBC broadcasts into the country and put two Canadians on trial in apparent retribution for that country’s detention of an executive of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.

China has rejected all criticism over its policies in Xinjiang, along with its crackdown on opposition figures in Hong Kong and threats against Taiwan, the self-governing island democracy China claims as its own territory. It has shrugged off US sanctions against officials accused of squelching democracy in Hong Kong and angrily denounced a British plan to offer a path to residency and citizenship to millions of citizens of its former colony.

Last year, China blamed the United Kingdom for deteriorating ties after Prime Minister Boris Johnson slapped a 5G ban on Huawei, accusing London of poisoning the relationship by meddling in Hong Kong’s affairs.

This year, Britain said China had contributed to an erosion of trust in the global trade system, offering to work with the European Union, Japan, the United States and others to clamp down on what it sees as unfair subsidies for state-owned enterprises.

Chinese state TV called on Thursday for a boycott of Swedish retail chain H&M as Beijing lashed out at foreign clothing and footwear brands following Monday’s decision by the 27-nation European Union, the United States, Britain and Canada to impose travel and financial sanctions on four Chinese officials blamed for abuses in Xinjiang.

In this context, the United States will have to reach an understanding with China on a new global order to ensure stability or the world will face a dangerous period like the one which preceded World War One, veteran US diplomat Henry Kissinger said.

Speaking at a Chatham House event in London via Zoom, Kissinger said the ultimate question was whether or not the United States and its Western allies could develop an understanding with China about a new global order.

“If we don’t get to that point and if we don’t get to an understanding with China on that point then we will be in a pre-World War One-type situation in Europe,” he said.

“It is infinitely more dangerous now than it was then,” Kissinger said. He said the high-tech weaponry on both sides could lead to a very grave conflict. That is something we can’t question.

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