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Strained relations between China and UK, after Theresa May delays Hinkley nuclear decision

U.K. Delay on Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Plant Strains Relations With China  Decision by new government to review deal comes as British vote to leave the European Union puts trade policy in question, WSJ   By JENNY GROSS in London and CHUN HAN WONG in Beijing Aug. 5, 2016

New Prime Minister Theresa May’s surprise move to delay a final decision on building a nuclear plant part-funded by China has prompted questions in Beijing about the U.K.’s commitment to foreign investment and a “golden era” in ties between their capitals.

Britain announced last week it needed until the fall to review the controversial £18-billion ($23.7 billion) project, postponing a deal with China and France agreed to last year by Ms. May’s predecessorDavid Cameron to build the country’s first new nuclear plant in a generation.

Ms. May has said the U.K. will continue to seek investment from around the world, but how she proceeds in China will be closely watched as a bellwether of her government’s diplomatic and economic policy as the country navigates its exit from the European Union following a public vote in June……..

Chinese state media warned that undue delays or cancellation of the project would damage mutual trust. The delay had already spurred concern that Britain might be “thinking of erecting a wall of protectionism,” China’s official Xinhua News Agency said in an editorial this week…….

A Chinese government adviser said China will want Britain to provide a clear explanation for its actions and assurances on the directions of its China policy. He added that while the nuclear deal marked a crucial advance for Beijing, ultimately Britain needs China more than the other way around…….

Nick Timothy, Ms. May’s newly appointed joint chief of staff and a close adviser, last year wrote that the deal was “baffling” and said security experts are worried the Chinese could build weaknesses into computer systems that would allow them to shut down Britain’s energy production.

—Selina Williams in London and Inti Landauro in Paris contributed to this article.http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-k-delay-on-hinkley-point-nuclear-power-plant-strains-relations-with-china-1470402457

August 6, 2016 - Posted by | China, politics international, UK

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