Three Sky News correspondents commented on Foreign Minister Dominic Raab’s statement today resources for UK-China relations…
Tom Cheshire, Asia Correspondent
The UK is pressuring China on an unprecedented number of fronts – Huawei, the oppression of the Uyghur ethnic minority in Xinjiang and the national security law in Hong Kong.
Each intervention elicits a response from Beijing, which recently promised “resolute reactions.”
China did not hesitate to react to these reactions with other countries – to impose tariffs on Australian barley, to imprison Canadian citizens, to punish American politicians. But so far, there has been little retaliation against Britain.
Suspending an extradition treaty with Hong Kong is unlikely to spark one either: Beijing likely would have thought it was a likely consequence of the National Security Law and would have imposed the law anyway.
Huawei is still the biggest irritant – and we’re awaiting the consequences of that. State media have raised the possibility of boycotting UK brands and universities.
Jon Craig, Chief Political Correspondent
Anyone hoping for massive retaliation from Dominic Raab against China over Hong Kong’s security laws and human rights violations against Uyghur Muslims will have been disappointed.
He won MPs’ applause by extending the arms embargo on China to Hong Kong, banning British exports of lethal arms and equipment used to suppress dissent, and the widely anticipated suspension of the treaty. extradition.
The embargo would mean a ban on the export of equipment that could be used for internal repression such as chains, interception equipment, firearms and smoke grenades, the Minister of Foreign Affairs told MEPs.
But what was missing from the foreign minister’s statement were sanctions against Chinese officials for the persecution of Uyghur Muslims, presumably because it would have been viewed by the Chinese as a much more provocative act.
His excuse, in his response to the awe-inspiring Lisa Nandy, the shadow foreign minister, was that it takes months to assemble the evidence of such human rights violations and it cannot be done on the spot. political leader.
Mr. Raab concluded his statement by saying that his actions were “reasonable and proportionate”.
But what was perhaps most telling was when he told MPs: “We want to work with China”. And then: “We want a positive relationship with China”.
This weekend, the Chinese ambassador to the United Kingdom said in a television interview that the British government “is dancing to the rhythm of the United States”. Mr. Raab was clearly trying desperately not to appear to be doing this.
We knew what came from the Foreign Minister when Boris Johnson promised a tough, balanced and “calibrated” approach to China.
When it came it was certainly agreed that it was balanced and measured, but it could have been more difficult.
Deborah Haynes, Foreign Affairs Editor
Reasonable and proportionate – these are the words used by the Foreign Secretary to describe the UK’s punishment on China for its actions in Hong Kong.
Beijing will not agree.
Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese ambassador to London, has already warned that there will be consequences – they just haven’t been spelled out yet.
This is a pivotal moment for the rising global superpower, which seeks to demonstrate its authority as global alliances are strained and relationships change.
But the UK will take comfort in knowing that it is not acting alone.
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Its decision to suspend an extradition treaty with Hong Kong follows similar action by Canada and Australia. The United States has also changed its relations with Hong Kong.
The UK’s decision to extend an arms embargo already imposed on mainland China to Hong Kong is intended to underscore London’s frustration with Beijing for pushing forward what is seen as a draconian law on national security imposed on former British territory.