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Leader_UK is right to roll out the red carpet to Xi

  • Author:naky
  • Source:www.diecastingpartsupplier.com
  • Release on:2015-11-04
When Xi Jinping, China’s president, arrives in the UK late on Monday, he will be embarking upon what promises to be the most important diplomatic visit to Britain in several years. A strenuously lavish welcome is planned; he will stay in Buckingham Palace, ride in a royal carriage, address some 600 MPs in a rare speech to both houses of parliament and be escorted to Manchester by David Cameron, the prime minister. Multibillion pound Chinese investment plans are set to be trumpeted as both sides hail a new “golden era” or “golden decade” in bilateral ties.

The crucial importance of the trip, though, lies beyond the imperial pomp that Mr Xi will be afforded and the deals his entourage may deliver. The visit is set to mark a fundamental recalibration in the UK’s great power relations. By pursuing an uncritical charm offensive toward Beijing in pursuit of commercial gain, London has opened a chasm between its foreign policy imperatives and those of the US, which retains deep suspicions of China over issues such as cyber espionage and territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Washington has already complained over the UK’s “constant accommodation” of China following London’s decision to join the Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) this year. The fervour of Mr Xi’s welcome this week is likely to intensify US concerns, though Washington may reflect that London’s pro-China tilt is in part a consequence of its own judgment that the UK does not reside at the heart of European affairs.

Mr Xi’s visit this week should indicate whether these considerable downpayments toward improved ties with China are likely to yield concrete returns. So far, the payback has amounted to little more than a pocketful of promises. Beijing says it plans to issue debt in renminbi, the Chinese currency, in London, earmarking the city as the pre-eminent financial centre for renminbi business in a non-Chinese timezone. It also plans to open more links between the London Stock Exchange and counterparts in China, preparing the way for a potential interchange of portfolio investment flows. In addition, well over 100 business deals are expected to be signed.

The UK is taking a gamble in seeking a “golden decade” of ties with China. Sharp differences between the two countries’ political systems, diplomatic alliances and attitudes toward human rights suggest that no matter how
well choreographed the current mood of bonhomie may be, future ruptures are virtually assured. Nevertheless, the size of the potential commercial opportunity is such that the UK is justified in rolling out the reddest of red carpets for the Chinese Communist leader this week.