Britain musn’t ‘pitchfork away’ investment from China says Johnson

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Boris Johnson has said Britain will not “pitchfork away” investment from China, despite ongoing differences with Beijing over human rights and Hong Kong.

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Ahead of the global investment summit in London, the prime minister said China would continue to play a “huge role” in Britain’s economic life for years to come.

At the same time, he stressed that the government would not be “naive” about allowing China access to Britain’s critical national infrastructure (CNI) such as nuclear power or 5G communications networks.


“I’m not going to tell you that the UK government is going to turn away every offer from China,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg.

“China is a huge part of our economic life and will be for a long time – for our lifetimes.

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“But that doesn’t mean we should be nave in the way we look at our critical natural infrastructure – you mention nuclear power, you mention 5G technology – all these are legitimate concerns for any government .

“We should be careful about how we handle our CNI and how we handle FDI (foreign direct investment) from China…. that’s why we brought some laws that we have.”

His remarks came after China reacted sharply to a new defense deal signed by Britain with the United States and Australia aimed at countering Beijing’s growing military assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific.

Mr Johnson said that despite such differences, Britain’s trade with China continues to grow.

“I am not far from China. China is a great country, a great civilization,” he said.

“Despite all the difficulties, despite all the difficult talks about the Dalai Lama or Hong Kong or the Uighurs – where we will stick to our ideas – the expansion of trade with China has been going on for a very long time.”

Mr Johnson will not draw on whether he expects Chinese President Xi Jinping to take part in next month’s Cop26 international climate change talks in Glasgow.

But he acknowledged he faced some “extremely difficult” negotiations if they reached an agreement that would raise global temperatures by 1.5C.

“I think the cop was always going to be extremely tough,” he said.

“We want people to focus on the nationally determined contribution in reducing their C02, those harsh pledges.

“We need to survive 1.5, we need to limit the rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees by the end of the century.

“We think from the commitments we are seeing that we can (it) but we will need some real action from the participants in Glasgow.”


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