The Prime Minister’s trip will follow the start of the “Brexit” process, which is scheduled to be underway before the end of March, and it is expected the UK will be looking at creating its own trade agreement with China.
Under May’s predecessor, David Cameron, China and the UK entered what both sides still refer to as a “golden era” of cooperation.
Chinese Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming said he believes this “era” will continue even after the UK divorces itself from the European Union.
“Britain has shown its determination to transform itself into a ‘Global Britain;’ similarly, China has been making efforts to promote an ‘open economy’ globally. The two countries can be the front runners in the area of anti-protectionism in international trade. The China-proposed ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative is highly compatible with Britain’s idea of ’embracing the world,’ under which, the two countries can have more comprehensive cooperation.”
Some have suggested that Brexit may end up creating challenges for Chinese authorities when it comes to prioritizing its trade policy initiatives, as the EU is China’s top trading partner, while the UK is currently the 5th largest trading partner within the EU.
Some experts, such as Professor Feng Zhongping from the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said it is possible for the Chinese government to balance its relationship.
“Both the EU and Britain are very important trade partners to China. China will play close attention to Britain’s negotiation process with the EU. China may get a better sense of what Britain wants from the negotiations during May’s visit. Chinese authorities have shown their support to the European integration whether Britain leaves or not; and China would like to see a prosperous and stable EU, which could benefit all parties.”
Observers are also suggesting that with the UK’s divorce from the European Union which is due to occur within the next two years, Theresa May’s trip to China is likely to involve her government viewing its support of the Chinese government’s “Belt and Road” initiative as a high priority. – CRI
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The 68th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China.
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily