As the Chinese ambassador questions the delay, would cancelling Hinkley severely damage UK-China economic ties?


Originally published in City A.M.

The UK-China relationship will be hurt by the decision to delay and potentially halt Hinkley Point. The “Golden Era” of bilateral relations will suffer a setback, as China will perceive this decision as a loss of face. But while our short-term economic relationship will take a hit, there will be longer-term benefits. Our bilateral dealings have been conducted on unequal terms. China’s insistence on zero security safeguards at Hinkley Point contrasts with the fact that foreigners are forbidden from similar projects in its own energy sector. It asked for much more than it was willing to give. Theresa May’s government is also rightly prioritising British national interests in the face of a decade of Chinese cyber espionage. After a cooling off period, China will be back. It can only internationalise the renminbi through the City of London. In other words, China needs the UK as much as we need China, and we should not be scared to assert our position.

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