News ID: 271682
Published: 0323 GMT July 18, 2020

China warns UK over basing aircraft carrier in Pacific

China warns UK over basing aircraft carrier in Pacific
China’s Ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming

Beijing's ambassador to London warned Britain against stationing a new aircraft carrier in the Pacific, arguing it would be a "very dangerous move" in a newspaper interview published Saturday.

Liu Xiaoming, China's top envoy in the UK, told The Times that as London cuts trading ties with the European Union later this year, it should not "gang up with the United States on the Chinese" with military deployments, AFP reported.

"After Brexit I think the UK still wants to play an important role in the world," he told the paper.

"That is not the way to play an important role."

The Times reported this week that UK military planners have hatched plans to station the HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier in the Pacific as part of an international alliance to counter China.

The £3.1 billion ($3.9 billion, 3.4 billion euros) vessel is due to set sail on her maiden deployment next year, on a tour that includes the region amid concerns over freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

But the possibility of basing the carrier there more permanently comes as tensions between London and Beijing are rising over a host of issues, and as US-China relations also deteriorate markedly.

Britain on Tuesday bowed to sustained pressure from Washington and ordered the phased removal of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei from its 5G network despite warnings of retaliation from Beijing.

Liu Xiaoming called the move a "disappointing and wrong decision" and has predicted it will sap billions of pounds of investment in the UK from China's firms.

"Now all things [have] changed," he told The Times, adding Huawei was now "an example" to other Chinese companies.

Britain and China have also clashed over Hong Kong, after Beijing imposed a national security law in the former UK colonial territory.

London has said in response that it will offer Hong Kong residents a broader path to British citizenship, which could pave the way for more than three million Hong Kongers to move to the UK.

The security law punishes subversion, sedition, terrorism and foreign collusion with up to life in prison.

The Chinese envoy also warned it would be "very dangerous" for Britain to allow Hong Kong's protests to decamp to the country.

"That will be a serious problem," adding "we'll wait and see" what the consequences would be.


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