Britain’s Chancellor recently published an article in The Guardian urging, with what seems a somewhat desperate tone, closer ties between the China and the UK.
Osborne’s letter was published ahead of his five day tour of China as he makes preparations for Xi Jinping’s state visit to the UK next month (yes, just weeks after visiting the US).
Hoping to usher in a “golden decade” of diplomatic relations, Osborne says he will be “travelling around China promoting the best of British culture… offering its firms and authorities support from our world-leading financial services industry.”
The Chancellor also downplayed the recent slump in Chinese stock markets and skepticism over the future outlook for China’s economy: “Over the last 15 years, China has surpassed the UK, France, Germany and Japan to become the world’s second largest market. Its growth has been phenomenal. Even now, it is creating an economy the size of Australia every two years.”
In a speech earlier this morning, Osborne also had some advice for his Communist Party hosts. “When you look at what China is doing at the moment, I think that the message that I would say to China is: ‘Carry on with the reform, carry on with the change you are making’.”
Osborne’s trip will see him travel to four Chinese cities, Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Urumqi in the far north west. On Monday he is due to meet senior Chinese leaders in Beijing while on Tuesday he will visit the Shanghai stock exchange, the epicenter of the summer’s market chaos.
A few years ago diplomatic ties between the two countries were put on ice after David Cameron held an audience at Downing Street with the Dalai Lama, with the UK becoming the target of some scathing editorials from the Global Times.
By Dominic Jackson