British First Secretary of State George Osborne is visiting China for one week to strengthen the UK’s economic ties with the nation. On his dilly-dallying jaunt around the PRC, he has managed to give away 4.58 million USD to aid Chinese soccer development in Xinjiang, and also make a deal welcoming the Chinese state-owned nuclear industry to begin building and operating nuclear power stations in the UK.
In return for soccer training, Osborne is inviting Xinjiang Hualing Industry and Trade Group to invest in the north of England. The strategic investment deal pivots on three large real estate projects, which are predicted to create 10,000 new homes and 18,000 new jobs in Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield. The UK isn’t the first to strike deals with the Chinese building material distributor, back in August a cement firm from Georgia sold 65% of its shares in return for a 60 million USD investment.
On top of inviting Chinese state-owned nuclear industry to build power stations in Britain, Osborne has made arrangements that will allow state-owned banks to trade in London. In a speech at the Shanghai Stock Exchange, he declared that the UK would like to establish a formal link between London and Shanghai stock exchanges.
His message to Chinese investors at the Shanghai Stock Exchange was: “Our financial institutions should establish closer ties with China… No matter what the headlines say, no matter what challenges we face, we should not flee China.”
The nuclear power station planned for construction in the southwest of England is estimated to cost over 3 billion USD. British journalists are concerned that the Chinese state-owned nuclear industry has not been scrutinized sufficiently by foreign scientists, let alone independent experts in China.
Meanwhile, his visit to Xinjiang has been described as a “political coup for China” by the BBC with Osborne steering clear of the issue of human rights.
“I think it would be very strange if Britain’s only relationship with one fifth of the world’s population and the government that represents them was solely about human rights,” he said. “It doesn’t mean we don’t stand up for our values.”
Chinese student asks @George_Osborne to make it easier for students like her to get visas. "That is a very good question" he replies
— Robert Peston (@Peston) September 22, 2015
by Daniel Cunningham