Without waiting for the dust to settle, Chinese state media has weighed in on Britain’s decision to leave the EU, declaring the situation lose-lose for both sides.
In the editorial titled “Britain steps backward as EU faces decline,” the hawkish Global Times writes that Britons were guilty of showing a “losing mind-set” and “may become citizens of a nation that prefers to shut itself from the outside world.”
The Leave advocates had been calculating whether their pensions were guaranteed or migrants were encroaching on their neighborhood. Bigger topics such as the country’s aspirations or its global strategy were overlooked.
Britain has been a special member of the EU. It has not joined the eurozone, nor adopted the Schengen agreement. France and Germany have been resentful of Britain’s half-hearted presence in the EU. In a sense, Britain’s exit may be a relief for both sides.
But not content just to belittle the results of Britain’s referendum, the paper then took aim at the EU itself, arguing that the unprecedented decision by one of its members to leave represented “the general decline of Europe.”
The Chinese language edition of the paper got to the presses even earlier, publishing a sorrowful piece which lamented Brexit and mocked the state of Western-style democracy, before proudly stating that China had everything figured out. “In terms of productivity, China has won,” it read. “In terms of resilience, China will win.”
An estimate doing the rounds is that it will require 500 British negotiators and 10 years before a much hoped for free trade deal with China emerges, suggesting that the economic case for a Leave vote was never as strong as its advocates had claimed.
Hua Chunying, spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, stated earlier that China respected the choice of the British people. “A prosperous Europe is in the interests of all parties and China is willing to keep co-operating with Britain and is fully confident in China-EU ties,” she said.