Does China heed Britain's wooing?


An indispensible partnership. That is how David Cameron and his Chinese hosts have agreed to dub their new relationship - forged at what the prime minister today called "warm and successful" meetings in the Great Hall of the People.

Speaking to a lunch of 500 UK and China-based business leaders, he risked speaking a few words in Mandarin designed to sum up the foundations of that partnership - translated the key phrase was "in both sides' interests"

This morning Mr Cameron began a day in Shanghai in a London black cab - the firm that makes them is now owned by the Chinese. He wants not just to secure more investment in Britain but to sell British products here, from building hospitals to sports cars to - unlikely as it may sound -exporting pig semen, worth an eye watering £45 million a year.

Are the Chinese noticing all this wooing? Business leaders insist they are, but one nationalist newspaper said today that their visitor should acknowledge that the UK is not a big power in the eyes of the Chinese. The editorial in Global Times concluded: "It's just an old European country, apt for travel and study."

The prime minister is out to prove them wrong.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

What a difference a day makes

In just 24 hours, Sir Malcolm Rifkind went from angry defiance to a grim-faced acceptance that he would have to quit his job as an MP and chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee.

Read full article


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  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    Fair play for him going out there. Read Digby Jones book and you can see where alot of this is coming from. It also gives you a flavour of the major business influences on the government.
    Is it just me or was it was like billy the fish meeting kung fu panda
    If the labour leader had gone Meepa (out of the muppets) meeting kung fu panda.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    This is an entrapment. China uses business opportunities to lure foreigners. After they catch the investments, then they forced the money and technology staying in China. China’s strategy is to lock up talents, technology and money within China through difficult immigration policies and currency exchanges. Once you are trapped, you have no choice but agreeing with anything they say.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    If we get out of the EU, we can kiss goodbye to any Chinese investment.
    I think UK socialists - many of whom supported Mao in the 1940/50s should learn the lessons of history and quit bleating about stuff they know nothing about - such as, the cost of freedom, the hubris of stiff morals.
    China's government is listening to its own people. I'm not listening to our government - why should they? ;-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    "he risked speaking a few words in Mandarin designed to sum up the foundations of that partnership"

    What he in fact said is "I am a doughnut"

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    China are trying to diversify away from the dollar and US government debt. They will buy up as many assets on the cheap that they can get their hands on. The UK is one of the most indebted countries in the world so is in a weak negotiating position. China can clearly see the opportunity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    We'll only 'woo' China if we have something genuinely valuable to offer - their economy isn't rising because they're fools!

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    Simple fact is and always has been is that countries only listen and respect other countries who are powerful either military or economically powerful.

    The UK are nothing anymore but shop keepers and drinkers, even italy has a bigger manufacturing base than us, france and germany both have bigger economies than us.

    The UK sold off its engineering base to foreign companies and shrunk it military.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    Has anyone asked if the British people want to woo China?

    I'm personally appalled at their records on human rights and employment conditions and will avoid giving them money as much as possible.

    I'd like to think there are still people in this country who recognise that some things in life are more important than cold hard cash - now we just need to get some of them in to power.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    how many public slaps in the face from china does cameron needs to convince him china's currency war will continue?

    if china wants a currency war by fixing the rate then we should tax their goods at what the floating exchange rate should be.

    just being a doormat has got cameron no where except a figure of fun in chinese press who openly insult the uk.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    NO, they will pay no attention what so ever.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    Very disrespectful, we build most of the worlds satellites, not to mention pioneers of DNA. The fact of the matter is if we had one percent of Chinas and U.S budget for research we would leave them standing. I think its about time the UK started patenting their discoveries, yes they should remain open source up to the point of sale, but we have to get some benefit from the breakthroughs we make.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    How helpful of the BBC to go knocking on the Brussels door for a comment on Cameron's speech. What answer did you expect to receive? Of course they will say it's "premature",... but that's hardly news, rather you're inventing the headlines again!

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    The Tories are in thrall to China, a country which has no respect for human rights, employee rights or consumer rights.

    Their fatcat pals probably want the same lack of rights for UK consumers / workers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Will China take any notice of Britain's wooing?

    They take notice and then ignore it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    "It's just an old European country, apt for travel and study."
    May not be fit even for that if the Tories have it their way, see your UK "stagnates" in Education report, and with the Tories sending Go Home vans and daily xenophobic messages, artificial insemination is all that the UK may be good for if the Tories carry on with their race to the bottom!

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    In the 19th century trade followed strength and was often interchangeable with colonization,now strength depends on trade which puts us at the mercy of external forces.

    None comes bigger than China and their commercial interdependence with us is too weak to be a form of containment unlike the USA.

    In educaton,investment,technology and military power we are uniquely vulnerable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    From Gordon Ramsay’s insulting comments on shark fin soup, I can predict Cameron’s businesses arrangements are going to be problematic. On the other hand, since Cameron has said sorry for meeting Dalai Lama, then soon enough Gordon Ramsay will have to apology too. I still can't get Ramsay logic of eating sharp fin a wrong doing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Much more sensible than our unfortunate interventions in Libya and Egypt.

    The communists are helpingf to fund and build our nuclear capacity along with a French nationalized company.Let`s hope they`re not marxists like Ed`s dad.

    The risk is our infrastructure and energy will be subject to foreign control,not necessarily benign.

    Our vulnerability is worrying.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Far East trade delegation - it's a game that can be played by the whole family! Good news mouth and trousers has managed to sell the BBC to the Chinese and they have taken an option on the NHS!

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    After the Tories have trashed the UK Economy & society, this is not a "partnership", with UK in DEBT by £1.4tn, thanks to the Tories, the UK needs China more than China needs UK, that is why Flashman & his mates have gone there with their extra large begging bowls, and willing to look the other way in all they do now wish to see. This once proud Nation degraded by Tories!


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