Warn­ing overHink­ley at­tracts at­ten­tion

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By CECILY LIU in Lon­don cecily.liu@ mail.chi­nadai­lyuk.com

China’s de­sire for the United King­dom­gov­ern­ment to quickly ap­prove the Hink­ley Point nu­clear power plant project at­tracted wide­spread at­ten­tion fromtheUK­me­di­aand­nu­clear in­dus­try ex­perts, who hope the deal will go ahead.

Chi­nese Am­bas­sador Liu Xiaom­ing warned that bi­lat­eral ties stand at a “cru­cial his­tor­i­cal junc­ture” over the de­fer­ral of an 18-bil­lion-pound ($23.45 bil­lion) nu­clear project.

“I hope the UK will keep its door open to China and that the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment will con­tinue to sup­port Hink­ley Point — and come to a de­ci­sion as soon as pos­si­ble so that the project can pro­ceed smoothly,” Liu wrote in a com­men­tary in the Fi­nan­cial Times onMon­day.

In re­sponse, the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment re­asserted its in­ten­tion to main­tain close ties with China.

“As we’ve al­ready made clear, this de­ci­sion is about a huge in­fra­struc­ture project and it’s right that the new­gov­ern­ment care­fully con­sid­ers it,” the gov­ern­ment said in a state­ment on Tues­day.

“We co­op­er­ate with China on a broad range of ar­eas from the global econ­omy to in­ter­na­tional is­sues and we will con­tinue to seek a strong re­la­tion­ship with China.”

The plant was ap­proved in July by the board of France’s EDF, its main in­vestor af­ter a num­ber of de­lays. If it goes ahead, China Gen­eral Nu­clear Power Cor­po­ra­tion is set to in­vest 33 per­cent in the project.

SirKeith Bur­nett, vice-chan­cel­lor of theUniver­sity of Sh­effield, which is in­volved with the Nu­clear Ad­vanced Man­u­fac­tur­ing Re­search Cen­ter, said it is “not the right way to do diplo­macy” to “de­fer, wob­ble, de­lay and re­view in­def­i­nitely”.

Liu’s ar­ti­cle also at­tracted wide­spread at­ten­tion from the Bri­tish me­dia.

Si­mon Jack, business ed­i­tor of the BBC, wrote in a com­men­tary that if the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment backed out of the Hinkely deal, it “will clearly take the shine off the ‘golden era’ of col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the two coun­tries”.

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