Me­dia slams Bri­tish fears over Chi­nese in­vest­ment

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

CHINA “can­not tol­er­ate” ac­cu­sa­tions that its in­vest­ment in a Bri­tish nu­clear plant threat­ens that coun­try’s se­cu­rity, state me­dia said after Lon­don sur­pris­ingly de­layed the gi­ant project.

Bei­jing has a one-third stake in the plan to build Bri­tain’s first nu­clear plant for decades at Hink­ley Point in south­west Eng­land, along with French com­pany EDF, which gave the scheme the go-ahead last week.

The deal had been seen as a cor­ner­stone of a “golden era” of Chi­ne­seBri­tish ties pushed by then-prime min­is­ter David Cameron and fi­nance min­is­ter Ge­orge Os­borne. But the new ad­min­is­tra­tion un­der Theresa May said last week that it would sus­pend a de­ci­sion to build the plant un­til the au­tumn.

Bri­tish me­dia said the move was a sign that Ms May took a more scep­ti­cal view on ties with China than her pre­de­ces­sor.

Tian Dong­dong, a writer with China’s of­fi­cial Xin­hua news agency, said in a com­men­tary that the de­lay “adds un­cer­tain­ties to the ‘Golden Era’ of China-UK ties”, adding that fu­ture Chi­nese in­vest­ment in Bri­tain could be sus­pended un­less the deal went ahead.

Fears over “China plant­ing back doors” dur­ing con­struc­tion to con­trol crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture had a “ground­less­ness and sci-fi scent”, the ar­ti­cle added.

“China can wait for a ra­tio­nal Bri­tish gov­ern­ment to make re­spon­si­ble de­ci­sions, but can­not tol­er­ate any un­wanted ac­cu­sa­tion against its sin­cere and be­nign will­ing­ness for win-win co­op­er­a­tion,” it said.

The project has been crit­i­cised for com­mit­ting Bri­tish tax­pay­ers to pay­ing above-mar­ket rates for elec­tric­ity for decades to come.

For­mer Bri­tish cabi­net mem­ber Vince Cable, who worked with Ms May when she was home sec­re­tary, told me­dia at the week­end that at the time she had been “anx­ious” about Chi­nese in­volve­ment.

He told Sky News that when Mr Os­borne was in charge of the econ­omy Bri­tain had been “uniquely open to Chi­nese in­vest­ment”. –

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