China plays hard to get with Cameron

25 Apr



David Cameron and the new Chinese administration are yet to arrange an official meeting. This might not seem a controversial fact but French Prime minister Mr Hollande will today be treated to a red carpet welcome. Did the invite get lost in the post?  Unfortunately, it was never sent. The British relationship with China on the diplomatic front has been fading somewhat.  The UK has been on China’s back with reference to human rights which led to Wen Jibao to state that the UK need to stop “finger pointing”, it’s always been evident that China doesn’t respond well to any public humiliation. Now however China is the big stack bully and can act accordingly. Cameron’s meeting with the Dalai Lama was probably the tipping point for the Chinese as arranged meetings between British and Chinese officials were subsequently cancelled.

So what does all this mean  for the bilateral relationship? Well in real terms not an awful lot! The Uk is second to France for inwards investment from China and bi-lateral trade shall continue regardless of the drama. Two weekends ago saw the exhibition of Britain’s finest luxury exports at the Shanghai Grand Prix. This in response to the immense growth in demand for western luxury brands that the emerging Chinese wealth liberally spends its hard earned. Though this custom is the most sought after right now with French luxury goods and German Cars to compete with, the Uk could find itself side-lined in the sino-european relationship. Figure one exhibits the tight completion the UK faces from its neighbours.

 This “diplomatic freeze” is a move by China to remind the European states that the game has changed. Cameron’s feelings are an emotional artefact of China acting within its means. Previously any such defiance/silence from China would probably be met with a British equivalent but now the UK will just sheepishly wait for an invite.


3 Responses to “China plays hard to get with Cameron”

  1. jpt1g11 April 25, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

    David Cameron’s elder statesman view must be tiresome for the best of the government to handle at times. His stance regarding the EU really doesn’t befit him and he’ll be made to look stupid at some point I feel.

    Regardless of this, Cameron must realise that as much as the British government may disagree on the human rights violations, China is likely to remain a huge economic and, possibly soon, world power for the foreseeable future.

    It’s worth also reminding that these are human rights violations by Western standards. China’s primary concern since the 1980s has been the economic progress of the country, with the rights of the public secondary to this. Progress will need to be made on this front for China to be accepted properly by Western powers, but is free to dictate it’s own progress at the moment.

  2. samhemming April 28, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    A government does sometimes have to think big picture and make decisions that have unfortunate negative repercussion in pursuit of the greater good. However believing the Chinese defence for their human rights violations as only being so from a Western point of view in somewhat naïve.
    The point of human rights is that they are for all humans, not limited to a geographical or political area. Defending human rights violations as an issue of differing points of view is similar to saying that disagreeing with the Nazi’s persecution of Jews or other so-called ‘untermensch’ is simply an inability to see the situation from a social Darwinist point of view.

  3. na8g10 April 29, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    I have to agree with the sentiment that “China doesn’t respond well to any public humiliation”, probably more so than any other country. Their response to Cameron meeting with the Dalai Lama seems childish at best but it’s not that much of a surprise as economically speaking, the UK isn’t that important to China. Anonymity with the US (one of China’s biggest trading partners) has been common over the years but this tends to be changing to a small extent. For example, with the North Korea incident, after years of backing China have finally decided to back sanctions against them and events like this maybe show the growing relationship between the two. After looking into it deeper you could probably argue that they both see mutual benefits to appease one another, whereas with the UK, China doesn’t really have that need. Unlike the US, the UK isn’t that necessary to China in their quest to become a superpower, whereas the US with their economic might are vitally important to China. It’s more than likely that China is going to become a superpower in the near future, so for the UK a working relationship with China is necessary and a deal was struck not too long ago for a currency swap deal.

    However, despite the need for the UK to maintain a good relationship with China, I have to agree with samhemming. Cameron should be free to meet with the Dalai Lama without any backlash and call out China on human rights violations. Just because it’s China it shouldn’t mean that we should have to keep our mouths shut to appease them.

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