Chinese Ambassador to London Liu Xiaoming Saturday urged London to abandon its plan to deploy an aircraft carrier in the Pacific, stressing that it would be a “very dangerous step” threatening to deteriorate the already tense relations between the two countries.
Liu Xiaoming said in an interview with The Times that “after Brexit” that took place in late January with Britain’s exit from the European Union, “I think the United Kingdom wants to play an important role in the world”.
“This is not a way to play an important role,” he added, warning London against “alliance with the United States” against China.
The Times newspaper indicated this week that the United Kingdom is considering deploying the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier in the Far East as part of an international coalition to confront China.
The aircraft carrier will participate in military exercises with Japan and the United States.
Relations between London and Beijing have been severely strained since China imposed Hong Kong’s National Security Law and the UK’s exclusion of giant Chinese telecom operator Huawei from the fifth-generation network, after pressure from Washington that lasted for months.
Liu Xiaoming warned that the exclusion of Huawei would lead to scarce Chinese investment in the UK.
The United Kingdom also condemned a clear violation of Hong Kong’s independence with China enforcing the National Security Act in the former British colony, which provides for punishment for “terrorist”, separatist, sabotage and foreign interference activities.
In response, London promised to expand immigration rights, enabling millions of city residents to obtain British citizenship, in a move condemned by Beijing, saying it was a “blatant interference” in its internal affairs.
Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Nathan Law told The Times that he went into exile in London after the law went into effect to “preserve a voice outside Hong Kong that can speak freely on behalf of the Hong Kong people,” stressing that it is a “strategic step” more pro-democracy than it is “A personal choice”.
“In Hong Kong, people no longer have freedom of expression and are threatened with intimidation, arbitrary arrest and the excessive use of force by the police,” he said, noting that “my presence is a warning… that Hong Kong as we know it is over”.