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Major Chinese paper warns Britain on commerce talks after warship sail-by

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – A British Royal Navy warship that sailed near islands within the South China Sea claimed by China risked hampering any talks a few free commerce settlement after Britain leaves the European Union, a serious Chinese state-run newspaper stated on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Military automobiles are seen within the loading dock of the HMS Albion, the British Royal Navy flagship amphibious assault ship, after the ship’s arrival at Harumi Pier in Tokyo, Japan August three, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

China and Britain agreed final month to have a look at the potential for reaching a “top notch” post-Brexit free commerce deal which, if struck, can be an vital political win for Britain’s Conservative government.

“China and the UK had agreed to actively explore the possibility of discussing a free trade agreement after Brexit. Any act that harms China’s core interests will only put a spanner in the works,” the official China Daily newspaper stated in an editorial.

Britain has lengthy courted China for a post-Brexit commerce deal and talked up a “golden era” in ties, though any formal talks couldn’t start till Britain formally leaves the European Union subsequent yr and sometimes take a few years to conclude.

The HMS Albion, a 22,000 ton amphibious warship, sailed close to the Paracel Islands claimed by China final month, Reuters reported on Thursday, prompting an offended response from China which known as it a “provocation”.

The Paracels are occupied completely by China but in addition claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.

China’s claims within the South China Sea, by means of which some $three trillion of shipborne commerce passes annually, are contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. Britain doesn’t have any territorial claims within the space.

The China Daily stated Britain was attempting to “curry favour” with the United States, which has been pushing for extra worldwide participation in freedom of navigation operations within the strategic waterway.

“Now that it is eyeing the U.S. as an economic lifeline after it exits the European Union – the United Kingdom is no doubt eager to seize whatever opportunity it can to get into Washington’s good books,” the English-language newspaper stated.

China’s Defence Ministry stated in its assertion responding to the Royal Navy motion that, with the joint efforts of China and Southeast Asian international locations, the scenario within the South China Sea had stabilised.

“Certain countries from outside the region pay no heed to this, and send military ships and aircraft to the South China Sea to foment trouble, creating problems where none exist, threatening regional peace and stability,” it stated.

China has repeatedly denounced what it views as interference from “countries outside the region” within the South China Sea, usually a message to the United States and its allies to remain out of the dispute.

Reporting by Adam Jourdan and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Paul Tait

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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