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

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Britain might have harm its possibilities of sealing a post-Brexit free commerce cope with China, a serious Chinese state-run newspaper warned on Friday after a Royal Navy warship sailed near islands within the South China Sea claimed by China.

FILE PHOTO – A employee adjusts British and China (R) nationwide flags on show for a signing ceremony on the seventh UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue “Roundtable on Public-Private Partnerships” at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China September 21, 2015. REUTERS/Andy Wong/Pool/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, could 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 mentioned 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 12 months and usually 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 every year, are contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. Britain doesn’t have any territorial claims within the space.

The China Daily mentioned Britain was making an attempt to “curry favor” 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 mentioned.

“FOMENT TROUBLE”

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

“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 mentioned.

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

Adding to the strain, China’s Foreign Ministry late on Thursday mentioned Britain ought to cease “gesticulating” concerning the former British colony of Hong Kong and interfering in China’s inner affairs, after Britain issued its newest six-monthly report on the town.

In it, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt famous the “growing concern about the extent of freedom of speech in Hong Kong, particularly in the context of discussion of independence”, whereas additionally stating that Britain doesn’t assume independence is a sensible or fascinating choice.

China mentioned the difficulty of independence had nothing to do with freedom of speech and was a severe violation of China’s structure and Hong Kong legislation.

“It fundamentally is not within the scope of freedom of expression,” the ministry mentioned. “The central government has zero tolerance for ‘Hong Kong independence’ and will never indulge it.”

Editing by Paul Tait & Simon Cameron-Moore

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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