‘Britain is Washington’s sharksucker’: China Daily lets rip at UK-US relationship
Both the editorial, entitled ‘UK should try to have more than one friend,’ and Chinese government spokespeople were scathing in their assessment of both the UK’s current geopolitical position and its motivations for the exercise in which the 22,000-ton amphibious warship ‘HMS Albion’ entered Chinese territorial waters near the Xisha Islands (aka the Paracel Islands) in the South China Sea on August 31.
“China strongly urges Britain to stop this kind of provocation lest it should undermine the overall picture of bilateral ties as well as regional peace and stability,”said Hua Chunying, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Thursday. “We have lodged stern representations with the British side and expressed our strong dissatisfaction.”
The China Daily editorial claims that hundreds of thousands of commercial vessels, transporting somewhere in the region of $5 trillion work of goods, pass through the South China Sea annually, adding that, “Not a single one has found its freedom of navigation compromised.” However, China reportedly built roughly 290,000 square meters of new facilities including sensor arrays, radar installations and munitions depots in the region in 2017 indicating a far more entrenched, militarized position.
The author goes on to assert that no international law offers justification for a foreign military vessel to pass through another nation’s sovereign territory without permission.
Britain is merely falling into step with the US, whom it apparently sees as an “economic lifeline” as it prepares to exit the European Union, the editorial continues. “The United Kingdom is no doubt eager to seize whatever opportunity it can to get into Washington's good books.”
The China Daily then salts the wound by claiming that the “special relationship” between the two allies is now borderline defunct, given that the UK has surrendered its position as the US’ gateway to the European continental market before adding that this latest “freedom of navigation” exercise as a “spanner in the works” of free trade negotiations between the Chinese and British governments.
The editorial then ends with a caustic recommendation: “During her visit to Beijing early this year, British Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to intensify ‘the golden era’ of Sino-UK relations. To achieve that, the country should refrain from being Washington’s sharksucker in the South China Sea.”
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