Britain’s Hammond admits warship threat complicates talks with China
UK Finance Minister Philip Hammond admitted on Thursday that talk by the defense minister of deploying a warship in the Pacific had complicated the relationship with China. Hammond was asked on BBC radio if the relationship had been damaged by Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson’s threat to deploy a new aircraft carrier to the Pacific. “It is a complex relationship and it hasn’t been made simpler by Chinese concerns about royal navy deployments in the South China Sea,” Hammond said. China had canceled trade talks with Hammond because it was upset about Williamson’s speech, Reuters said, citing media reports. “This is entirely premature, the aircraft carrier isn’t going to be at full operational readiness for another couple of years,” the finance minister said. “No decisions have been made or even discussed about where its early deployments might be,” Hammond added.