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UK shooting itself in the foot politicizing deal: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-12-01 20:46

The national flags of China and the United Kingdom flutter at World Expo Park in Shanghai on May 31, 2010. [Photo/IC]

Rishi Sunak, the UK prime minister, is going in a direction in which concern for geopolitics takes precedence over everything when he said that the "golden era" of UK-China ties was over. In other words, he has obviously let a Cold War mentality dictate economic relations with China.

The announcement on Monday that the UK government would invest £700 million ($839 million) for a 50 percent stake in the nuclear plant, known as Sizewell C, means that Chinese investment in the project will be squeezed out since the other 50 percent investment will come from EDF, the French state utility, which will construct the plant.

There are a number of nuclear infrastructure projects in the United Kingdom, in which France, China and the UK have been cooperating on the basis of mutual benefits and also for the construction of safe and advanced nuclear stations to quench UK's thirst for power and reduce its reliance on gas.

It is reported that the UK government will pay Chinese State-owned power group China General Nuclear over £100 million for it to exit the £20 billion Sizewell C nuclear energy project.

If Chinese parties are forced to withdraw from all nuclear projects in the UK, the money the UK government is to pay for its violation of the contracts will be a lot. In addition to the money it will have to raise for the gap left over by the exit of Chinese parties, the UK government is making things very difficult for itself unnecessarily.

Furthermore, by unilaterally breaking contracts it has signed with China, the UK government is not only politicizing economic affairs but also sabotaging its own reputation.

By decoupling with China in terms of economic cooperation, the UK is setting a bad example in observing the norms in international relations and doing a disservice to the maintenance of sound global industry and supply chains.

The hostilities between Russia and Ukraine have triggered a fundamental rethink in European countries on foreign-controlled energy infrastructure. But the UK's move is not about protecting its energy infrastructure and strengthening its energy security. Rather, it is using that as a justification for politicizing and essentially weaponizing the energy deal.

Chinese leaders have reiterated on different occasions about its peaceful rise, and that it pursues economic cooperation with all countries on the basis of equality and mutual benefits.

Those countries, which choose to unilaterally decouple with China economically and politically simply because they still harbor a Cold War mentality and politicize economic affairs, will only shoot themselves in the foot.

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