China says UK ‘clinging to the past’ with FM speech
China on Wednesday slammed a speech by Britain’s foreign secretary that warned Beijing against any attack on Taiwan and raised human rights concerns, accusing London of “clinging to the past”.
Asked about the set-piece foreign policy address delivered by James Cleverly on Tuesday, China’s foreign ministry said Britain was “holding outdated scripts and reciting old lines”.
Spokesperson Mao Ning said London should “stop making groundless accusations against China and interfering in China’s internal affairs, and do more to contribute to the development of China-UK relations, as well as to world peace and stability”.
“Eventually, it can only get further and further away from the progress of the times,” she added.
“China urges the British side to be careful in words and deeds.”
Cleverly’s speech came as Britain seeks to reset its foreign policy priorities after its departure from the European Union, with a “tilt” towards Asia.
The minister warned China against any attack on Taiwan, telling Beijing it risked triggering domestic and global turmoil if it failed to uphold its international obligations.
“A war across the (Taiwan) Strait would not only be a human tragedy, it would destroy world trade worth $2.6 trillion, according to the Nikkei Asia,” he said.
“So it’s essential that no party takes unilateral action to change the status quo,” Cleverly added.
He also condemned Beijing’s alleged repression in the western Xinjiang region, where China is accused of widespread human rights abuses and detaining more than a million Uyghur and other Muslim minorities in re-education camps.
Beijing on Wednesday reiterated its longstanding denial of those claims.
“The Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang issues are purely China’s internal affairs, which tolerate no external interference,” Mao said.