Beijing’s ambassador to London Liu Xiaoming has claimed that the Chinese coronavirus has brought the United Kingdom and the communist state closer together.
Ambassador Liu made the comments had a webinar for the Asia House think tank. Stating that the UK and China are working on a vaccine, he said: “Our two countries are sharing information and experience, conducting joint scientific research… President Xi [Jinping] and Boris Johnson expressed support for the scientists of the two countries to work together on this very important area.”
“I’ve been here as ambassador for more than ten years, and I’ve never seen our top leaders have such intensive communications in such a short time,” Mr Liu said in comments reported by The Times on Thursday. “I am confident that China and the UK will emerge from this test with a more mature and robust relationship.”
Mr Liu made the remarks amidst a climate of growing domestic pressure on the British government to re-evaluate its ties with communist China following the outbreak of the coronavirus. Reports claim that China was aware of the infectious nature of the Wuhan-origin outbreak for weeks before informing the World Health Organisation (WHO), severely impacting the international community’s ability to prepare for the spreading contagion adequately.
British think tank the Henry Jackson Society says that if it can be proven that China broke international laws by covering up the virus, Western nations could sue the communist state to the tune of trillions of pounds. More than 80 per cent of Britons want China to face an international enquiry over coronavirus.
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While Beijing’s ambassador is attempting to position his country as a friend of the United Kingdom, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has previously said the Chinese state might use their support in fighting the virus as leverage to pressure the UK into allowing Huawei to build part of the UK’s 5G network. He also warned Chinese interests could use the financial instability caused by coronavirus to buy out key British companies.
Tom Tugendhat, who is the chairman of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, is already overseeing a review into the attempted boardroom takeover of a UK-based — formerly British-owned — tech company by a Chinese investment firm owned by another Chinese company which is controlled by the governing Chinese Communist Party (CCP). There are concerns that the ownership of sensitive security software developed by chip designer Imagination Technologies could be turned over to other companies controlled by China, risking the security of British, American, and European communication networks.
Ambassador Liu Xiaoming also praised Huawei’s planned involvement in developing the UK’s 5G network, saying during the online video conference: “Once you have Huawei participating in this online technology the speed and quality of these meetings will be even better. I know Prime Minister Johnson has a very ambitious plan to have full coverage of the UK by 2025 in 5G. Huawei will be a big help in this.”
Dozens of Conservative Party MPs including David Davis and Sir Iain Duncan Smith have criticised Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision in January to grant the Chinese company — which Sir Iain branded “effectively a state-owned corporation in the People’s Republic of China under the Communist Party” — a contract to help build the UK’s 5G network.
International allies, particularly Five Eyes intelligent sharing partners Australia and the United States, have warned of the security risks of allowing Huawei into Britain’s infrastructure. The Americans have warned that the Chinese technology could allow for a “back door” into the UK’s telecommunications networks, granting the Chinese communist state access to Britain’s sensitive data, also potentially compromising the security of her allies.
While Huawei sceptics hope that the recent deception by the Chinese state over the coronavirus pandemic may prompt Prime Minister Johnson to reconsider the company’s involvement in the UK’s 5G network, a top civil servant at the Foreign Office said this week that the government had made a “firm decision” that will not be reconsidered.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 19, 2020