Asia > Eastern Asia > China > China Says EU Membership UK's Choice, but Hopes for Strong Europe

China: China Says EU Membership UK's Choice, but Hopes for Strong Europe


Britain must decide for itself whether it stays in the European Union, but China hopes to see a strong Europe that contributes to the world economy, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday (26/05) ahead of Britain's June 23 EU membership referendum.

Beijing has long been worried about the implications of free trade-supporting Britain leaving the bloc and of any weakening of a grouping which it views as a vital counterbalance to the United States, diplomats say.

China has as well made little secret of its happiness with Britain's support to push an eventual China-EU free trade transaction.

Wang told a news conference about China's hosting of the Group of 20 nations this year that China did not interfere in other nations' internal affairs.

"Britain's direction is to be decided by the people of Britain. We, of course, will respect the decision made by the British people," he said.

But China would like to see Europe's integration process further develop, Wang added.

"We hope the EU can further strengthen coordination and create an EU that is stronger, stable and makes contributions to world peace and development," he said.

During a visit to Britain in October, Chinese President Xi Jinping told Prime Minister David Cameron he wanted to see a united European Union.

It was a rare albeit indirect mention of an extra country's planned vote by China, which regularly says its does not interfere in the internal affairs of other nations.

However it was quickly played down at the time by a Cameron aide, who said the European Union "wasn't a huge part of their discussion".

During Xi's trip, some 40 billion pounds ($58.8 billion) in business deals were signed, inclunding the financing of nuclear power stations.

Cameron is campaigning for Britain to remain a member of the 28-country bloc, which it joined in 1973.

Related Articles
  • Africa's Relationship With China Is Ancient History

    2017/07/02 In 2002 South Africa's Parliament unveiled a digital reproduction of a map - of China, the Middle East and Africa - that some speculated could be the initial map of the African continent. The Da Ming Hun Yi Tu - the Comprehensive Map of the Great Ming Empire - was drawn up around 1389 during the Ming Dynasty, according to historian Hyunhee Park.
  • Climate change laws around the world

    2017/05/14 There has been a 20-fold increase in the number of global climate change laws since 1997, according to the most comprehensive database of relevant policy and legislation. The database, produced by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the Sabin Center on Climate Change Law, includes more than 1,200 relevant policies across 164 countries, which account for 95% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • China Economic Overview GDP growth to slow to +6.5% in 2016

    2017/05/08 China Slowing growth and eroding policy buffers
  • The New China-Africa Relations: 4 Trends to Watch

    2016/08/07 This week, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) convened its initial summit since 2006. Chinese President Xi Jinping joined additional than 40 leaders of African nations for the massive conference in Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • Asia Economic Roundup: July 2016

    2016/07/18 Without a doubt Britain’s decision to abandon the European project will be remembered globally as a wake-up call for political elites around the world. It seems the people chose to go against immediate economic interest and accept an extra financial turmoil in order to address deeply seated social and identity issues. Although Asia’s exposure to the UK is relatively limited and this is not exactly a “Lehman Moment”, nonetheless we can expect a lively debate as policymakers in Asia look for an appropriate response to address the needs of vulnerable households.