LONDON: Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson warned that Beijing was “developing its modern military capability and its commercial power” while announcing the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth was being deployed to Asia. The show-of-strength move and accusations that Beijing is disputing the waters in the region have prompted criticism from China.
UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has scrapped a trip to China, where he was to discuss economic and financial relations between the two countries, Bloomberg reports, citing an unnamed government official. According to the outlet, the list of topics on the agenda included a planned stock market connection and setting a date for the UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue, which was earlier delayed. Hammond was to have a number of meetings with Chinese officials, including Vice Premier Hu Chunhua.
However, the Treasury has denied there had been any confirmed visit at all.
“The chancellor is not traveling to China at this time. No trip was ever announced or confirmed”, its spokesperson said.
The Guardian reported that their sources had confirmed the Defence Secretary’s “clumsy and undiplomatic language had caused real upset”.