The front page of the Financial Times this morning carries an amazing splash with a rare diplomatic row between the highest levels of the British and American governments — the UK government stands accused of “constant accommodation” of China as a rising power.
The British government was congratulating itself on Thursday on its attempt to join the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, which was set up by Beijing, but it’s provoked an angry reaction from across the Atlantic.
Here’s the FT:
A senior US administration official told the Financial Times that the British decision was taken after “virtually no consultation with the US” and at a time when the G7 had been discussing how to approach the new bank.
“We are wary about a trend toward constant accommodation of China, which is not the best way to engage a rising power,” the US official said.
British officials were publicly restrained in criticising China over its handling of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests while Mr Cameron has made it clear he has no further plans to meet the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader — after a 2012 meeting that prompted a furious response from Beijing.
The Treasury issued a denial, saying that the US had been appropriately consulted. The spat is a pretty rare occurrence, as usually the UK and US are close allies, at least refraining from public criticism.
Both PM David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne have visited China with ambitious plans to boost financial ties in recent years. The effort has come under attack from both sides — when Cameron visited the country in 2013, a furious editorial in China’s state-owned Global Times newspaper condemned his meeting with the Dalai Lama and suggested the UK was unimportant to China.
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