Friday, 25 October 2013 06:59

UK-China: when economical benefits overlook political values

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Visits by British Chancellor George Osborne and London Mayor Boris Johnson to China spark off interesting debates either within the UK and abroad.

The chance of renewing their relations was given by the changed visa policy for Chinese nationals, especially for selected business leaders and travel agents who will be allowed to enjoy a 24hours “super priority” visa service or, eventually, the very same UK visas used for the EU Schengen citizens. Such a significant breakdown of immigrant barriers clearly aims at promoting increasing Chinese investments in Britain, in order to feed this policy back into the domestic economy. As matter of fact, Osborne sharply tried to attract Chinese tourists' bulging pockets of money, going even too far according many analysts. For instance, the attempt of involving Chinese capital in British nuclear sector, led the Chancellor to affirm the likely opportunity to see Chinese as the major owners of a nuclear power station in Britain.

The Guardian sustains that even though the independent economical and political power might be put at stake in favour of a country whose values and practices are at odds with Britain's, the common statesmen sense is to remain tied to China, recognized not only as the top trading partner for most nations on earth and the biggest holder of foreign reserves, but also, the workshop of the world.

What makes the British twist even more significant is the fact that UK is not planning any other meetings with the Dalai Lama. The last year Cameron's visit to the Tibet's spiritual leader visibly dampened the relations with Beijing.

 

In addition, the presence of two of the main conservative members created plenty of speculations. The Johnson's attitude was largely perceived as aimed at upstaging Osborne. Despite denials, the Mayor of London's doubts over the visa extension functionality and the tweeted photo (below) have been read as further tries to appear dominant respect to the Chancellor.

Finally, economic factors seem to dominate the political agenda even in the international field. In fact, the internal economy measures will expect the extension of the austerity hitting the British fund at least for the next seven years, while foreign affairs are headed to disregard contradictory principles on behalf of wealth. It remains to be seen whether or not British will end up with seeing this policy worthy.

 

Matteo Di Battista

Aises Young Ambassador - UK