China warns Britain of ‘severe consequences’ should MPs ‘dance to the tune of the US’ by visiting Taiwan following Nancy Pelosi visit
- Zheng Zeguang, Chinese ambassador to UK, warned MPs not to visit Taiwan
- ‘Do not dance to the tune of the US,’ Zheng said at a conference in London today
- Comes after US Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island yesterday, sparking fury
- Beijing has ordered six days of war games that will blockade Taiwan in response
British MPs will face ‘severe consequences’ if they follow Nancy Pelosi‘s lead and visit Taiwan, China‘s UK ambassador has said.
Zheng Zeguang, speaking at a news conference in London today, told politicians ‘not to underestimate the extreme sensitivity of the Taiwan issue, and not to ‘dance to the tune of US’ by visiting.
Zheng spoke after Pelosi, US House Speaker, became the most-senior American politician to visit Taiwan in 25 years when she arrive on the island yesterday.
Zheng Zeguang, China’s ambassador to the UK, has warned British MP’s ‘not to dance to the tune of the US’ by visiting Taiwan (file image)
The move provoke fury from Beijing, which launched a huge series of war games in response that will surround Taiwan and effectively blockade it for several days.
Zheng’s comments also come amid rumours that Britain’s House of Commons’ Foreign Affairs Committee is planning a visit later this year.
Ministers could go to the island – which views itself as independent, but which Beijing views as a rebel province – in November or December, The Guardian said.
The committee has not confirmed whether or not the visit will take place.
Relations between the UK and China are at a low point after the pair clashed over Hong Kong – another region where Beijing is applying pressure.
Britain controlled Hong Kong from 1839 until 1997, when the territory was peacefully handed back to China under a ‘one country, two systems’ agreement.
Nancy Pelosi sparked fury in Beijing by visiting Taiwan this week, where she reaffirmed America’s ‘ironclad’ commitment to its ally
China will hold six days of military drills in response to the visit, which started Tuesday when anti-aircraft batteries on the mainland held live-fire exercises
Chinese troops open fire with anti-aircraft launchers at a military based in Fujian, which is the closest province to Taiwan
It meant that Hong Kong would officially be part of China, but would rule itself under a separate legal system.
But in 2020, after years of quashing pro-democracy protests, Beijing succeeded in forcing through a sweeping security law that brought Hong Kong under its control.
Britain protested, and offered visas to anyone who wanted to flee the country and come to the UK – angering Beijing.
Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, who are vying to replace Boris Johnson as the next Prime Minister, have also both talked a tough line on China.
Sunak recently branded the country ‘the largest threat to Britain and the world’s security and prosperity this century’ while pledging to ban the Confucius Institute – an educational institution accused of pushing state propaganda – from universities.
Meanwhile Truss has a record on speaking out against China’s human rights abuses as foreign secretary and has allied herself with Tories who have a history of bashing Beijing, such as Iain Duncan Smith.
Zheng addressed those comments today, urging both candidates to ‘be realistic’ about the fundamentals of bilateral relations.
The People’s Liberation Army will hold live-fire sea and air drills in these locations around Taiwan – some of which cross its international waters – between Thursday and Sunday