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UK relations with China inquiry launched

07 December 2016

The Foreign Affairs Committee launches a new inquiry into UK-China relations.

Relations between the two countries have been growing in absolute and relative importance for the UK Government, with senior level visits between the countries and talk of a "golden era". The UK Government claimed that the October 2015 state visit to the UK by President Xi generated more than £40 billion in commercial deals, and established in a “new global partnership” between China and the UK.

The Committee's wide-ranging inquiry will consider the current state of UK-China relations. The Committee will consider the extent to which the UK and China's international and security interests align, and the UK's economic, financial and trade interests with China—including the effects of the UK leaving the EU.

Chair's comments

The Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Crispin Blunt MP, commented:

"China and the UK have history. Some of it appalling, such as the Opium Wars; some of it amazing, such as the creation and maintenance of modern Hong Kong. We have, however, critical future responsibilities as permanent members of the UN Security Council for global stability and security.

The terms of reference for this inquiry serve to underline the breadth of the relationship between the UK and China. As the UK works to leave the EU, the bilateral relationship between the UK and China is highly likely to grow significantly in absolute and relative importance.

We will examine how the UK's and China's economic and security interests and our values align or diverge.  This inquiry will consider the UK Government's approach to its relationship with this ancient and rising power and future policy options."

Terms of reference

The Committee will examine the British relationship with China and would welcome written evidence addressing, in particular:

  • The current state of UK China relations; HM Government's priorities in managing this relationship and the FCO's role in the policy
  • The UK's economic, financial and trade interests with China, including the effects of the UK leaving the EU on the UK-China relationship
  • China's role in the main international organisations alongside the UK, including the UN Security Council, other UN bodies and organisations, the G20 and WTO
  • The extent to which the UK and China's international and security interests align, including their approach to:
    • current security crises and disputes
    • the role and development of international law
    • the challenge of violence from non-state actors
    • climate change
    • alleviating poverty, and development
  • The extent to which the UK-China relationship affects, and is affected by, the UK's relationship with USA, Russia, Japan and ASEAN nations
  • China's foreign and security policies in East Asia and South East Asia, and how these interact with UK policies in the region
  • The opportunities and threats posed to the UK by China's long term relative and absolute growth as an economic and security power
  • The extent to which it is possible for the UK to help shape China as a positive contributor to global stability and security
  • UK 'soft power' in relation to China, including through education, tourism the British Council etc
  • The UK's engagement with China on human rights and wider values, including the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue
  • The FCO network of consulates in China, and plans to build a new embassy.

The deadline for written submissions to the inquiry is Friday 20 January 2017.

Further information

Image: PC

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