Theresa May visits Al Madina Mosque
Image Source: UK Home Office
Richard Bell

Life after Brexit: PM to revive Britain’s ‘golden relationship’ with China

The Prime Minister will visit China in the coming months in the hope of reviving the country’s “golden relationship” with Britain.

Last year, China extended an invitation for Theresa May to attend its One Belt, One Road summit this May – although Number 10 is yet to confirm if this is the event the PM will attend.

The trip will be the latest in a series of overseas visits as the UK prepares for life after leaving the European Union.

It also seen as an attempt by the PM to bolster relations with the Chinese, which have declined following George Osborne’s departure from his position as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Speaking to Sky News, former Treasury minister and Goldman Sachs chief economist Lord O’Neill, who Osborne brought into government to build the UK’s relations with China, said May needs to prioritise such a trade visit.

He commented: “We need to keep working on the golden relationship. It wasn’t that long in existence and it came on the back of some previous challenged relationship with China, so it is something that I think needs to be given more attention that it probably currently is.

“I think she should prioritise going to China.”

Speaking further, Lord O’Neill said ministers should seek new trading partners instead of focusing on older allies, adding: “It is understandable, because of the past, for some of our policy thinkers to think: ‘Let’s find our most similar structured political allies out there in Australia, Canada and NZ.’

“To really change our future trade performance we need to be giving the same kind of energy to more complex and newer places that are going to be more important, like China and India.”

Discussing the government’s Brexit plans earlier this month, the PM confirmed that China, the Gulf States and Brazil were all interested in forming new trade deals.

Further, she said the UK had launched discussions on trade ties with India, Australia and New Zealand.

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