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UK has jeopardised post-Brexit FTA deal with us by sending warship to South China Sea, threatens China

Beijing – ‘The United Kingdom has committed a blunder by sending a warship to the South China Sea. This patrolling in the South China Sea could adversely hit the United Kingdom’s efforts to enter into a Free Trade Agreement with China after its exit from the European Union or the Brexit. Therefore, the United Kingdom should take immediate corrective action,’ threatened the Chinese foreign ministry. China is emerging as the largest trade partner of the United Kingdom. This increases the gravity of the Chinese threat.

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HMS Albion, an amphibious warship of the UK Navy travelled through the South China Sea last week. Albion with a deployment of the British Royal Marines travelled through the marine region very close to the maritime limits of the Paracel Islands. China had criticised the voyage of this British warship through the South China Sea. The Chinese foreign ministry had criticised the act saying that it has absolute rights over the entire region and that the voyage of the British warship is an act of incitement. At the same time, China had also alleged that the voyage of the British warship was a violation of the international laws.

Within a few hours of these accusations, Hua Chunying, the spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry issued a stern warning to the United Kingdom. ‘The United Kingdom which has announced of making efforts to create a Golden Era of cooperation with China has dishonoured the Chinese cooperation. This British action will certainly have a direct effect on the bilateral relations’, warned Chunying. ‘At the same time, the United Kingdom should recognise the importance of its relations with China and correct its mistake’, was the warning issued by her reminding the United Kingdom of the trade relations between the two countries.

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A Chinese mouthpiece lashed out at the United Kingdom within hours of the warning issued by Chunying. The mouthpiece also accused the United Kingdom of having forgotten the cooperation with China. President Xi Jinping had claimed, ‘Within a few months, the United Kingdom will exit from the European Union. To cope with the strain created by Brexit, China had announced the signing of a Free Trade Agreement with the United Kingdom. This free trade agreement will be extremely beneficial to the British economy’.

Despite this, the United Kingdom had put the future of its cooperation with China in jeopardy by sending a warship to the South China Sea, threatened the Chinese mouthpiece. China has claimed complete sovereignty over the entire South China Sea region. It is also threatening to disallow entry to foreign vessels through this region without its permission. Since the last few weeks, ships and aircrafts travelling through this region are consistently being threatened by the Chinese navy. This has cast uncertainty over the security of freight movement worth $3 trillion through the region.

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