China warns Hinkley Point decision could sour UK relations

Britain's decision over whether to proceed with the construction of the £18bn Hinkley Point project could impact its future relationship with China.

The Chinese ambassador said the two countries were at a ‘crucial historical juncture’. Liu Xiaoming, wrote in the Financial Times that he hoped the UK would ‘keep its door open’ to China.

China has a one third stake in Hinkley Point with French energy firm EDF making up the remainder.

Urging a quick decision, Xiaoming outlined his country's experience in managing nuclear plants and Britain's energy needs.

Prime Minister Theresa May caused shock when she ordered a last-minute halt to finalising the project just hours after the EDF board gave it the final go-ahead in July. 

In his article, the ambassador insisted that the safety and security of the plant was ensured by the UK's regulatory authorities and China's record of 30 years of safe operation of nuclear facilities.

He said Chinese companies had invested more in the UK than in Germany, France and Italy combined in the last five years and this was partly down to mutual trust and respect between the two countries.

He said the mutual trust was the foundation for bilateral co-operation.

"Right now, the China-UK relationship is at a crucial historical juncture," he said.

"I hope the UK will keep its door open to China and that the British government will continue to support Hinkley Point - and come to a decision as soon as possible so that the project can proceed smoothly."

He added that it had not been easy for the two countries to come this far, saying: "As long as both sides cherish what has been achieved and continue to expand and deepen our co-operation across the board, bilateral relations will maintain their strong momentum and work for the well-being of both the Chinese and British people."

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