Premier of the State Council
|Xi Jinping (Communist Party, since November 2012)
Li Keqiang (Communist Party, since March 2013)
|Size||9,596,960 km² (5,963,275 sq. miles)|
|Last meeting with Boris Johnson||None held to date|
|Relationship with the UK||Discussions between the UK and China have mainly been about enhanced trade and investment cooperation. British exports to China have grown by 57% since 2010 and the country could become the UK’s second-largest foreign investor by 2020.
China’s relationship with the West, including the US and European countries, has come under strain over issues of security and unfair trade. The Chinese company Huawei has developed the newest 5G technology, however many Western countries are reluctant to allow Huawei to enter its market over concerns the company is being used by the Chinese government for spying activities. This led former PM Theresa May to ban Huawei from providing ‘core’ parts of the UK’s 5G network. Many in the UK are, however, still not satisfied with this approach.
Both the EU and the US have also accused China of state-aid activities. This prompted US President Donald Trump to impose tariffs on many Chinese products. This has resulted in a big trade dispute between the two countries that has also effected other economies, including the UK.
|What China said on Brexit||“We hope that the UK and the EU can reach an early agreement through negotiation. A prosperous and stable Europe is in the interests of all parties.”
“Under the new circumstances, China will continue to maintain and grow its relations with the EU and the UK. We hope to see a united and stable EU and a stable and prosperous UK.”
“The EU and UK are both very important trading partners… for China. We hope (they) conduct smooth and successful negotiations which reach the kind of arrangement which is mutually agreeable and mutually beneficial. We ourselves expect to see that the negotiations produce a very stable and very good outcome for EU and UK. That’s what we want to see.”
“We wanted to look at how we could strengthen our trading and economic relationship and that China was open to a bilateral trade arrangement with the UK.”
|China’s priorities||China’s domestic priorities are to fight corruption and create a more streamlined government, by eliminating some ministries and making others bigger. It is currently also closely monitoring vast demonstrations in Hong Kong, whereby people are asking for more autonomy.
In terms of foreign policy, China monitors US President Trump’s trade measures closely and is keen to step up to become a global trade partner, including with the EU, following a slowdown in economy after decades of double-digit growth.
The EU has accused China of dumping practices and the discussion about whether China should get Market Economy Status is still ongoing.
Finally, China keeps a close eye on North-Korea’s nuclear activities.
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