|Xi Jinping (Communist Party, since 2013)
Li Keqiang (Communist Party, since 2013)
|Size||9,596,960 km² (5,963,275 sq. miles)|
|Last meeting with Theresa May||20 December 2016 with Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi, President Xi’s foreign policy adviser|
|Relationship with 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.
The relationship came under pressure however following one of Theresa May’s first domestic decisions after becoming Prime Minister, namely to pause Hinkley Point, a nuclear power station in Somerset. This angered many Chinese investors.
The two countries also discussed security and tackling climate change.
|What China said on Brexit||Hua Chunying, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson on 24 June 2016
“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.”
Prime Minister Li Keqiang on 27 June 2016
“Just a few days ago, the UK voted to leave the EU in a referendum. This is already making an impact on the international financial markets and adding to the uncertainties in the world economy…European countries are important partners for China. 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.”
Liu Xiaoming, Chinese Ambassador to the UK on 9 August 2016
“Right now, the China-UK relationship is at a crucial historical juncture. Mutual trust should be treasured even more. 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.”
Shi Yaobin, Vice Finance Minister on 10 November 2016
“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.”
President Xi Jinping regarding meeting with Theresa May on 5 September 2016
“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.
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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