China-UK Relationship Policy Brief

Subject: Political
Type: Informative Essay
Pages: 10
Word count: 2640
Topics: Political Science, China, International Relations

The existing relationship between the People’s Republic of China and the UK

After America, China is the second non-EU important partner to the United Kingdom accounting for more than 7 percent of UK imports in 2014. Since 2004, trade in goods has been dominating UK trade with people republic of China accounting for more than 95 percent of the UK trade imports from China. 

However, a new relationship with China is not cemented as UK thinks that it will affects its relation with Europe and America. China’s assertive approach in pursuing territorial claims in the south and east China seas has caused concerns in the United States among other Asian allies (Kauders, 2016). The UK must look for ways of navigating between demand old friend and ally and best new friend. It may be hard for the US to trust a find committed to forming a relationship with China (Geyer & Shen, 2016). In an open and dynamic economy, the United Kingdom is going to be an attractive destination for investment and a trading partner, even after leaving EU (, 2018). The UK should start devoting its energies towards cooperation with China where both the countries will benefit without imperiling our national interest or discarding our principles. 

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The UK is hesitant to join hands with China because of several reasons. The first one is cyber espionage since it is claimed that chin carries out dangerous cyber attacks against British administration, attacks, and media and companies that operate defense, aerospace, telecoms, and energy (, 2018). Such attack is supposed to acquire political intelligence, business secrets, technology d others and manipulate infrastructure (Geyer & Shen, 2016). Moreover, the UK has also been perceiving China as hard to negotiate with. Some Chinese officials claim that they do not like the win-win language with foreigners but prefer ‘we win, you lose.’ However, most of these are unsubstantiated claims. 

China’s economic importance to the UK

Over last 20 years, the china’s prominence in the global economy has greatly changed (Geyer & Shen, 2016). The Gross domestic product of China has been growing at a rate of 10 percent per year from 1993-2013 with 2.3 percent global average. China is now the second largest economy in the world after the United States. 

Many areas of common interest between china and Britain exist which should bring corporation in various fields. The United Kingdom, with the financial services expertise, for instance, could help in delivering green finance (, 2018). The countries are currently working in cooperation to deliver on green finance since they are co-chairs of Green finance study that was formed under the G20. 

There is also another opportunity—belt and road initiative which is made up of the 21st-century maritime silk road and silk road economics belt proposed by Peoples Republic of China in 2013 with the goal of building investment, trade, and infrastructure network that connects Asia with African and Europe beyond and along ancient trade routes. 

The nature of the UK-China trade relationship

Chinese investments in the UK economy

The holdings of China have increased in the past two years contradicting the concerns that China’s golden era of investing in the United Kingdom is close (Kauders, 2016). Despite the fact that there has been a decrease in the outward investment coming from China to UK (stemming partly from Beijing’s strict policies on the capital controls and Brexit) figures have revealed that Chinese owned companies in the UK have been enjoying triple-digit growth (, 2018). Best performing 30 companies from china with a total turnover of 9.8 billion are employing approximately 20000 individuals in the UK; and expanded their revenues by 174 percent in the year 2017. 

The privately owned Chinese enterprises did better than the state-owned counterparts by reporting 210 percent increases in revenues, compared to 146 percent. The UK is a target for trophy assets like football clubs. Several self-made millionaires in China have invited in English clubs insured by the president Xi Jing Ping desire to host 2030 world cup and passion for football. Lai Guochuan completed a 173 m takeover of West Bromwich Albion in 2017 while Guo Guangcheng bought Wolverhampton Wanderers. 

People-to-people links and challenges facing the relationship

In china, people are living under strict control from the communist government. The citizens are not free to carry out their activities and move freely from China to Britain. On the other hand, British people fear the idea of visiting the country that curtails free speech and freedom of expression (Geyer & Shen, 2016). This means that the relationship between UK and China is not developed. 

However, the United Kingdom can stop bashing China about human rights and recognizes that human rights can be promoted in the country with freed trade promotion. The visits of the prime minister to China should be an opportunity for Britain to provide a positive program for human rights—a program that will treat free trade as critical human right, to continue opening market give China a trading status of the most favored nation while maintaining an asylum and humane refugee policy. 

A free trade human rights program should not be taken to mean that the United Kingdom should be indifferent to human right violations in China. Steps needed to be taken by the UK and other nations to restrict the use of slave labor, politic prisoners, and young children in labor force. Use of sanctions targeting wrongdoers should be avoided; and never mentioned during the visit. 

The UK should make partnerships and coordinate more with other countries that respect human rights to press China on specific cases and issues relating to human rights. The United Kingdom should aim at setting the best example. The past several years have been problematic considering the fact that the UK has been part of wars considered illegal such as Iraq war (Geyer & Shen, 2016). The prime minster, therefore, should avoid dictating to the Chinese government, but try to raise the issue about the protection and provision of human rights – including press freedoms, online freedoms, and civil and political rights – for Chinese citizens and resident.

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Potential threats posed by the People’s Republic of China to the territorial integrity, security and political status of the Republic of China (Taiwan). 

Since the year 2012, China has become more assertive and aggressive in proximate waters with a determination to strengthen its resolve to reclaim land in the South China Sea (Garver, 2015). Chinas apneas to be increasing its activity close to Luconia shoals, about 60 miles to the north of Malaysia economic zone. The story is simple: China’s growth to become a global player has catalyzed it to explode the overseas interests.

China is currently building a military that will help it in fighting and winning wars. The white paper written by the country states that China endeavors to seize its strategy in the military struggle, plan proactively in the military struggle in all domains and directions and grasp any opportunity of accelerating military reform, building and development. China’s military is after going on defeating any challenges (Garver, 2015). The white paper emphases on the Chinese need to become a new blue water force protein the interest of the nation, a blue water navy is a modern force that can defend territorial claims, conduct global operations, and constitute a real challenge to the United States Navy. Such should serve as a warning to other countries; a warning that might increase tensions with South Korea, Japan, and the Philippines, a military built to fight wars will not hesitate at using force so that it can assert its sovereignty 

The white paper reflects a perception of different security threats, Japanese revision to security and military policy, external nations meddling in territorial disputes in South China Sea, uncertainty, and instability on the Korean peninsula, independence movements in both Tibet and Taiwan. The security interest of Beijing lies far away from home an across areas which require active presence of the military (Garver, 2015). The leadership of China wants to equip and train its forces so that it can meet the emerging perspectives of the Chinese security environment. 

The ambiguities that surround the Chinas actual military intentions and strength should cause the United Kingdom to devise a long-term strategy for Pacific instead of trying to use military deterrence strategy that is normally effective in combating imminent threats. The first storage UK and other nations can use its diplomatic overtures and enhance military corporation efforts to discourage China’s aggressiveness in the Pacific region (Garver, 2015). The current climate change deal shows potential for the United Kingdom to unite around solving common challenges and the cooperation spirit should extend to the security sphere. 

The second strategy should be ameliorating tensions in the Pacific area by the United Kingdom and the United States collaborating with countries in Asia such as Vietnam. The United Kingdom can coordinate and build on the recent initiatives of Japan towards building ASEAN military strategy in territorial disputes with China.  

For the united kingdom and its partners and allies in Asia, the aggressive efforts of China to assert its claims in East China and south Chinese sea, building ballistic messily capability, naval abilities to invade Taiwan have created a situation where the conflict between PRC and United Kingdom could take place and even escalate. Because of UK’s military and political leaders do not understand the Chinese ambitions and their nuclear thinking, there a reason for the worth of concern, a future conflict could escalate soon leading to nuclear conflict. 

China sees the United Kingdom and US as direct competitors to its regional ambitions. It is thus preparing crises to step that it will start, and control the straits of Taiwan. China might use the pro-independence officials or elections as the impetus for action (Rosen & Wang, 2011). Such a method was used when the country fired missiles in straits responding to Lee Teng-hui, the then president in 1996 Taiwan crises. The United States when U.S.S Nimitz among other ships does sail into the straits. 

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The implications for the UK of potential conflict between the PRC and Taiwan

The Taiwan-China impact on the United Kingdom will weight on the decision of being to initiate a conflict. London is a critical ally of Taipei through the relationship is not that close. A UK military aggression response to the aggression of China is not assured. Also, the United Kingdom does not seem to support Taiwan’s independence not recognize it as a sovereign country (Garver, 2015). The response question is a hard one to make. Even though the UK will not rush to defend Taiwan, it is likely that the United Kingdom may be forced to fight (Rosen & Wang, 2011). If the US and UK military is removed from this equation, and China will emerge victories over Taiwan. The problem will be removing the United Kingdom from probable conflict. 

`A conflict between China and Taiwan will pose big challenges for the United Kingdom which is dependent on China economically, to some extent. A war between China and UK and its allies like the US will escalate leading to a nuclear exchange—and this would affect all the countries negatively. 

The extent to which she should raise these issues in public statements during her trip. China’s military build-up and regional assertiveness, especially in light of the so-called American ‘pivot’ to the Asia-Pacific.

The prime minister must be very careful when talking about emotional topics like Taiwan and chin conflict. She should try to be neutral on the issue since the relationship between Taiwan and China can be regarded as complicated (Garver, 2015). The UK is not even sure whether it should regard Taiwan as a sovereign state or not. Dictating to china about it should or should not do may jeopardize the efforts of economic and trading partnerships. 

China is an active member of UN Security Council and is known to be the largest contributor to the operations of UN peace support. Its position on major international challenges like Sudan, Iran, and Burma are decisive in determining the effectiveness of the international response (Garver, 2015). There is need to encourage China to broadly define its interests and allow the emergence of unified global approaches on key humanitarian and regional challenges. There is a need for the UK prime minster to encourage China to continue with funding and to provide international peace support operations and to cooperate to peacefully manage regional tensions. 

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Whether or not the UK should regard China primarily as a threat or as an opportunity

What policies should the UK be pursuing towards China?

China and the United Kingdom are currently engaged in a diplomatic experiment. There exist many opportunities that will come from this relationship (Kauders, 2016). However, there is also a risk. The priority of United Kingdom should be focusing on the material, and economic benefits of engaging with China as the country are currently migrating its development model to finance strong model, services oriented in which the United Kingdom has shown enormous strength. For China, its relationship with a developed economy, UK is chance for it to identify a stable model, which it will use in relating to similar economies. 

Experts claim that China’s recent military spending which includes cruise missiles, short range, and long-range ballistic missiles, and the advanced aircraft is simply directed at Taiwan. The capacity building is focused primarily on the deterrence to persuade Taiwan not to unitarily and irreversibly change its legal status. China’s capability is moving from deterrence to coercion, which tries to force Taiwan to come to negotiation on chains terms. 

Britain is a nation understood to be open to the foreign investment and trade. However, there is a different picture: a claim that Chinese investments will pose threats to UK economy and security, and exaggeration about how chin has an appetite to purchase Britain and claims about how China prevents British investments (Geyer & Shen, 2016). These claims are harmful and groundless. 

To begin with, Chinese investment in the United Kingdom is a win-win and beneficial for both nations. 18 billion of the China’s non-financial investment has been invested in different sectors in the UK. From equipment manufacturing and infrastructure to new energy high tech and financial services, Chinese investment has created new jobs, generated green growth, and brought economic stability and prosperity. 

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Hinkley pint project for instance, which is financed partly by a Chinese company GCN will create about 26000 jobs when completed, reduce millions of carbon emissions each year. 250-million pound factory that was built in the Coventry by Geely group from China will lead another Gerton of zero-emission on east London streets by the end of the year.

The ABP Royal Albert Dock project brings to UKL 1.7 billion Chinese investments, the urban complex of retail, commerce, homes, and offices will provide London will development east London greatly. Other investors from China like Wanda and Huawei have increased their investor, and this shows stoat they cast their vote of no confidence in the future of the United Kingdom. 

Investment from China will not pose threats to national security of UK. Chinese investments will be through transparent and fair procedures, which mainly focus on livelihood and civil related areas. In major infrastructure projects such as nuclear plants and communication, Chinese investors have shown to be adhering to the British laws and environmental regulations, and taken part in corporate social responsibility. 

Chain and Britain need to join hands to enhance economic globalization, increase liberation of trade and enhance facilitation of investment to built invigorated, innovative, inclusive an interconnected global economy. This year can be used consolidating UK-China golden era. These two nations need to start treating each other as equals and with a lot of respect so that the cooperation on investment and trade could deepen and lead to more fruits delivering benefits to British and Chinese people.

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  1. Garver, J. W. (2015). The Sino-American Alliance: Nationalist China and American Cold War Strategy in Asia. Routledge.
  2. Geyer, R. R., & Shen, W. (2016). (Mandarin Chinese) Brexit–How did it happen and how will it affect the UK-EU-China relationship?. Chinese Journal of European Studies, 4, 56-65..
  3. (2018). UK-China discuss the next step for economic and trade relations – GOV.UK. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Jan. 2018].
  4. Kauders, D. (2016). Understanding Brexit Options: What Future for Britain?. Routledge.
  5. Rosen, D. H., & Wang, Z. (2011). The implications of China-Taiwan economic liberalization. Washington, DC: Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  6. Yu, J. (2017). After Brexit: Risks and Opportunities to EU–China Relations. Global Policy, 8(S4), 109-114.
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