UK-China Relations and Britain's Integrated Review Refresh: No Hope in Sight
"Looking ahead to 2023, it is extremely likely that Sino-British relations will deteriorate further."
Two years ago, when Britain first published its “Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy”, tensions between London and Beijing had long since been rising. Chinese experts, however, were on the whole still expressing cautious optimism about the future of their country’s ties with the UK. Cui Hongjian (崔洪建), a well-known Chinese analyst of European affairs perhaps best known abroad for his trenchant remarks in China's Global Times, commented that the distinction made between labelling Russia as a security threat and China as both a systemic competitor and an economic threat to the UK, "indicates that the British government still wishes to maintain a realistic [i.e. pragmatic] approach to its relations with China." Many of these experts believed that Britain’s rapprochement with the US was set to be short-lived and expressed faith in what they perceived to be British diplomacy’s immutable characteristic — its interest-based pragmatism. This wa…