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China Dramatically Cancels UK Trade Talks Hours After Defense Secretary’s Bellicose Speech


Originally appeared at ZeroHedge

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has been caught at the center of a huge row with China after he threatened to send a warship to the Pacific. In response Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua cancelled scheduled trade talks with Britain’s finance minister Philip Hammond just “hours” after the remarks, Reuters revealed Thursday.

The talks had been set for the coming weekend, with reports specifically noting Chunhua canceled the meeting “in protest at Williamson’s speech on Monday.”

During those remarks the defense secretary said that the UK must “show [China] the high price of aggressive behavior.” He also spoke of the British military boosting its “lethality” however, ironically it appears Britain has actually suffered the immediate repercussions.

China Dramatically Cancels UK Trade Talks Hours After Defense Secretary's Bellicose Speech

Prior file photo of Gavin Williamson aboard to HMS Queen Elizabeth, via the AP.

Williamson has been frequently advancing his vision of Britain’s return to being a “hard power” in the world, and during the enthusiastic speech Monday revealed that HMS Queen Elizabeth, the country’s largest warship or small aircraft carrier, could deploy to the Pacific with two squadrons of UK and US F-35 fighter jets. He said that without a more aggressive UK defense posture, Britain “risks our nation being seen as little more than a paper tiger,” while China develops “its modern capability and commercial power.”

The unnecessary diplomatic row unleashed with Beijing has reportedly enraged Tory leadership. “There is huge anger across cabinet. Gavin was partially inciting a war – the team knew China wouldn’t be happy,” a source told The Sun, which was the first to report the rift. They charged that what’s been commonly dubbed as Williamson’s “British Empire 2.0” rhetoric has risked “Britain’s chances to access Chinese markets worth billions,” according to The Sun report.

The Sun report further outlines the devastating short-term trade consequences of the over-zealous speech as follows:

China had been expected to lift their bans on British poultry and cosmetics which have not been tested on animals.

The agreements would have opened up access to markets worth an estimated £10.2billion over five years.

Mr Hammond was expected to return to Britain on Sunday triumphantly clutching the two Memorandums of Understandings with China.

The deals would have been a desperately-needed boost for the Government, which is scrambling to drum up trade as Brexit looms.

But as the report notes, “Mr Chunhua pulled out of the talks at the eleventh hour.”

China Dramatically Cancels UK Trade Talks Hours After Defense Secretary's Bellicose Speech

Chinese Vice-Premier Hu Chunhua (left), via the AFP

Meanwhile it appears PM Theresa May’s office is trying to downplay the row, telling Reuters the PM was not aware of any announced trip by Chancellor Hammond to China; instead it now appears China is ready to send only junior officials to the trade talks with the UK.

May had also distanced herself from Williamson’s China comments in the immediate aftermath of the speech earlier this week. According to The Independenther official spokesperson said “the carrier would not be deployed until 2021, that it would visit a number of global locations and that the PM would take the final decision over its route.”

Asked specifically about a more muscular approach to China, the prime minister’s office said further: ”In relation to China, I think we have set out areas where we have concerns – such as around cyber-intrusions against the UK and our allies. But it is also a country with which we have a strong and constructive relationship.”

This could spell the end of Williamson’s British Empire reboot defense policy efforts which have been prominent in his remarks for months, as Tory leaders attempt to reign him in and repair the economic damage.



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  • potcracker777


    british scum

    • You can call me Al

      Oi, watch you lip.

      You may call him, inbred – fool, arsehole, dicksplach, wank stain or any other word; BUT PLEASE for the sake of the British people (who also despise the little ant), do not link him to us, because we have disowned the runt..

      • roger temple

        Everybody has some scum somewhere. Funny how it always comes to the top of the pot.

      • Sinbad2

        At least the British people hound their politicians, and punish them when they fail.
        The Americans treat politics like football, loyalty to the team is the only thing that matters for them.

        But this could be a much bigger error than it seems, china might just make an example of the UK to prove to the Americans the power they now wield.

        • zman

          I wish you were wrong.

        • You can call me Al

          I think at this stage, we may welcome it.

  • Valerianus Maximus

    The only way Williamson might have improved on his bellicosity would have been to announce that the ship to be sent will be named HMS Opium War.

    • ruca

      The HMS Highly Likely.

    • roger temple

      How nasty to frighten the poor chinese.

    • FlorianGeyer


    • goingbrokes

      HMS Gavin Williamson, armed with torpedoes that turn around.

  • Sinbad2

    Gavin the Gimp strikes again.
    I wonder how much the Americans are paying him?

    • FlorianGeyer

      His talking points and language are all the same as the US mantra.

  • Ross

    This is what happens when you appoint a 12 year old special needs student as Minister for Defence. My cat could do a better job.

    • roger temple

      “Oh dear me”, he said in the best upperclass english, “what a twat I am. Everytime I open my mouth my foot goes in”.

  • John Whitehot

    clap clap clap.

  • Ma_Laoshi

    Impose consequences, and at a minimum you get the scum’s attention. Who’d have thought? Is anyone in the Kremlin taking notes?

  • Barba_Papa

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, countries that are about to have renegotiate trade deals with basically EVERYBODY should not go about pissing those future negotiating partners off. I hope this moron soon will get a reposting to a place where he can’t do any damage running his mouth off. Head of some South Pole research station in the winter sounds just right for him.

    • Garga

      Head of something? You’re being too generous for this moron.
      In my experience nothing beats the archives, the more dusty, moldy and darker the place the better and to keep some irrelevant and useless records.
      Heck, let him keep the number of HMS Big Lizzy’s F-35’s this Gavin boy is so fond of!

    • FlorianGeyer

      How about ‘British Minister for Fireplaces ‘ ?

  • zman

    Well, stupid is as stupid does. Seems the Trump SOP has international.

  • VeeNarian (Yerevan)

    Gavin, the foul-mouthed teenager, has again put his foot in his mouth. He does not represent sane British opinion, and should really stop farting and gassing the world.

  • Joe Kerr

    Why hasn’t this incompetent bonehead been sacked already? This time his foot-in-mouth problem will cost the UK billions.

  • FlorianGeyer

    The conversations about Williamson in the Officers Mess throughout the UK would be a joy to behold I would think :)

    His bellicose rants are more ‘Captain Mannering’ than ‘The Duke of Wellington’.

    • Jakke1899

      Yes, and next Theresa May (in the uniform of corporal Jones) comes storming in the mess, shouting : “Don’t panic, don’t panic!”

      • FlorianGeyer

        That really did make me chuckle. Thanks :)

  • Kelli Hernandez

    Williamson is an utter EMBARRASSMENT to the UK gov and it’s people. Seems he took lessons from psycho Johnny Bolton and Pompous Ass, increasingly unhinged and looking like absolute fools to a war weary public .