Image copyright AFP Image caption A computer impression of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant in Somerset
Failing to go ahead with the Hinkley Point nuclear project could threaten China’s relationship with Britain, its ambassador to the UK has warned.
Writing in the Financial Times, Liu Xiaoming said the delay to approving the plant had brought the two countries to a “crucial historical juncture”.
He hinted that “mutual trust” could be in jeopardy if the UK Government decided not to approve the deal.
China is expected to fund about a third of the £18bn project.
Last month, the French company EDF, which is financing most of Hinkley Point C in Somerset, decided to go ahead with the project. But in a surprise move the UK government said it wanted until early autumn to review the scheme.
In response to the ambassador’s article, a government spokesperson said: “As we’ve already made clear – this decision is about a huge infrastructure project and it’s right that the new government carefully considers it.
“We co-operate with China on a broad range of areas from the global economy to international issues and we will continue to seek a strong relationship with China.
“The message that we continue to take to the world is that Britain remains open for business and we are the same outward-looking, globally minded country we have always been.”
There have been reports that Prime Minister Theresa May’s concerns about Chinese involvement in a UK nuclear power station were the primary reason for postponing the deal.
Former Business Secretary Sir Vince Cable said that when he was in the Cabinet with the then home secretary, Mrs May had been unhappy with what she regarded as the Cameron government’s “gung-ho” approach to doing deals with Beijing.
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