"China needs an awful lot from UK": Relations will thaw in six months says China expert

12 July 2020, 10:45

Professor Rana Mitter on Britain's future relationship with China

By Seán Hickey

The director of Oxford University's China Centre expects UK-China relations to thaw once China realises how it relies on Britain for some services.

Professor Rana Mitter is the Director of the China Centre at Oxford University with expertise in Chinese/Hong Hong relations and was speaking to Andrew Castle after reports on Sunday said that China is planning a "9/11 style cyber attack on the UK" for it's stance on Hong Kong and potentially pulling out of the Huawei deal.

Andrew asked Professor Mitter if "China a threat to the United Kingdom" amid the reports, and he said that "it doesn't have to be a threat if we don't want it to be."

The China expert imagined the cost for China if they launched a cyber attack on UK, suggesting that "no free country would ever do a deal to China again" if this happened.

"We hear an awful lot about how Britain needs China, we don't hear nearly enough how China actually needs an awful lot from Britain" said Professor Mitter.

The China expert believes relations with the UK will soften in the coming months
The China expert believes relations with the UK will soften in the coming months. Picture: PA

"One of the reasons why the UK is a science superpower is that we have quite so many of China's very finest young scientists" he said, backing up his notion that our education system benefits the country and its people greatly. Professor Mitter told Andrew that "we have to work out how we make that work in interest for the UK rather than simply being a service provider for China."

Andrew brought up the UK's plans to allow 3 million Hong Kongers to come here after new national security laws tightened the CCP's grip on the state.

He wondered "how does China view that offer from Britain" whereby Professor Mitter reminded Andrew that the Chinese ambassador branded it an "infringement on sovereignty."

Professor Mitter was optimistic that the climate will be different in six months time, adding that China is "always looking out for pragmatic business opportunities" and they will soon realise they have a "tremendous interest in keeping Hong Kong a major financial centre and actually keeping a line in some of the internationalised areas of the British economy."