The GuardianThe Guardian

Western politicians face tough balancing act on visits to Beijing

By Helen Davidson

30 Aug 2023 · 3 min read

informed Summary

  1. U.K Foreign Secretary James Cleverly this week described his country's relationship with China as "complicated and sophisticated," adding that Britain is neither seeking to isolate China nor avoiding raising disagreements. He is the latest in a series of Western officials to visit China in an attempt to repair strained relations and trade ties.

The UK foreign secretary, James Cleverly, on Wednesday described his government’s relationship with Beijing as “complicated and sophisticated”. He said the UK’s approach was “clear-eyed” and pragmatic, neither seeking to isolate the world’s second largest economy nor shying away from raising disagreements.

The balancing act may prove difficult. Cleverly is the latest in a series of western government officials – from the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, to the French president, Emmanuel Macron – to have visited China in recent months hoping to repair soured relations and trade ties. Few have had much success.

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