China fury: Beijing unleashes new threat to UK and EU over ‘scapegoating’ – tensions erupt

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Speaking at a Centre for European Reform webinar, the Chinese ambassador to the UK urged European leaders to cooperate in the global fight against coronavirus. He warned “scapegoating is unhelpful to solving problems” and urged China and Europe to remain “major players” in the COVID-19 fight. He said: “War peace and stability are under great threat. The pandemic has revealed a weak link in global public health government systems.

“COVID-19 reminds the world that mankind belongs to a community with a shared future.

“Scapegoating, shaking responsibilities, are unhelpful to solving problems and saving lives.

“Solidarity and cooperation are the only way forward in this fight against the virus.”

He reassured European leaders China will “make any coronavirus vaccine a global public good”. 

He added “those who see China as a hostile state have got it all wrong”.

The message comes following the UK Government’s decision to ban Chinese tech giant Huawei from British networks.

US President Donald Trump, who has been blaming China for the spread of coronavirus globally, appeared to take credit for having “convinced many countries” including the UK not to use Huawei.

The US President said, “I did this myself, for the most part”, as he spoke of having worked to pressure nations to not use Huawei, adding: “If they want to do business with us, they can’t use it.”

In a major U-turn provoking criticism from China, the Prime Minister ordered telecoms firms to remove Huawei equipment from the 5G network by 2027.

The move, costing billions and delaying the deployment of 5G by up to three years, came after a Government-ordered review found the security of Huawei’s equipment could not be guaranteed because of US sanctions.

Mr Trump boasted in a press conference that no White House “has been tougher on China” than his administration, which the UK is trying to broker a post-Brexit trade deal with.

“We convinced many countries – many countries – and I did this myself, for the most part – not to use Huawei because we think it’s an unsafe security risk. It’s a big security risk,” he said.

“I talked many countries out of using it. If they want to do business with us, they can’t use it.

“Just today, I believe that UK announced that they’re not going to be using it. And that was up in the air for a long time, but they’ve decided.”

While the Government’s move pleased Mr Trump, who is facing a fight for re-election, it angered Beijing.

Liu Xiaoming tweeted: “Disappointing and wrong decision by the UK on Huawei.

“It has become questionable whether the UK can provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for companies from other countries.”

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock acknowledged the US sanctions played a role in the ban and said trade discussions were also an important consideration, but insisted it was “a sensible decision”.

“We all know Donald Trump, don’t we?” he told Sky News.

“All sorts of people can try to claim credit for the decision, but this was based on a technical assessment by the National Cyber Security Centre about how we can have the highest quality 5G systems in the future.

“We are looking for a good US trade deal and working very closely on that, I think that’s a very important consideration.”

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