UK’s Nuclear Future in Doubt amid Diplomatic Fallout over Huawai. Boris Johnson’s now faces a test of his diplomatic and political skills against the Chinese state. Eyeing China’s crackdown on Hong Kong protesters, seeking to define the UK’s place in the world post-Brexit, and shaken by the pandemic, the UK is hardening its stance on China – and the communist superpower is responding in kind. Expectations that the UK will reduce Chinese company Huawei’s role in the UK’s 5G network have been met with veiled threats that Chinese companies might pull out of building UK nuclear power plants and other infrastructure – ratcheting up tensions with potentially profound political and economic consequences. Chinese direct investment in the UK reached almost £50bn between 2000 and 2018, while in 2018 the UK sold £22.6bn worth of goods to China and bought £44.7bn of Chinese goods. It was less than five years ago that David Cameron and Chinese president Xi Jinping popped into the Plough in Cadsden, Bucks, to toast a “golden era” of friendship between the two nations over pints of IPA and fish and chips. The visit took place just two days after the Chinese nuclear power giant China General Nuclear and France’s EDF agreed to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in Somerset, as part of about £40bn in business deals signed between the UK and China. Hinkley Point C is now taking shape next to the Bristol Channel, but plans for a second plant with EDF, Sizewell C, and CGN’s own plant, Bradwell B in Essex, as well as other infrastructure investment now appear to be at risk if the UK ousts Huawei. Plenty argue that would be no bad thing. China’s involvement in the UK’s nuclear power plants has long been controversial due to security concerns, while some experts also argue that large nuclear power plants have had their day as a source of energy. “The energy landscape has changed,” argues Paul Dorfman, of the UCL Energy Institute, given that offshore wind power and other renewable technologies are getting much cheaper and more effective. Still, ministers appear keen on nuclear as a low-carbon, constant source of power. Others argue that China is unlikely to follow through with the threat, in any case. “If China pulled out that would be embarrassing for Xi, so I really don’t think the Chinese government would like to do that,” says Dr Yu Jie, senior research fellow on China at Chatham House.
Telegraph 14th June 2020 read more »
America has offered to build Britain’s 5G and nuclear power stations so that the “coercive and bullying” relationship with China can end, Mike Pompeo has said. In a statement released yesterday the US Secretary of State said America stood with its “allies and partners against the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) coercive bullying tactics”, as he cited reports that Beijing had threatened to punish HSBC and “break commitments to build nuclear power plants in the United Kingdom unless London allows Huawei to build its 5G network”. HSBC is understood to have claimed that it could face reprisals in China if Huawei was blocked from selling equipment to the next generation of networks being built by Britain’s mobile operators.
Telegraph 10th June 2020 read more »
Boris Johnson faces losing billions if he bans Huawei in the UK. China has threatened to pull out of major UK infrastructure projects including a nuclear power deal if the UK ditches Huawei.
Telegraph 13th June 2020 read more »