Foreign Office is ‘reviewing the options to see if we can pressure China’s conduct’ after Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson visited UK’s largest exporters
The UK government is considering a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics amid growing concerns about the economic, political and human rights situation in China, it has been reported.
It is understood the Foreign Office (FCO) is looking at the options to see if it can push the Chinese to co-operate on human rights as well as sport, according to the BBC.
The report comes as Boris Johnson visited the UK’s largest exporters – bringing together firms including Bombardier and Renault with the Chinese defence contractor CSR.
A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “There are cases around the world where we can urge our partners to take bold, principled actions to make sure these are real achievements for people affected by repression.”
In a speech in Durham after his meeting with the head of CSR, Sir Stephen O’Brien, Mr Johnson said China should “see the world as much as a place of opportunity as a place of threats”.
He added: “We want to open up that market of 1.3 billion people and I want our major export partners – particularly our second and third-largest export partners – to see that as much as the world of threats as the world of opportunities.”
Mr Johnson added that the “Chinese are very appreciative” of Britain’s business and technology as well as its human rights record.
But he also said: “We have to be very careful – Britain does not desire a cold war. We want to deal with China in a way that is compatible with its status as a nuclear power, but at the same time a country that has a different view of things to other countries on a range of issues that I think affect the future of our planet and its future.”