Chinese government 'cannot tolerate' Hinkley Point claims

Posted On: 
2nd August 2016

China has put pressure on Theresa May’s government to give the green light to the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant “as soon as possible”. 

The Chinese government said delaying Hinkley Point 'adds uncertainties' to Anglo-Chinese relations
Credit: 
PA

The decision to review the project, taken last week, was seen in some quarters as a response to security concerns about Chinese involvement in the sector.

Mrs May’s chief of staff, Nick Timothy, has previously written that security experts fear the Chinese could “build weaknesses into computer systems which will allow them to shut down Britain’s energy production at will”.  

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A statement from China’s state news agency Xinhua yesterday warned that delaying the project “adds uncertainties to the ‘Golden Era’ of China-UK ties’’.

“China can wait for a rational British government to make responsible decisions but cannot tolerate any unwanted accusation against its sincere and benign willingness for win-win co-operation,” its article said.

There are also reports that Lord O’Neill, a former banker and China expert, could quit his role as a Treasury minister in response to the delay.

Former Business Secretary Vince Cable said the words from the Chinese were an obvious threat about the economic consequences of pulling out of the project.

“It’s more than a veiled threat, it’s a pretty unveiled threat that unless the thing is sorted out quickly and in their favour there will be trouble,” he said.