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.