by Xinhua Writer Tian Dongdong
BEIJING, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- British new cabinet's decision to delay the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant program over "national security" concerns not only draws queries from the international community about its openness towards foreign investment, but also adds uncertainties to the "Golden Era" of China-UK ties.
Giving green light to a 24-billion-U.S.-dollar project can never be an easy decision, and China fully understands and respects British government's requirement for more time to ponder. However, what China cannot understand is the "suspicious approach" that comes from nowhere to Chinese investment in making the postponement.
The Hinkley Point C program will offer thousands of jobs for local people while bridging the electricity gap left by the closure of all coal-fired plants in Britain as of 2025, with 7 percent of electricity supply guaranteed nationwide. Such a rosy prospect underpins the program's win-win nature and dispels the groundlessness and sci-fi scent of fears over "China planting back-doors" during program construction to control the critical infrastructure.
Those uncalled fears are particularly harmful to Britain for at least two reasons.
For starters, for a kingdom striving to pull itself out of the Brexit aftermath, openness is the key way out. As the initiator of the "free trade" theory and full implementor of free market economy, Britain has long been known for its extraordinary attractiveness to foreign investment with its openness.
The "suspicious approach" towards Chinese investment pervading in the postponement actually triggers much concern that Britain might thinking of erecting a wall of protectionism, which will surely stain its credibility as an open economy and might deter possible investors from China and other parts of the world in the future.
Secondly, by halting a flagship program indicating the arrival of the China-UK Golden Era, as some British media reported, for suspicion towards Chinese investment, the British new government is actually running the risk of dampening the hard-won mutual trust with China.
China-UK relations have long been taken as a model of relationship between developing and developed countries. Based on mutual trust, mutual understanding and win-win cooperation, bilateral ties have been peaked by last year's successful UK-tour of Chinese President Xi Jinping as well as Britain's participation in the China-proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
If history offers any guide, many China-targeted suspicions have been boiled down to diffidence and distortion. China can wait for a rational British government to make responsible decisions, but can not tolerate any unwanted accusation against its sincere and benign willingness for win-win cooperation.
After all, the hard-won momentum in China-UK relations cannot be wasted, and the Golden Era cannot afford to be delayed.