File photo: Chinese President Xi Jinping and UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron at a British pub northwest of London on 22 October 2015 [Xinhua]
Chinese state media on Saturday criticised the instability created by Britain’s decision to quit the European Union.
“Britain’s exit reflects the general decline of Europe,” argued an editorial of the influential Chinese daily the Global Times, published by the ruling Communist Party.
Britain’s vote to leave the bloc sent shockwaves around the world on Friday as global markets plunged and the pound saw its biggest one day drop in history.
“The world’s center used to lie on the two sides of the Atlantic. Now the focus has shifted to the Pacific. East Asia has witnessed decades of high-speed growth and prosperity. Europe stays where it was, becoming the world’s center of museums and tourist destinations,” Global Times said.
Ratings agency Moody’s has downgraded UK’s credit rating outlook to “negative” following Thursday’s vote.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday said it respected the choice of the British people but warned of serious ramifications arising out of Britain’s exit from the EU.
Global Times, known for its strident editorials, said on Saturday that it anticipates “no direct political impact on Russia and China” from UK’s shock exit from the 28-member bloc.
Instead, the editorial argued, the decision would aid the hegemony of the US.
“Such changes will benefit the US, which will lose a strong rival in terms of the dominance of its currency. Politically it will be easier for the US to influence Europe,” the editorial said.
This was in stark contrast to western media reports quoting former diplomats that said the Brexit referendum would “weaken Washington’s influence in European policymaking” bemoaning the “loss of the strongest pro-U.S. voice within the EU”.
Editorials of state-owned media in China, like Global Times, generally reflect the Communist Party viewpoint.
China and the UK have extensive business ties. The two countries signed $54.78 billion in business deals, including the financing of nuclear power stations during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit last year.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he wanted to begin negotiating Britain’s departure immediately.
“Britons decided yesterday that they want to leave the European Union, so it doesn’t make any sense to wait until October to try to negotiate the terms of their departure,” Juncker said.
TBP and Agencies