Creëer ruimte voor China

LONDEN – Toen Groot-Brittannië eerder deze maand aankondigde dat het medeoprichter zou worden van de door China geleide Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, benadrukten de meeste krantenkoppen niet het nieuws zelf, maar de frictie die de beslissing tussen Engeland en de Verenigde Staten veroorzaakte.

Het Witte Huis liet een verklaring uitgaan die de Britse regering maande ‘zijn stem te gebruiken om aan te dringen op de adaptie van hoge normen.’ En er werd een hoge Amerikaanse functionaris geciteerd die Groot-Brittannië ervan beschuldigde ‘voortdurend aan China tegemoet te komen, wat niet de beste manier is om met een opkomende macht om te gaan.’ In werkelijkheid zijn het de Verenigde Staten zelf die de verkeerde koers voorstaan.

Voor de Britse pers diende het diplomatieke relletje als kapstok om kritiek te ventileren van mensen die vinden dat de regering een harder standpunt tegen China zou moeten innemen. Ze zeggen bijvoorbeeld dat de regering vorig jaar krachtiger steun had moeten betuigen aan de protesten voor meer democratie in Hongkong, en zich niet (naar het schijnt) had moeten distantiëren van de Dalai Lama tijdens het bezoek van premier David Cameron aan China in 2013.

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