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UK Former PM David Cameron’s Ties to China

UK Former PM David Cameron’s Ties to China

The United Kingdom is currently witnessing a different type of riot. This is not on the streets, but in the British Parliament, the House of Commons. The target of this uproar is none other than David Cameron, the former Prime Minister turned Foreign Secretary. He is facing some tough questions about his ties to Britain’s greatest strategic challenge – China.

The Golden Age of UK-China Relations

David Cameron has been close to China for years. He ushered in what he called a “Golden Age” for UK-China relations. This era was marked by stronger economic ties, deeper trade links, closer relations between the peoples of the two nations, and meaningful dialogue on the issues that matter to both countries. This golden age began in 2015 during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the UK when Cameron was Prime Minister.

UK Former PM David Cameron’s Ties to China

During this period, the British Prime Minister shared a pint with the Chinese President, and there was a grand banquet with the late Queen Elizabeth II. China invested billions in British Nuclear power plants, all under David Cameron’s watch.

UK Former PM David Cameron’s Ties to China

Post-Office Relations with China

Even after he left office in 2016, David Cameron continued to cozy up to China. This did not change, not even after current Prime Minister Rishi Sunak declared that the Golden Age was over last year. In fact, just 2 months ago, Cameron was seen lobbying for China for the Chinese-owned Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka.

UK Former PM David Cameron’s Ties to China

A video has emerged showing Cameron spouting Chinese talking points. He cited a PWC report commissioned by China to talk up this project while downplaying an IMF report that was critical of the port.

UK Former PM David Cameron’s Ties to China

When asked about the lobbying, his team said it was a paid event, a paid speaking event organized by KPMG Sri Lanka, and that David Cameron had not engaged with China about speaking events since he became the Foreign Secretary.

UK Former PM David Cameron’s Ties to China

Controversial Ties to China’s Sovereign Wealth Fund

Arguably, a bigger issue is Cameron’s courting of China’s Sovereign wealth fund. After he resigned as Prime Minister in 2016, David Cameron got involved in a UK-China investment fund, a $1 billion fund that he was supposed to manage, although he had no experience in investment. He was seen shuffling to China and back on multiple occasions between 2017 and 2018. He was courting China’s Sovereign wealth fund, the China Investment Corporation (CIC). He wanted the CIC to be the anchor investor in his billion-dollar fund. He hoped to use the state-owned CIC’s name to gather more investors.

UK Former PM David Cameron’s Ties to China

Conclusion

While Cameron’s fund failed to take off and he says he has stepped back from his private interests since he took office, these past antics may be perfectly legal. However, it raises questions about the moral implications. Shouldn’t there be a cool-off period, a period between cozying up to China and joining the UK government? Cameron will have to answer all of these questions.

UK Former PM David Cameron’s Ties to China

His first round of questioning as Foreign Secretary is scheduled for the 5th of December, so hopefully, we’ll find out the answer soon.

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