UK Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to bring up concerns about China’s Belt and Road Initiative during her three-day visit to Asia this week, the Financial Times reports.
Beijing has insisted that May endorse China’s flagship investment strategy ahead of her trip, according to the FT, but the prime minister’s office has refused to comment on whether she will do so. They instead said simply that the plan would only contribute to global growth if it was “well implemented.”
May’s spokesman said that it was essential that the Belt and Road Initiative met “international standards.” When questioned by the FT about whether the plan currently met those standards, he replied: “That is one of the things the prime minister will be talking about when she’s there.”
The UK is under pressure to withhold its backing from the Belt and Road Initiative from the United States, which recently branded China a “strategic competitor.” Germany and France have also been edgy about throwing themselves behind the plan as concerns mount within the European Union over its trade and investment imbalances with China. French President Emmanuel Macron referred to these issues publicly during his trip to Beijing earlier this month, which infuriated Chinese officials.