US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in UK on Monday as ties between Britain and China deteriorate over the country’s treatment of Hong Kong.
The top US diplomat’s last visit to London in January came just days after Johnson ignored warnings from Washington and allowed the private Chinese tech giant to help roll out Britain’s 5G network.
It was a frosty affair that saw Pompeo accuse Britain of endangering Western intelligence-sharing by putting China at the heart of its next-generation data system.
Britain’s relationship with China was then blooming as Johnson sought lucrative partners that could fill the void left by the UK’s exit in January from the European Union.
But the months that followed have seen Britain edge ever closer to US President Donald Trump’s administration in its geopolitical tug-of-war with China.
Johnson’s most dramatic policy reversal saw him order UK mobile providers to stop buying 5G equipment from Huawei starting next year and remove existing gear by 2027.
“We were happy about it,” Pompeo told reporters last week. “Prime Minister Johnson got the complete right end of the stick on this one.”
The Chinese foreign ministry responded by accusing Britain of becoming “America’s dupe”.
The range of steps taken by Johnson in the past month threaten to bring an early end to a “golden decade” in cooperation that former British finance minister George Osborne promised on a visit to Beijing in 2015.
London has also outraged Beijing by offering nearly three million residents of Hong Kong a pathway to UK citizenship in response to a highly controversial security law that China imposed on the former British colony last month.
Britain followed that up on Monday by suspending its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and extending an arms embargo of “potentially lethal weapons” that had previously applied only to mainland China