Andrew Mitchell welcomes Hong Kong BNO passport offer and urges Government to push co-operation, not confrontation with China.
I very much welcome what my right hon. Friend has said about the Magnitsky proposals, on which he and I have worked together in the past, and I also very much welcome what he said about the new rights for BNOs. In dealing with China, we should always champion our values and never trim on that. Will he make it clear to the Chinese regime and reinforce this with them that, wherever possible, we seek co-operation, not confrontation?
I thank my right hon. Friend. He is absolutely right, and he has long-standing experience, from when he was Secretary of State for International Development, of the relationship with China. It is double -edged: there are opportunities as well as risks—not just on trade, but on climate change, as he will know given the strong development angle. I think that he is absolutely right to say that we want a positive relationship. We do not want it to deteriorate or to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. We are very clear in our approach to China on this; but equally, when it comes to issues of values, human rights and international obligations that go to questions of trust and confidence—not just the United Kingdom having trust and confidence in China, but the world and the international community having trust and confidence in China—China must live up to its word and China must keep its international obligations.