Osborne should stick by his support of China, whatever the US says

Chinese bank AIIB, the Obama administration claims, could end up becoming a tool of pernicious Chinese foreign policy

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The Independent Online

The British government's decision to take an independent stance on China has raised a few eyebrows at the White House.

A growing spat is emerging between Washington and London over George Osborne’s decision to join Asia’s rival to the US-dominated World Bank.

The fledgling Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Obama administration claims, could end up becoming a tool of pernicious Chinese foreign policy.

If western powers such as Britain become members we might one day end up as Neville Chamberlains, appeasing increasingly aggressive Chinese economic action in the region.

But it’s easy for America, with its vast domestic and global economic hinterland, to tell little Britain not to court China. The US doesn’t have quite the same need as we do to expand its export markets beyond moribund Europe. Besides which, with China owning $1244 billion (£833 billion) of US Treasury bonds, the US can’t claim to be independent of Beijing influence.

For Britain to boost non-EU trade, we must court China, and co-operating in quasi-political bodies such as the AIIB will build much-needed links there. London has always been a transit point of global commerce and politics. It’s why we’re the pre-eminent financial capital and punch above our weight on the diplomatic stage.

Being inside the AIIB camp will further our influence. Osborne should stick to his guns.

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