HANGZHOU, China, Sept 4 British Prime Minister
Theresa May on Sunday defended her decision to delay a partly
Chinese-funded nuclear power deal, despite it causing diplomatic
tension with China as she landed in the country to attend a G20
In July, May upset Chinese officials by delaying a $24
billion project that would see French firm EDF build
Britain's first new nuclear power plant in decades with the
help of $8 billion from China.
The decision caught investors by surprise and has cast doubt
over whether May, who took power in July following Britain's
vote to leave the European Union, will continue to court China
as a major source of infrastructure investment.
"This is the way I operate," May told reporters on board her
official plane on the way to Hangzhou for the summit, which will
include a one-to-one with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The
summit is May's first visit to China.
"I don't just come in and say 'I'm going to take a decision'
- I actually look at the evidence, weigh up that evidence, take
the advice and consider that and come to my decision."
A final decision is expected later this month.
May is reportedly concerned about possible national security
risks of allowing China to invest in nuclear projects, with the
EDF plant being seen as a gateway to a deal that would pave the
way for Chinese involvement in another two nuclear plants.
She is expected to ask Britain's National Security Council
to look at broader relations with China to fully understand the
extent of the bilateral relationship.
Asked whether she trusted China, May said: "Of course we
have a relationship with them, we're working with them... what I
want to do is build on that relationship."
But, she also stressed a need to broaden the group of
nations that Britain can trade with and tap for
cash to help reinvigorate its power, transport and technology
"This is the G20, this is about talking to a number of world
leaders. I'm going to give the message that Britain is very much
open for business... I want to be talking about the
opportunities for free trade around the world."
(Reporting by William James; Editing by Sandra Maler)