September 6, 2018 / 3:41 PM / a year ago

After Navy operation, May's spokesman says UK has strong ties with China

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain has a strong relationship with China, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said on Thursday, after Beijing expressed anger over a Royal Navy warship sailing close to islands claimed by China in the South China sea.

Beijing said Britain was engaged in “provocation” after HMS Albion passed near the Paracel Islands, and warned Britain risked harming broader bilateral relations.

“We have a strong relationship with China. I think the key point in relation to this is that HMS Albion was in full compliance with international law,” the spokesman said.

Reporting by William James and Kylie MacLellan, editing by Elizabeth Piper

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