China embassy says Britain is distorting Beijing's diplomatic efforts

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – British politicians are twisting facts in order to undermine bilateral ties with Beijing, China’s embassy in London said on Saturday in response to new claims that Beijing is pursuing a more aggressive diplomatic strategy.

A spokesman for the embassy was commenting on a report in the Times newspaper that Beijing had raised its diplomatic presence in Britain by nearly a quarter in the past 10 years in a bid to boost its political influence.

“Some politicians and institutions deliberately twist and smear the normal exchange and cooperation between the two countries or even clamor for the so-called ‘new cold war’ against China,” the spokesman said in a statement posted on the embassy’s official website.

Chinese diplomats in Britain are “serving as a bridge” between the two countries and promote mutually beneficial cooperation, he said. They deserve a fair assessment “rather than distortion and accusation”.

Responding to the charge that Beijing was taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to pursue its “wolf warrior” diplomatic agenda, the spokesman said Chinese diplomats had a duty to tell the real story “in the face of misinterpretations, misunderstandings and even deliberate slanders”.

“Wolf warrior” diplomacy is the name given to a more aggressive approach to international relations by China’s foreign representatives, with many now using social media to push back against international criticism.

Ties between London and Beijing have become increasingly strained in recent months amid disputes over Hong Kong as well as Britain’s move to block Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei from participating in its 5G rollout.

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