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Theresa May urges stronger ties with China in letter to Xi

British Prime Minister Theresa May has written to Chinese President Xi Jinping reassuring him of Britain’s commitment to have stronger relations with Beijing.

The letter was handed by the Foreign Office minister, Alok Sharma, to his Chinese counterpart during an official visit on Tuesday.

The UK “looks forward to strengthening cooperation with China on trade and business and on global issues”, May said in the letter, according to a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry.

The text of the “private correspondence” has not been released by the Downing Street.

The move comes as tensions between the two countries have risen over May’s decision last month to delay approval of the £18 billion nuclear plant at Hinkley Point.

Chinese state nuclear companies are expected to fund one-third of the project.

The decision to delay the Hinkley Point project caused China’s ambassador to the UK to warn that the relationship was “at a crucial historical juncture.”

Liu Xiaoming urged the UK to “keep its door open to China” and give the green light to the project as soon as possible.

Some of May’s advisers have raised security concerns over China’s role in the nuclear project, arguing it would give Chinese access to computer systems of Britain’s energy production.

May will travel to China next month to steady relations with Beijing, which have been thrown into doubt since her appointment as the new prime minister last month.

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