China sends mixed messages on Brexit vote amid global economy concerns
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China sends mixed messages on Brexit vote amid global economy concerns

CHINA’S premier expressed his hopes for a “stable and prosperous” Britain Monday as he encouraged joint efforts to restore global economic confidence following the shockwaves of the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union.

Li Keqiang said last week’s referendum has had “an obvious impact” on financial markets and increased uncertainties in the global economy.

Speaking at a business conference, Li said, “Under such circumstances, we need to jointly handle challenges, strengthen confidence and create a stable international environment and find solutions to address root causes together.”


Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. Pic: AP.

Li said Beijing wants to see a “united and stable” European Union and a “stable and prosperous” Britain.

His comments were at odds with a thinly veiled swipe at Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, published in a Communist Party-run Global Times editorial Saturday.

It said the people of Britain “showed a losing mindset”, and that: “The world’s centre used to lie on the two sides of the Atlantic. Now the focus has shifted to the Pacific.”

It added: “For the Chinese people, who are at a critical time to learn about globalization and democracy, they will continue to watch the consequence of Britain’s embracing of a ‘democratic’ referendum.”

Chinese leaders have been more low-key in their reactions, though President Xi Jinping made it clear before the vote that his party opposed the Brexit.

Both South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said their countries were prepared to react to market volatility in the wake of the vote.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was due in London on Monday for meetings with British and European officials.

The pound was hit by further losses in early trading Monday, at one point down almost 3 percent against the dollar from Friday’s close.

Additional reporting from Associated Press

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