Prime Minister Theresa May will visit China this year, her spokeswoman said on Tuesday, the latest in a series of foreign trips to cement ties with major trading powers as she negotiates Britain’s divorce with the EU.
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The spokeswoman offered no details of the trip, but May is keen to strengthen her hand by securing foreign support before launching some of the most complicated talks Britain has ever waged to leave the European Union. May attended a summit of the G20 leading economies in September in China last year, shortly after she became prime minister following Britain’s referendum vote to leave the European Union, and was invited by President Xi Jinping to visit again.
Trade has dominated her talks with foreign leaders in recent months. She has secured assurances from U.S. President Donald Trump, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other world powers to start talks on boosting links. But her attempt to up the stakes in talks with the European Union has not been without criticism.
Some opposition lawmakers have accused her of ducking difficult issues to win promises for trade – a charge repeated when she became the first foreign leader late last month to meet Trump, who has since been criticised over his immigration curbs.