China says still committed to Hong Kong semi-autonomy

Jeremy Hunt and his wife Lucia attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace

Britain's new foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt's foray into worldwide politics is off to an embarrassing start.

The mistake of calling a Chinese person Japanese is seen as culturally offensive because the two countries have been bitter rivals for centuries.

Lucia Guo, a former health minister and Hunt's wife, is in fact from China.

Mr Hunt marked the first day of his trip to China - where he hopes to strengthen trade ties ahead of Brexit - by mistakenly telling his hosts his wife is Japanese, rather than Chinese. Although relations have improved somewhat recently, they remain touchy due to issues such as Japan's bloody occupation of parts of China in the 1930s and 40s. "Sorry, that's a bad mistake to make".

Hunt added: "My wife is Chinese and my children are half-Chinese, and so we have Chinese grandparents who live in Xi'an and strong family connections in China".

Israel intercepts aid boat bound for besieged Gaza Strip
The statement from the group characterised the action as an Israeli "attack" saying the crew and passengers had been "kidnapped". While several foreign powers have censured Israel's handling of Gaza, the United States has echoed its blaming of Hamas.

Mr. Hunt later told a news briefing that China had offered Britain talks on a post-Brexit free trade deal.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt (L) is greeted by China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi before their meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China July 30, 2018. Aside from trade, planned topics of discussion include "climate change, development, security and non-proliferation and enforcing United Nations sanctions on North Korea", according to the foreign office.

He replaced Mr Johnson, who resigned from government in protest at Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan.

Wang said about 60 percent of China's trade surplus with the U.S. was created by foreign companies operating in China and that United States firms had reaped "huge profits" in the country.

Under the "one country, two systems" model, Beijing promised to let Hong Kong maintain wide autonomy and civil liberties, but fears are growing that China's leaders are backtracking by oppressing the political opposition.

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