Jeremy Hunt accidentally describes his Chinese wife as Japanese in Beijing

Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt shakes hands with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi after a press conferenceMore

"My wife is Japanese - my wife is Chinese", Hunt said at talks with prominent Chinese leaders, including Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Exchanging pleasantries as his United Kingdom delegation sat down to talks with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi and officials, Mr Hunt sought to demonstrate his family ties to China.

Hunt went on to speak about the strong connections to China in his family: "My wife is Chinese and my children are half-Chinese and so we have Chinese grandparents who live in Xian and strong family connections in China".

The foreign secretary, who moved from his health brief to replace Mr Johnson earlier this month, made the "terrible mistake" while meeting his Chinese counterpart. The couple now have three children.

Hunt is in Beijing to explore possible talks on a trade deal with China following the UK's exit from the European Union.




Noting China-British relations have maintained steady growth momentum in recent years, Wang welcomed Britain to participate more ambitiously in worldwide cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, in areas such as nuclear power, finance and innovation, and in new industries including artificial intelligence, green energy, and the digital economy.

Hunt attempted to minimize the damage by demonstrating knowledge about where his wife's family lives.

Hunt is also set to discuss "the importance of multilateralism and free trade and ways the United Kingdom and China can work together on global challenges such as climate change, development, security and non-proliferation and enforcing UN sanctions on North Korea", during his meeting in Beijing, his office said ahead of the trip.

Hunt's error was compounded by the fact that the two countries are "traditional rivals", says the South China Morning Post.

Foreign Minister Wang said he would look into that case while also still respecting the independence of China's judicial system'.

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