UK's top envoy calls his Chinese wife Japanese during China visit

UK's top envoy calls his Chinese wife Japanese during China visit

UK's top envoy calls his Chinese wife Japanese during China visit

Mr Hunt immediately corrected his "terrible" error as he attempted to talk up his family's links with China at the start of the crucial meeting.

China and Japan have been historic rivals for centuries and although relations have improved recently, events such as the latter's occupation of Chinese land in the 1930s mean the countries still have a somewhat fraught relationship.

Mr Hunt has been married to Lucia since 2009 and the couple have three children.

You can imagine, then, how quickly the temperature dropped when Hunt, in a bid to ingratiate himself with his Chinese hosts, loudly announced "my wife is Japanese". "That's a bad mistake to make", Hunt said, to laughter in the room.

"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", British news agency BBC quoted him as saying.

Jeremy Hunt with China's foreign minister Wang Yi
Image Mr Hunt greets China's foreign minister Wang Yi

Greeting his counterpart Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Mr Hunt said: 'My wife is Japanese - my wife is Chinese.

China has offered to open talks on a trade deal with Britain when it leaves the European Union, the foreign secretary has said.

To laughter in the room, he added: "Sorry, that's a awful mistake to make".

It is the first major overseas trip for Hunt, the former health secretary, in his new role, and he appeared to be following in the footsteps of his predecessor, who was known for gaffes and insults. "That's something that we welcome and we said that we will explore", Mr. Hunt said, without elaborating. He said Mr. Wang had made an offer "to open discussions about a possible free trade deal done between Britain and China post Brexit".

China and Britain should also oppose trade protectionism and uphold global free trade, Wang added.

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