Billionaire apologizes for Boris Johnson’s remarks on China – media – Reuters
Michael Bloomberg has admitted that guests at a conference in Singapore were ‘insulted or offended’ by the former British prime minister
New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg was reportedly forced to apologize to guests at a business conference in Singapore after former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered a speech condemning China as a “coercive autocracy”.
The former New York City mayor and Democratic presidential candidate admitted to the nearly 500 Asian businesspeople and diplomats at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum that some of the guests may have been “insulted or offended” by Johnson’s comments, The Guardian reported on Friday. “To those of you who were upset and concerned by what the speaker said, you have my apologies,” Bloomberg said, adding that the ex-prime minister’s inflammatory remarks were “his thoughts and his thoughts alone.”
At issue was Johnson’s after-dinner speech on Tuesday, when he harshly criticized the governments of China, Russia and other countries. He described the two world powers as “monocultural states” and “former communist tyrannies”. Beijing and Moscow “to show a frank contempt for the primacy of international law”, he added, and “last year have demonstrated the immense limitations of their political systems by the disastrous mistakes they have made.”
Johnson, who was forced to resign as prime minister in July amid multiple scandals, would have gotten away with such a speech on his own turf, The Guardian speculated. But speaking to regional leaders at a conference in Singapore, “The majority of Asian countries are much more pro-China and share strong economic and diplomatic ties.”
A Johnson spokesperson stood by the speech, telling the Guardian, “Mr Johnson is firm in his criticism of authoritarianism and autocracy – including in Russia and China – and will continue to be so. He will continue to make the case for freedom and democracy on the stage. world.
Conference guests called his speech “shocking” and “belligerent.” “People clearly felt uncomfortable” said a participant in the newspaper. “He used very undiplomatic language on China, at a conference in Asia. A former British Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister should have known better.
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Johnson delivered his speech the night before the current British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, was planning to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Indonesia. The meeting was called off, which a UK government spokesperson accused “scheduling issues”.