The new head of the British foreign Minister Jeremy hunt during a visit to China confused Chinese with Japanese.
Hunt is just one of several Cabinet ministers sent overseas to woo potential allies into striking trade deals with the United Kingdom post-Brexit. China also wants more worldwide allies in its escalating trade conflict with the US.
"My wife is Japanese - my wife is Chinese", Hunt said at talks with prominent Chinese leaders, including Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
Wang, speaking at a joint press briefing with visiting UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, said China and the USA should resolve trade frictions through the World Trade Organization framework.
"We also of course discussed our trading relationship, and I think the best way to continue to grow our trade and strength and trust between Britain and China is to be able to have the kind of open and frank discussions we had this morning".
Wang, standing beside Hunt at a state guest house in the western suburbs of Beijing, made no direct mention of the free-trade talks offer but said the two sides had "agreed to proactively join each others' development strategies, and expand the scale of trade and mutual investment".
Mr Hunt travels to Paris for a meeting with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian, before heading to Vienna on Wednesday for further Brexit talks where he will again warn of the possibility of an "accidental" exit from the European Union without an agreement.
Nearly two months have passed since China and the U.S. last held official talks, although both sides have continued to hint at restarting negotiations.
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. Sign-up now and enjoy one (1) week free access!
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