HMS Queen Elizabeth visits New York

Chancellor’s Visit To China ‘Cancelled’

The announcement follows confirmation that HMS Queen Elizabeth would sail to the Pacific region.

HMS Queen Elizabeth visits New York

HMS Queen Elizabeth visited New York in October after trials of F-35B Lightning jets (Picture: MOD).

Philip Hammond will not visit China this weekend amid reports that Beijing pulled out of trade talks after Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson threatened to deploy a warship in the Pacific.

The Chancellor was expected to meet Chinese vice premier Hu Chunhua, but Treasury sources said the trip was never confirmed.

It follows reports in The Sun newspaper that Mr Hu scrapped the plans hours after Mr Williamson announced that he would be sending HMS Queen Elizabeth to the Pacific region.

HMS Queen Elizabeth trials
HMS Queen Elizabeth is the biggest warship in the Royal Navy fleet (Picture: MOD).

The paper said China had been expected to lift its bans on British poultry and cosmetics not tested on animals, which could have opened up access to markets worth around £10 billion over five years.

But a Treasury spokeswoman said:

"The Chancellor is not travelling to China at this time. No trip was ever announced or confirmed."

A source suggested the visit would be rescheduled when possible.

Mr Williamson confirmed this week that HMS Queen Elizabeth's first operational mission will take in the Pacific region, where Beijing has been involved in a dispute over navigation rights and territorial claims in the South China Sea.