Jeremy Hunt, who replaced Boris Johnson as UK's Foreign Minister in July, has made a "terrible mistake" during his first official visit to China, and criticism on social media soon followed.
In talks with his counterpart, the Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, Mr. Hunt said:
"My wife is Japanese — my wife is Chinese. That's a terrible mistake to make."
Jeremy Hunt accidentally describes his wife as Japanese, not Chinese. In a meeting with Wang Yi, Chinese State Counsellor. pic.twitter.com/YaKrSzr2jA— Kathy Long (@ProducerKathy) July 30, 2018
He then continued to say that his family connections in China are strong and his kids' grandparents live in Xian, a city in the north of the country.
Reactions to the Foreign Minister's gaffe poured in on Twitter, including references to numerous diplomatic blunders his predecessor, Boris Johnson, had committed.
Almost everyone: "Boris Johnson was the most offensive, disrespectful and globally embarrassing figure to hold the office of British Foreign Secretary."— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) July 30, 2018
Jeremy Hunt: "Hold my beer…"https://t.co/29UFyyifvp
Jeremy Hunt has been taking a few tips from Boris Johnson on how to truly excel as Foreign Secretary.— Dr Lauren Gavaghan (@DancingTheMind) July 30, 2018
During a meeting with Wong Yi in Bejing, Jeremy Hunt accidentally describes his wife as Japanese in an effort to win over the crowd, then has to apologise and explain she's actually chinese! Those lessons from Boris paying off already! Keep it up numpty!— The Laffterman 🌹 (@laffterman) July 30, 2018
If I referred to my Yorkshire born wife as a Lancasterian I might be sleeping in the tool shed.— Dr Pete Jones (@fatwhitebloke) July 30, 2018
Jeremy Hunt the so-called Foreign Secretary, mistakenly told a room full of Chinese officials his wife was Japanese.— David Fitzgerald Roberts (@spiritof53) July 30, 2018
Mr Hunt's wife, Lucia, is Chinese.
Here he is confirming his wife is… 🤔 pic.twitter.com/rDR6bIICMF
Jeremy Hunt 'Foreign' Secretary meeting chinese officials forgets his wifes oriental origins managing to insult the Chinese and Japanese at the same time— Gavin (@TimeForceCop) July 30, 2018
Jeremy Hunt is now ferrel on World Stage and May officially the worst PM ever. pic.twitter.com/6p9lqzLbxH
Jeremy Hunt seeks to send a message to Chinese businesses on his trip — Britain is open for business as it leaves the European Union in 2019.
Speaking to reporters in Beijing after meeting British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, China's FM Wang Yi said on Monday both nations agreed to boost trade and investment. Mr. Hunt in turn said that a possible free trade deal post Brexit is something Britain welcomes and will explore.
The UK-China trade negotiations take place amid Beijing's bitter trade war with Washington, following the US administration position that China's high-tech industries have stolen intellectual property from US firms and demand that Beijing should buy more American products to reduce a $350 billion trade surplus.