TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - China and Britain agreed last month to look at the possibility of reaching a "top notch" post-Brexit free trade deal which, if struck, would be an important political win for Britain's Conservative government.
"China and the UK had agreed to actively explore the possibility of discussing a free trade agreement after Brexit. Any act that harms China's core interests will only put a spanner in the works," the official China Daily newspaper said in an editorial.
Britain has long courted China for a post-Brexit trade deal and talked up a "golden era" in ties, although any formal talks could not begin until Britain officially leaves the European Union next year and typically take many years to conclude.
The HMS Albion, a 22,000 ton amphibious warship, sailed near the Paracel Islands claimed by China last month, Reuters reported on Thursday, prompting an angry reaction from China which called it a "provocation".
The Paracels are occupied entirely by China but also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.
China's claims in the South China Sea, through which some $3 trillion of shipborne trade passes each year, are contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. Britain does not have any territorial claims in the area.
The China Daily said Britain was trying to "curry favor" with the United States, which has been pushing for more international participation in freedom of navigation operations in the strategic waterway.