China and Britain have clinched £500 million (US$630 million) worth of deals in a high-profile trip by a Chinese vice-premier to London on Monday, despite fears by British trade officials that the talks might be derailed because of protests in Hong Kong. Vice-Premier Hu Chunhua and British Chancellor Philip Hammond vowed to work together to protect global trade, but not before officials in Whitehall wondered if the public uproar in Hong Kong would scupper a deal they see as a vital boost amid the Brexit uncertainty. Hong Kong people took to the streets on two consecutive Sundays to protest against a bill that could allow extraditions from Hong Kong to mainland China. An estimated 2 million people took part in the most recent march on Sunday, calling for the bill to be scrapped altogether. The anxiety of officials over the trade deal was compounded by a strongly worded statement by Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary now vying to be Britain’s next prime minister, who called on the Hong Kong government to “listen to the concerns of its people and its friends in the international community and to pause and reflect on these controversial measures”. US forced to perform tricky balancing act over Hong Kong extradition bill But as soon as Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced the suspension of the bill, Hunt issued another statement, this time “praising” the decision. “Whitehall is so concerned about how the two events will affect each other. The foreign office didn’t want to understate the relevance of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, while the Exchequer wanted to make sure the deals would be signed,” a source with knowledge of the ongoing developments told the South China Morning Post . The job consequently fell to Theresa May – who is entering her final days as prime minister – to raise the issue of Hong Kong with Hu. Her office did not elaborate on their conversations, but a Conservative Party source said: “I expect her mention of Hong Kong to be minimal and a matter of mere gesture. To infuriate the world’s second biggest economy would be the last thing for a caretaker PM to do.” Hong Kong has continued to be a subject of interest for foreign leaders following the suspension of the contentious bill that would allow anyone in Hong Kong suspected of mainly serious crimes to be sent to mainland China for trial. China halts WTO battle over market economy status US President Donald Trump would touch upon the issue if and when he met Chinese President Xi Jinping during the G20 summit in Japan later this month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday. In the light of the ongoing trade war with the US, China appears eager to re-establish the “golden era” with Britain, an idea that started during Xi’s state visit in 2015 but has been a largely untouched subject since Britain decided to leave the European Union a year later. While in London, Hu co-chaired the latest China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue with Hammond. The pair also officiated at the launch of the long-awaited London-Shanghai Stock Connect project, which went live on Monday and enables companies listed in Britain to sell shares in China. Hong Kong must defend its values to forge an economic future Under the scheme, Shanghai-listed companies can raise new funds via London’s stock market while British companies can broaden their investor base by selling existing shares in Shanghai. Britain has hailed the deals with China as a diplomatic success amid the business uncertainties looming over Brexit, with Secretary for International Trade Liam Fox calling the creation of 175 new jobs in Britain “significant wins” for the British market. Although Britain stopped short of endorsing China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the two countries concluded a memorandum of understanding on infrastructure cooperation in third countries, according to a statement by Britain’s Department of International Trade. Britain also secured permission from China to export beef by the end of the year at the earliest, ending more than two decades of a Chinese government ban implemented in response to the BSE outbreak.