UK to deliver chilling cold war warning to China over military fears
James Cleverly is set to deliver a speech at Mansion House in London, where he will call on China to be transparent about its military expansion, which he describes as the biggest in peacetime history. The Foreign Secretary is tipped to warn of the risks of a new cold war with China and the possibility of a “tragic miscalculation” in the Indo-Pacific region if China continues its aggressive behaviour.
Despite his concerns about the situation in the Xinjiang region, he argues that Britain must continue to engage with China and that it would be a betrayal of British interests to isolate the country.
The speech comes amid rising tensions with Beijing over Taiwan and concerns that China will try to take over the island nation, similar to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
The Telegraph reports that Mr Cleverely will say: “It would be clear and easy – perhaps even satisfying – for me to declare a new cold war and say that our goal is to isolate China.
“Clear, easy, satisfying – and wrong. Because it would be a betrayal of our national interest and a wilful misunderstanding of the modern world.”
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The main topic of the Mansion House speech, a platform historically used by foreign secretaries to express their opinions on a wide range of foreign policy matters, will be China.
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Furthermore, China is developing hypersonic missiles capable of evading US defences, as well as space weapons capable of deactivating satellites.
China has also converted atolls in the South China Sea into working islands, complete with military stations and airstrips.
The Foreign Secretary will argue: “We do not expect our disagreements with China to be swiftly overcome, but we do expect China to observe the laws and obligations that it has freely accepted.
“If China breaks them, we are entitled to say so and to act, as we did when China dismantled the freedoms of Hong Kong, violating its own pledge, and we gave nearly three million of Hong Kong’s people a path to British citizenship.
“Peaceful co-existence has to begin with respecting fundamental laws and institutions, including the UN Charter, which protects every country against invasion.”
In his speech, James Cleverly will express his hope that China’s government will not dismiss Britain’s condemnation of the mass imprisonment of Uyghur people in Xinjiang as an attempt to interfere in their internal affairs.
He will say: “Just as we should try harder to understand China, I hope that Chinese officials will understand that when their government builds a 21st century version of the gulag archipelago, locking up over a million people at the height of this campaign, often for doing nothing more than observing their religion, this stirs something deep within us.
“Our revulsion is heartfelt and shared unanimously across our country and beyond. We are not going to let what is taking place in Xinjiang drop or be brushed aside.”
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