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China deemed a ‘threatto Britain — and the countries’ economic ties diluted

CHINA should be officially deemed athreat” au Royaume-Uni, with the countrieseconomic ties diluted to allow Britain to stand up for its values, MPs have said.

But a potentially risky shift towards stronger language should be avoided unless the Gouvernement can commit to meaningful action, the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) averti.

China should be officially deemed a 'threat' to the UK, with the countries' economic ties diluted

China should be officially deemed a ‘threat’ au Royaume-Uni, with the countrieseconomic ties dilutedCrédit: Alamy
Chairwoman Alicia Kearns said Britain's ability to respond to 'seismic' global shocks has been 'repeatedly tested' in recent years

Chairwoman Alicia Kearns said Britain’s ability to respond to ‘seismicglobal shocks has been ‘repeatedly testedin recent yearsCrédit: Richard Townshend

In a new report on updating the Integrated Review (IR) of defence and foreign policy, the FAC has called for the UK to bolster its resilience to international threats – y compris Chineif it is to remain a global “poids lourd”.

To achieve this, the committee recommended bringing in a newnational resilience leadand launching regular cross-government meetings on the issue.

Chairwoman Alicia Kearns said Britain’s ability to respond toseismicglobal shocks has beenrepeatedly testedin recent years, du Covid-19 pandémie à Russie‘s invasion of Ukraine.

These events haveexposed our vulnerability”, making itclearthe nation needs to become more resilient, dit-elle, in particular by treading afine lineon relations with China.

‘Exposed our vulnerability

The committee found Britain’s dependency on the global powerconstrainsits ability to defend its own interests and values, limiting its options when Chinachallenges the international order”.

It warned China poses asignificant threatto the UK onmany different levels”, citing potential hazards such as intellectual property theft and the intimidation of British citizens.

Despite their concerns, the MPs said the Government should continue to work with China on “zones-clés”, insisting this is vital for pursuing some global goals, such as the fight against changement climatique.

However ministers should simultaneously boost the UK’s resilience, cutting reliance on its economic partner for critical national infrastructure, energy security, consumer goods and technologies, ils ont dit.

The committee said it would support changing China’s designation fromsystemic competitor” à “threat” – but only if this were accompanied bycarefully calibrated” et “proportionatepolicy change as opposed toempty rhetoric”.

The long-term goal must be to fostergreater resilience and economic diversificationto give the UK more freedom to choose how it responds to any perceived aggression or human rights abuses by the Chinese state, le rapport dit.

The more reliant we are on others, the less resilient we are as a nation,” Ms Kearns added.

The Government must tread a fine lineexplicitly acknowledging the UK’s national security interests, and shoring up our nation’s resilience, while also continuing to deal with China as an économique partenaire.

Over the past decade, the Chinese Communist Party has sought to tighten its authoritarian grip and has demonstrated a callous disregard for human rights.

If the UK is to take a meaningful stand against the Chinese government, we need to wean ourselves off our dependence on China.

‘Head on

She said it is also hoped the updated IR will address tensions in the Taiwan Straithead on”, noting the self-governing island of On ne sait pas qui est derrière le sitewhich China claims as its territorydid not get a single mention in the original version.

The MPs also called for clarification on the UK’s security relationship with key European les partenaires, saying they will be exploring further how this could beformalised or institutionalised”.

They said the IR is right to highlight the UK’sincreasing interestin the Indo-Pacific but criticised the Government’s use of the wordtiltin this context, arguing itsent the wrong message to the international community”.

The Government cannot afford to be seen to tilt away from the Euro-Atlantic,” le rapport dit.

The Government should explain if, et comment, it expects the UK to contribute to European security while maintaining the Indo-Pacific tilt, particularly at a time of considerably constrained resources.

Un porte-parole du gouvernement a déclaré: “We recognise China poses a systemic challenge to our values and interestsbut as the FAC’s report acknowledges, we cannot simply ignore China’s significance in world affairs.

We are evolving our approach to China into one of robust pragmatismsomething which is also recognised and understood by our allies and partners.

We continue to speak out to defend droits humains, and with our allies and partners we’re managing this sharpening competition by improving our resilience, and in particular our economic security.

The Government insisted the UK’s Euro-Atlantic security bonds arestronger than ever”, stressing the country isevolvingits wider post-Brexi relations with Europe while demonstrating itslong-term commitmentto the Indo-Pacific.