China poses “a significant threat” to the UK, and the British government must cut off its reliance on the Asian giant and call out its aggression or abuses, MPs in the UK said on Sunday. Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) on December 18 warned that Britain must opt for stronger language against the military and economic power rather than just “empty rhetoric,” a new report on Integrated Review (IR) of defence and foreign policy stated.
UK MPs call for action on China’s ‘weaponisation’ of supply chains
MPs in the Parliament called to take action against China’s “weaponisation” of supply chains, and trade, and instead become a more effective “global player”. They further acknowledged China to be a competitor to the UK for the unforeseeable future. FAC had also earlier called on the UK government to explore a ban on the import of all cotton products produced in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, extending the ban to other industries over China’s human rights abuses. FAC called on the UK to hold more cross-government meetings, and take a new “national resilience lead” with respect to China.
UK’s ability to respond to “seismic” global shocks has been “repeatedly tested” including during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Chairwoman Alicia Kearns said in the FAC report, adding that it exposes UK’s “vulnerability.” The heavy reliance on China violates Britain’s own interests and values, and also limits its options as China “challenges the international order,” the Chairwoman stressed, further stating that the UK must work with China only on “key areas” such as climate. UK MPs also pushed for changing China’s designation from “systemic competitor” to “threat” and IR to address tensions in the Taiwan Strait “head-on.”
“The more reliant we are on others, the less resilient we are as a nation,” Kearns said in the report. “The government must tread a fine line – explicitly acknowledging the UK’s national security interests, and shoring up our nation’s resilience, while also continuing to deal with China as an economic partner.” “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,” she furthermore stressed.
The US earlier in a report titled “The United States Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China” called China a “threat” in its National Defense Strategy. “China is leveraging military modernization, influence operations, and predatory economics to coerce neighbouring countries to reorder the Indo-Pacific region to their advantage,” the unclassified strategy report read. “As China continues its economic and military ascendance, asserting power through an all-of-nation, long-term strategy, it will continue to pursue a military modernisation program that seeks Indo-Pacific regional hegemony in the near-term and displacement of the United States to achieve global preeminence in the future.”