The UK parliament’s foreign affairs committee has called on Theresa May’s Cabinet to set out a China strategy by 2020 to replace the current policy of “muddling through” when it comes to dealing with Beijing. The committee, chaired by Tory MP Tom Tugendhat, criticised the British government for failing to face the reality of China’s strategic direction and said the government had not been able to present a China strategy. “A constructive, pragmatic and often positive UK relationship with China is possible. But achieving this will require strategy, rigour and unity in place of hope and muddling through,” the committee said. The committee said in a report it would establish a second inquiry after receiving “troubling allegations concerning Chinese interference in UK domestic affairs.” The committee heard evidence from former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and cited Australia’s own foreign interference debate heavily. It urged Britain to work closely with its allies to form a co-ordinated approach to China and criticised the current approach of viewing Sino-UK relations solely through an economic prism. “It risks prioritising economic considerations over other UK strategic interests, values and national security,” the report said. “The UK needs a single, detailed document defining a national strategy towards China, endorsed at Cabinet level. This will be an essential guide to all Government departments in shaping China policy, and will make sure that the Government is speaking with one voice. Unlike in Australia, the report noted that “no national conversation” has taken place in Britain over its approach to China, except in the case of two investment decisions in critical infrastructure – the Hinkley Point nuclear power station and the looming decision over whether to allow Huawei to build the 5G network.
Sydney Morning Herald 7th April 2019 read more »
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New York Times 6th April 2019 read more »