Nick Timothy: Our embrace of China was naive and cynical – now is the time to hold Beijing to account. Even its advocates called the policy “Operation Kowtow”. But the Treasury got what it wanted, and the investment kept coming. Trade between Britain and China more than doubled in a decade, while last year alone China invested more than $20 billion (£16 billion) in Britain. From the new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point to the rollout of 5G, Chinese investors and companies have been at the heart of our most important recent infrastructure programmes. China’s Hinkley deal grants its General Nuclear Power Group a contractual right to “progressive entry” into Britain’s nuclear energy facilities: after Hinkley the Chinese will gain a deepening operational role at Sizewell and Bradwell. With 5G, inviting Huawei into our telecoms infrastructure risks industrial espionage and other security threats. It is surely now obvious that China is also a strategic rival to the West as a whole. It is an autocratic and oppressive state, with wildly different values and interests to our own. Its policy towards Asia, Africa and elsewhere is inevitably imperialistic. And its modus operandi – setting debt traps for countries to gain leverage over them and engaging in mass industrial espionage – is a danger to our interests and those of our allies. We should insist on an independent international investigation into Covid-19, so the world can learn the truth. We should build new alliances with countries – such as Japan and South Korea – that share our scepticism about China. And we should follow Tokyo’s lead and provide financial assistance for companies bringing production and assembly work back home, or in some cases to other low-cost countries such as Malaysia, Poland and Portugal.
Telegraph 19th April 2020 read more »