July 21, 2020
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Mike Pompeo Tells Tory MPs UK Needs Tougher Grand Strategy On China
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has told Tory MPs the UK must be less naive about China and develop a “grand strategy” for a tougher approach to Beijing, HuffPost UK has learned.
Pompeo held the controversial private meeting with China-sceptic Tories before talks with Boris Johnson on Tuesday.
Pompeo was said to be pleased about recent moves by the UK government to strip Chinese telecoms firm Huawei out of the UK’s 5G infrastructure and to make diplomatic moves against Beijing in response to its national security law in Hong Kong.
But the secretary of state told MPs that he wants to see the UK now adopt a harder “grand strategy” across Whitehall to counter Chinese influence in the West, a source said.
“It’s clear that the US wants the UK to move further and faster in this area,” they said.
Another source described Pompeo taking a “collegiate” approach as part of a mission to build a “coalition” of people with “significant concerns” about China and a “shared sense of values”.
Paraphrasing the secretary of state, they said his concerns were broadly that “China was a one party state, was not a friend to democracy, did bad things at home and we need to be less naive really about it, which I agree with.”
Pompeo is said to have told MPs that the West needs to be more “realistic” about Beijing.
Following Johnson’s subsequent meeting with Pompeo, No.10 said the pair discussed the situation in China and the need for members of the Five Eyes security alliance to work on the “technologies of the future”.They also spoke about “shared global security” and the situation in China’s Xinjiang province, amid fresh outrage over the apparent persecution of Uighur people after a video circulated online showing prisoners bound and blindfolded in a train station.
Frosty relations between the US and China led to president Donald Trump’s administration imposing sanctions on Huawei over security concerns – a decision that played a major part in the UK government’s move last week to demand that the Chinese technology giant’s equipment is stripped out of the country’s burgeoning 5G network by 2027.
Pompeo’s arrival also came after the UK not only suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong but also slapped an arms embargo on the territory in response to China’s national security law.
Britain has already offered citizenship to overseas nationals in Hong Kong who wish to flee amid fears of a crackdown by Beijing.
Backbench Tories have been pressing for a tougher approach to China, particularly in relation to its role in building nuclear power plants in Britain.
But the government’s U-turn on Huawei – a reversal of the announcement in January allowing it a limited 5G role – and approach to Hong Kong has left China aggrieved.
On Tuesday, China warned Britain will “bear the consequences” of going “down the wrong road” after the UK suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong.
A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in London said Beijing had expressed its concerns over the UK interfering in Hong Kong affairs “which are internal affairs of China”.
“Now the UK side has gone even further down the wrong road in disregard of China’s solemn position and repeated representations,” the spokesperson said in a statement on the embassy’s website.
“It once again contravened international law and the basic norms governing international relations and blatantly interfered in China’s internal affairs in an attempt to disrupt the implementation of the National Security Law for Hong Kong SAR and undermine the city’s prosperity and stability.
“China urges the UK side to immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs, which are China’s internal affairs, in any form.
“The UK will bear the consequences if it insists on going down the wrong road.”Related... Spy Agencies 'Didn't Do Enough To Protect Brexit Vote From Russian Interference' Boris Johnson's Refusal To Probe Brexit Vote Is 'Green Light For Russian Meddling'
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