BRITAIN is seeking to form a deeper relationship with Five Eyes intelligence partners to end reliance on Chinese technology. Boris Johnson unveiled the change in foreign policy at the national security council but it has been reported the Cabinet is split on the issue. US officials visiting the UK in January suggested a Western-backed conglomerate …
BRITAIN is seeking to form a deeper relationship with Five Eyes intelligence partners to end reliance on Chinese technology.
Boris Johnson unveiled the change in foreign policy at the national security council but it has been reported the Cabinet is split on the issue. US officials visiting the UK in January suggested a Western-backed conglomerate as an alternative to Britain using Huawei in its 5G network but this was ruled out due to time constraints. However, a senior Whitehall source told the Mail on Sunday: ‘We have lost expertise in dozens of major markets like technology and science, hence why we got into the Huawei mess.
“The Chinese have just hoovered up.
“It is not realistic for Britain to go it alone and this malaise is not a uniquely British problem – it is felt across the West. So on this we are going to help our partners plug the gaps that the Chinese are currently exploiting.’
The coronavirus outbreak and the political situation in Hong Kong have caused Number Ten to want to “reset and rebalance” relations.
The Mail on Sunday added there was a split in the Cabinet over the plans to overhaul the existing relationship.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak warned against “putting up an economic wall” which would potentially hamper Britain’s GDP and economic recovery.
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary Alok Sharma backed up Mr Sunak.
Sources claim the two argued for a range of continued investments from China.
Home Secretary Priti Patel, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Foreign & Commonwealth Secretary Dominic Raab were said to have called for tougher reprisals on China.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss is said to have warned against damaging relations, but another insider claims she also spoke for the need to look at other Asian markets.
A source said: “The economic departments were obviously worried about their balance sheets.
“Rishi was reading from the Treasury’s script that we are all doomed if we don’t do as they say.”
An ally of Mr Johnson simply said: “The PM is trying to steer a moderate course between the China-bashers on the backbenches and those who worry about retreating into economic isolationism.”
The Chinese Embassy in London said: “We hope the UK will stay committed to free trade and openness and ensure an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies.”
Mr Raab discussed in the House of Commons the national security legislation proposed for Hong Kong commenting: “But I can tell the House, that if legislation in these terms, is imposed by China on Hong Kong, it would violate China’s own Basic Law.
“And it would be a clear violation of China’s international obligations, including those made specifically to the United Kingdom under the Joint Declaration.
“Let me also be clear about the approach the United Kingdom intends to take.
“We don’t oppose Hong Kong passing its own national security law.
“We do strongly oppose such an authoritarian law being imposed by China in breach of international law.”
Mr Johnson then wrote a column in the Hong Kong based South China Morning Post in which he said the UK was prepared to extend the rights of BNO (British National Overseas) passport holders to allow them to find security in the UK.