COWARD: Boris Johnson warns Tories off cold war with China

Vote for Boris is a vote for China – would be a great line for Labour.

Human rights were out the window the day we continue to keep China in the UN and WTO, in other words the price of a human being is now down to how much tax revenue you can ‘suck’ out of them.

My advice? Forget your history with Russia and get them to turn their attention on Beijing.

Full article from the DeTimes newspaper below…

Boris Johnson said a new cold war with China would be a “mistake” as he faced a backlash from his own MPs today over plans to build deeper trade links.

The prime minister said that Britain had a balance to strike in its Chinese ties, adding that he was prepared to be “tough” in areas where there were risks.

A landmark review of Britain’s defence, security and foreign policy says today that China poses the “biggest state-based threat” to economic security and presents a “systemic challenge” to national security, prosperity and values.

However, the 100-page document, Global Britain in a Competitive Age, says that the UK needs to pursue a positive economic relationship with China, including “deeper trade links and more Chinese investment”.

Johnson told MPs: “Those who call for a new cold war on China or for us to sequester our economy entirely from China, which seems to be the new policy of the opposition, weaving as they generally do from one position to the next, are, I think, mistaken.”

He faced opposition MPs shouting “genocide” when he described China’s treatment of the Uighur people in Xinjiang as “mass detention”.

Senior Conservative MPs said that Johnson must “call out” the threats posed by China and avoid the “grasping naivety” of the David Cameron years.

Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons defence committee, warned that there was a “1930s feel” to the challenges of the new decade, with “rising authoritarian powers”, “weak” global institutions and an “absence” of western leadership.

Julian Lewis, chairman of the intelligence and security committee, noted how the UK wanted deeper trade links with China, adding: “Doesn’t that unfortunately demonstrate that the grasping naivety of the Cameron-Osborne years still lingers on in some departments of state?”

Jeremy Hunt, the former foreign secretary, said: “I am worried about designating China simply as a systemic challenge given the terrible events in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, so will he keep this under review?”

Johnson replied: “We’ll keep that under review. I think a balance has to be struck.”

Robert Clark, a defence fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, a think thank, said the review sent a “very confusing signal” regarding the UK’s strategy toward China.

The former defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon told Times Radio that the UK had to “wear two hats”: doing business with China and ensuring that it did not “abuse” its growing power.

Sir Alex Younger, the former MI6 chief, told the BBC that China represented a “generational threat”, adding: “The idea that China would become more like us as it got richer and its economy matured is clearly for the birds”.

Johnson also promised to reverse cuts on foreign aid, from 0.7 per cent of national income down to 0.5 per cent, when “the fiscal situation allows”. He faced criticism for not being more specific about a timeline.

Another key policy shift in the report is a move to using nuclear weapons against a state that threatens to inflict a devastating cyber or biological attack against its population.

A cap will be raised on the UK’s stockpile of Trident nuclear warheads from 180 to 260 warheads, ending three decades of gradual disarmament.

The report says that the UK will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against any non-nuclear weapon state that is party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons signed in 1968. The assurance does not apply to a state that breaches the treaty.

The report adds that the UK “reserves the right to review this assurance if the future threat of mass destruction, such as chemical and biological capabilities, or emerging technologies that could have a comparable impact, makes it necessary”.

Ellwood said that the UK appeared to be “blurring the lines in what constitutes a justified retaliation employing nuclear weapons to now include comparable chemical, biological and even cyberattacks”.

“This would be a profound advancement in our nuclear defence protocols and a reflection of how increasingly dangerous the world is becoming,” the former defence minister said.

A defence source said that a nuclear weapon was no longer needed to “dismantle a society” and the change took into account the prospect of a “cyber 9/11”.

The government had previously committed itself to reducing its overall nuclear warhead stockpile ceiling from not more than 225 to not more than 180 by the mid-2020s.

The decision to increase the stockpile prompted condemnation from some MPs. Stewart McDonald, the SNP defence spokesman, said that the violation of UK commitments to an international treaty “beggars belief”.

Defending the move, Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, said nuclear warheads represented the “ultimate insurance policy” against global threats.

The review contains four key chapters: science and technology; the open international order of the future; security and defence; and building resilience at home and overseas. Here are its main points:

Beijing poses the “biggest state-based threat” to Britain’s economic security and a “systemic challenge” to its prosperity and values, the report says.

China’s military modernisation and growing international assertiveness in the Pacific and beyond will pose an “increasing risk to UK interests”, the review warns.

Sensitive sites such as critical national infrastructure, including hospitals, power plants and water systems, as well as technology, will be made more secure to allow Britain to trade with an increasingly powerful China. But the review also says the UK will look to establish “deeper trade links and more Chinese investment” as it makes clear China’s growing economy is one that the UK cannot ignore.

Britain will work with other nations to expose disinformation from President Putin’s government

Russia remains the “most acute threat to our security” and the UK will work with Eastern European states to help build their resilience to the threat. A counterdisinformation unit will fund initiatives to expose disinformation in “Russia’s near abroad”.

Nuclear weapons
Britain will lift the cap on the number of warheads it can stockpile from 180 to 260 because of concern that other countries are “increasing and diversifying their nuclear arsenals” as well as the “developing range of technological and doctrinal threats”. The review warns that some states are now “significantly increasing and diversifying their nuclear arsenals”.

They are investing in new nuclear technologies and developing “warfighting” nuclear systems which they are integrating into their military strategies and doctrines and into their political rhetoric to seek to coerce others.

As a result, a previous government intent to reduce its overall nuclear warhead stockpile ceiling from not more than 225 to not more than 180 by the mid-2020s will no longer be abided by.

The review says in “recognition of the evolving security environment, including the developing range of technological and doctrinal threats, this is no longer possible, and the UK will move to an overall nuclear weapon stockpile of no more than 260 warheads”.

It changes the terms of when the UK will threaten to use nuclear weapons, saying this could be in the event of a state that does not have nuclear weapons threatening a chemical or biological attack or another form of attack using “emerging technologies” such as cyber.

Terrorists are “likely to” launch a successful chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack by 2030.

The review says that in Northern Ireland, there remains a risk that some groups could seek to encourage and exploit political instability.

It goes on to say that overseas poor governance and disorder “is likely to increase space for terrorist and extremist groups to operate”.

“It is likely that a terrorist group will launch a successful CBRN [chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear] attack by 2030”, the review states.

A White House-style situation room will be built in the Cabinet Office and a counterterrorism operations centre in London will combine counterterrorism, police, intellgience agencies and legal advisers.

Infectious disease outbreaks are likely to be more frequent as population growth drives the intensification of agriculture and as the loss of habitats increases interaction between humans and animals. “Another novel pandemic remains a realistic possibility”, the report states.

At least £6.6 billion of defence funding will be invested in advanced and next-generation research and development to deliver an “enduring military edge” in areas such as space, lasers and advanced high-speed missiles.

The Ministry of Defence will prioritise higher-risk research to support the modernisation of the armed forces. There will be a network of MoD innovation hubs within UK technology clusters to develop equipment. More detail about the defence strategy will be published in the defence command paper on Monday.

Use of reservists
As part of a national resilience strategy, there will be great use of the military reserves in supporting domestic national security priorities. The government will also consider how to extend this to a civilian reservist cadre for support in times of crisis.

The UK will improve its ability to test and develop capabilities through contingency planning and regular exercises, bringing together government, the emergency services, the armed forces, other local responders and industry. The armed forces will also continue to provide support to emergency responses through Military Aid to the Civil Authorities.

Tackling climate change will be a priority

Climate change and the environment
The UK “will make tackling climate change and biodiversity loss its number one international priority”.

An “unprecedented” programme of new investment will be rolled out which will take forward a ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution by funding British research and development in green technologies, and helping the developing world.

A new law will be introduced to prevent trade of products in the UK that contribute to illegal deforestation. The UK will also continue working to end the market for illegal wildlife products, strengthening law enforcement efforts and supporting sustainable alternative livelihoods.

Crackdown on research relationships with UK academia
There will be a greater effort to stop states from using research relationships with UK academia to steal intellectual property and obtain knowledge that could be used to develop CBRN weapons and their means of delivery, or advanced military technology. This will be made possible by improvements to the Academic Technology Approval Scheme.

Using intelligence analysis, the government will increase its knowledge of those who seek access to CBRN and advanced military and dual-use technology. “We will tackle proliferation networks and proliferation finance by identifying hotspots, routes and mechanisms for their transfer”, it states.

Protecting elections
An “election cell” will protect elections from disinformation and introduce voter ID at polling stations as well as improving online political campaigning with “digital imprints regime”.

The UK will increase its protection of democracy to ensure elections are “fair, secure and transparent”.

The election cell will provide a monitoring and response mechanism, and the cross-government counterdisinformation unit will identify disinformation being spread by individuals or hostile states.

Their work will include introducing voter ID at polling stations; improving the transparency of online political campaigning with a digital imprints regime; and introducing a new electoral sanction to tackle abuse.

Renewed efforts will be made to prevent Iran developing nuclear missiles

Iran plus the increasing use of proxies
The UK will make it a priority to continue to work with partners on a renewed diplomatic effort “to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and to hold it to account for its destabilising activity in the region”.

It says that the UK will hold Iran to account for its nuclear activity, remaining open to talks on a more comprehensive nuclear and regional deal.

The review warns that great power competition and the opportunism of states such as Russia, Iran and North Korea are “key factors in the deterioration of the security environment and the weakening of the international order”.

But it also says the UK faces threats from a wider range of states and non-state actors that use cyberattacks and disinformation “to target our citizens and exploit our openness for their own gain”.

The review warns states are increasingly working with non-state actors to achieve their goals, including as proxies in conflict.

“This affords them deniability and blurs the line between state threats and other types of security threats, such as terrorism and serious organised crime”, it states.

Cross-border migration is “likely” to increase over the coming decade, driven by a growing global population and climate change, instability and economic factors, according to the review. This will have consequences for many countries around the world, including Britain.