China: Sam Armstrong reveals ‘risk’ of strategic dependency
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Sam Armstrong from the counter-terrorism think tank The Henry Jackson Society has warned that Britain faces the “risk” of following into a strategic dependency on China. Mr Armstrong believes that the UK has been all too willing to allow China to increase investments in Britain’s critical infrastructure such as energy and technology. He argues that an over-dependence on Chinese companies may limit the scope and ambition of the Government’s Global Britain vision following Brexit.
Mr Armstrong told Express.co.uk: “Strategic dependency is a strategic constrainer.
“If we depend on China and we really on China it makes it infinitely harder both for us to speak out when China does things wrong, and for us to act on our own to improve the lot of our own people.
“If China has got greater control, and China has been very clear it would like the rest of the world to hold on to some certain domestic policies including on the environment, well it makes our capacity to move and alter those very very difficult.”
He added: “Depending on any other country for something that services what defence experts refer to as our critical national infrastructure, that sort of stuff that we really need to operate basically as a country is an incredible risk.
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“That not only jeopardizes our security but limits our capacity to act.”
Mr Armstrong argued the UK Government approach to tackling China “makes no sense” as despite standing up to Xi Jinping on the international stage with moves such as AUKUS, the British state is too willing to “hand the keys over” to Chinese backed firms operation in sensitive areas of the UK economy.”
Mr Armstrong told Express.co.uk: “The UK Government’s position on China makes no sense.
“On one level they recognised that they are engaged in locking up over a million Muslim people for no other reason than their religion.
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“For tearing up treaties, for breaking the basic norms of international navigation at sea, and for jeopardizing the future prosperity of our allies.
“So much so that we are prepared to literally open our deepest darkest secrets to our allies in Australia to help them build nuclear submarines for themselves.”
He continued: “Yet all the while we are welcoming in Chinese companies and handing them the keys to in essence be able to lock and shut us off.
“This strategic incoherency worries a lot of people myself included.
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“Because it suggests that the Government’s strategy is often about rising to moments when they come.
“Rather than actually have a plan to deal with China.”
Mr Armstrong has also warned that massive profits made off the UK’s energy grid are getting sent back to China.
He told Express.co.uk “No matter where you are in the country, unbeknownst to you the utility companies you pay for, that once upon a time would have been owned by the British taxpayer, are now likely to be owned by, at least to an extent, a Chinese or Hong Kong firm.
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