The highest priority for any sovereign government is the protection of its citizens from dangers – foreign and domestic. We are counting on our government to be vigilant.

It is therefore disturbing to note how lax we have become since the end of the Cold War, despite the emergence of new international threats – notably those posed by the extraordinary rise of China and its ever tighter grip on business. global.

Beijing runs the world’s second most powerful economy and is a major trading partner for Britain and America. Many jobs depend on the huge investments he has made. China has found its place in Britain’s strategic telecommunications, in our universities and in our nuclear industry.

China and Russia are also expanding into Africa and South America, buying stakes in mineral resources and power distribution

Maybe our

Perhaps our Cold War “victory” and the collapse of the USSR made our leaders complacent in the face of other threats.

Influential figures in the West want us to treat the Chinese as if they are equally responsible members of the global community, ignoring the grave threat to our way of life that they already represent. But we must not be lulled into a false sense of security about China’s global agenda.

For example, it aims to control not only essential minerals, but also the sources of energy on which our daily existence depends. Despite its green rhetoric, China remains the world’s largest polluter, reckless at home and irresponsible abroad.

Meanwhile, our democratic institutions are threatened by the authoritarian “state capitalism” which it actively promotes around the world.

All of this must be called into question.

China’s strategy to expand its influence abroad – known internally as “unrestricted war” – was adopted with President Xi Jinping’s rise to power in 2013.

Its Belt and Road initiative, as it is called, seems fairly benign, but its goals are unmistakable.

China has sought to dominate other nation states using predatory business practices and unaffordable loans that leave country after country heavily in debt. With attractive offers to build infrastructure, China has gained control of critical resources, strategic land and access to distant markets. It seeks to dominate politically and economically through local dependence on Chinese goods and services.

Today, China owns 60% of Congolese cobalt, much of Chilean lithium (for batteries) and ports in Sri Lanka, Greece, Italy and other countries in Europe.

Russia has followed suit, with contracts to build four nuclear reactors in Egypt – deals that allow the Russian Navy to use the plants as refueling bases.

The Russians are building two more nuclear reactors – also with access for the Russian Navy – on the Turkish coast. Moscow already has a naval base in Tartus in Syria.

This set of sites will give the Russians real influence over the eastern Mediterranean and the Suez Canal.

China and Russia are also expanding into Africa and South America, buying stakes in mineral resources and power distribution.

Today, China has 96 ports in the world. Some of them are in key locations for maritime commerce – which also means energy trading – giving Beijing strategic dominance without having to deploy a single soldier, ship, or weapon.

This matters to Britain, as we will remain dependent on internationally traded oil and gas for many years to come.

Our nuclear power supply is also compromised. We have already enabled China to invest in the new Hinkley Point plant in Somerset and the proposed new reactor at Sizewell in Suffolk. And we’re still considering whether to let the Chinese build a reactor at Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex. It is certainly a security threat – allow the Chinese to be at the heart of such a sensitive sector for many decades to come?

Safe, clean and reliable energy is fundamental for every sovereign country. Without it, nothing grows. There is no industry, agriculture, education, housing, science or health. It is a major measure of a country’s national security.

Perhaps our “victory” in the Cold War and the collapse of the USSR made our leaders complacent in the face of other threats.

Certainly President Xi seems outwardly less belligerent towards the West than, say, Stalin or Khrushchev and China recognizes that a nuclear war can never be won and must never be waged. But the Soviet Union was a hopeless economic case. China is not and cannot be easily defeated or rejected.

Meanwhile, the lessons of the Cold War did nothing to lessen Xi’s appetite for authoritarian rule, human rights abuses, the attempt to reclaim “lost” territory – or ambition. imperial.

It is also possible that the fight against climate change has distracted Western governments. Yes, this is the biggest threat to the planet today and we need to find ways to reduce the amount of carbon we release into the atmosphere. This is the subject at the heart of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26) in October in Glasgow.

But here too, China is seeking to exploit the situation.

Today, it is the main supplier of wind and solar systems in the world. Yet the Chinese are just as happy to sell highly polluting forms of electricity generation, including coal-fired power plants.

Liam Renard

Robert McFarlane

Dr Liam Fox is the former Secretary of Defense and International Trade. Robert McFarlane is a former United States National Security Advisor

China is currently building at least 350 such factories, including seven in South Korea, 13 in Japan, 52 in India and 184 in its country.

Britain has all but phased out coal from power generation and now produces just 1.01% of global CO2, having reduced emissions by 35.6% since 1990, the world record.

In contrast, China produces around 29 percent of the world’s CO2 and has increased its emissions since 1990 by 353 percent. It can export such filthy technology with a competitive advantage because its manufacturing costs are so low, while undermining the climate goals it has committed to and flouting Xi’s bold claims to cut emissions.

It is telling that despite an extended deadline, China has yet to submit its updated emissions plans to COP26, which will be used to assess progress towards the legally binding Paris Agreement on CO2 emissions reductions. .

China has already acquired a dangerous influence over the British government. In 2020, when the UK decided to turn down China’s offer of its 5G mobile telecommunications system – due to built-in security threats – China immediately threatened to pull out of work on the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant, in which it is a major investor.

This highlighted the weakness of Great Britain.

The journey to meet our climate change goals cannot mean Britain becoming a client state - let alone such a dangerous foreign power as China.

The journey to meet our climate change goals cannot mean Britain becoming a client state – let alone such a dangerous foreign power as China.

We need abundant and constant electrical energy – something that wind and solar farms cannot provide on their own. There are times when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining.

That is why, if Britain is to remain a civilian nuclear power, it must not look to China for investments and solutions, but to its allies, in particular its fellow members of the Five Eyes Group – Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.

Fortunately, such a solution is at hand. The aim is to develop a new generation of nuclear reactors capable of providing an abundance of clean energy.

Rolls-Royce has supplied engines powered by nuclear reactors to the Royal Navy for decades. Our nuclear submarines work with such systems. The British engineering company is currently developing a new generation of Small Versatile Modular Reactors (SMRs) that will efficiently meet a variety of energy needs.

These remarkable systems will ultimately be factory built and assembled on site, putting the UK on a more solid footing.

The electricity they generate will be available 24/7 and will not emit an ounce of carbon.

More importantly, it will secure the strategic independence of Great Britain.

The journey to meet our climate change goals cannot mean Britain becoming a client state – let alone such a dangerous foreign power as China.

But we need more than wishful thinking. We still have time to act. Now is the time to do it.

Dr Liam Fox is the former Secretary of Defense and International Trade. Robert McFarlane is a former United States National Security Advisor.


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