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Britain Calls China’s Secrecy Over Military Built-Up As ‘Tragic Miscalculation’

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James Cleverly, the foreign minister of the United Kingdom, will call on China to be more transparent about the causes of what he called the largest military build-up in peacetime history and warned that secrecy might result in a “tragic miscalculation”.

As a result of London’s restrictions on Chinese investment due to national security concerns and growing worry about Beijing’s rising military and economic aggression, relations between Britain and China are at their lowest point in decades.

Tuesday night, Cleverly will give a speech at Mansion House in London’s historic financial sector, where he will say that Britain is upfront about wanting to strengthen cooperation with friends in the Indo-Pacific and that China needs to be transparent about its goals.

According to excerpts given by his office, Cleverly will add, “I urge China to be equally open about the doctrine and intent behind its military expansion, because transparency is surely in everyone’s interests and secrecy can only increase the risk of tragic miscalculation.”

After Prime Minister Rishi Sunak declared the end of what was regarded as a golden age of ties under former Prime Minister David Cameron, Britain is readjusting its strategy towards China.

The leaders of France, Germany, and Spain visited China in the past six months and urged dialogue with the second-largest economy in the world, but the United States and Britain are taking a more aggressive stance against what they see as Beijing’s rising danger to their interests and values.

Cleverly will argue that attempting to isolate China would be a mistake and that collaboration is required in areas including combating climate change, preventing pandemics, preserving the economy, and preventing nuclear proliferation.

“It would be clear and easy – perhaps even satisfying – for me to declare a new Cold War,” he will say. “Clear, easy, satisfying – and wrong.”

But Cleverly will assert that if Beijing breaches international agreements or violates human rights, Britain would stand up for its national security interests and criticize Beijing. Cleverly will use his address to criticise how the Uyghur people are treated in Xinjiang, China.

He will charge China with creating “a 21st-century version of the gulag archipelago” and “locking up over a million people at the height of this campaign, often for doing nothing more than observing their religion”.

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