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China has become more aggressive - UK Foreign Secretary

January 11, 2024

David Cameron believes that Beijing's attitude has gotten worse since he served as prime minister

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron has claimed that China has become more "aggressive and assertive" in the years since he headed the UK government and tried to build warm relations with Beijing.

Speaking in front of the UK Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday, Cameron, who was prime minister from 2010 to 2016, said that while there had been a lot of incentives for the UK to develop business relations with China in the previous decade, "a lot has changed" since then.

The diplomat pointed to China's alleged repression of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province, which Beijing denies, as well as its policies in Hong Kong and its "wolf warrior diplomacy" as some of the primary examples of the country's aggressive and assertive attitude.

Nevertheless, Cameron insisted that it was still crucial to engage with Beijing on various policy issues because China represented "a fifth of humanity."

"We're not going to solve climate change without talking with the Chinese. We're not going to work out the rules of the road on AI without at least engaging with the Chinese," Cameron said, noting that he believes this is the foreign policy the UK should pursue. 

Meanwhile, China reported on Monday that it had detained the head of an overseas consulting firm for allegedly gathering sensitive data on the Asian nation on behalf of the British Secret Intelligence Service MI6.

Beijing's Ministry of National Security accused the UK spy agency of hiring a man identified as Huang Moumou, who it claims was recruited by MI6 in 2015. He had allegedly been ordered to travel to China to collect state secrets and identify personnel to "incite rebellion." The ministry added that London had provided Huang with intelligence training in the UK and other places, and with special spy equipment.

The UK has so far declined to comment on the incident.

In October, however, the British Security Service MI5 warned of the "epic scale" of Chinese espionage, claiming that more than 20,000 people in the UK had been approached by operatives who sought to acquire various secrets. 

China has consistently denied that it is engaged in spying against the US and UK.


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