UK’s defence ministers warn against Chinese action

UK’s defence ministers warn against Chinese action

Boris Johnson and his ministers are going into the Nato summit with new warnings that the Russian invasion of Ukraine shows the need for extra vigilance and caution over potential Chinese action against Taiwan.

Liz Truss, the foreign secretary who is joining the prime minister at the Nato gathering in Madrid, was most explicit in her call for faster action to help Taiwan with defensive weapons, a key requirement for Ukraine since the invasion.

There is always a tendency and we have seen this prior to the Ukraine war, there is always a tendency of wishful thinking, to hope that more bad things won't happen and to wait until it's too late, Truss told the Commons foreign affairs committee. Her words went well beyond the standard government language on the issue.

We should have done things earlier, we should have been supplying the defensive weapons into Ukraine earlier. The sooner we do it, the better. Every piece of equipment we send takes months of training. Johnson has been more cautious about referring to China directly, but he said in comments on Monday that the impact of allowing a Russian victory would also be felt in east Asia. Johnson travelled from the G 7 summit in southern Germany to Madrid and asked if Taiwan needed more support.

He said it is important that countries around the world should not be able to read across from events in Europe and draw the conclusion that the world will simply stand idly by if boundaries are changed by force. One of the most important lessons we learned from Ukraine is that. Taiwan has governed itself since the Communist party took control of China in 1949, after nationalist forces fled to the island. Beijing considers Taiwan a rebel province and has threatened to retake it by force.

Truss promised to come up with a standalone foreign policy strategy for relations with China at the Commons hearing.

I am very happy to go away and look at this. I am very clear that we have a China strategy which I am currently implementing in everything I do, but in terms of a written document, I will go away and look at that, she said.