Secretary of State James Cleverly will reportedly warn of a new Cold War with China as he urges Beijing to unveil its “largest peacetime military buildup”.
In a keynote address to be delivered today at the Mansion House in London, he will urge Beijing to speak openly about its intentions behind its military expansion, the Telegraph reported.
However, Mr Cleverly will also argue that Britain must continue to work with China and that isolating the nation would be a betrayal of British interests.
He will say: “At this moment, China is carrying out the largest military build-up in the history of peace.
“I urge China to be just as open about the doctrine and intent behind its military expansion, because transparency is certainly in everyone’s interest and secrecy can only increase the risk of tragic miscalculation.”
He will add: “It would be clear and simple – maybe even satisfying – for me to declare a new Cold War and say that our goal is to isolate China.”
“Clear, simple, satisfying – and wrong. Because it would be a betrayal of our national interests and a willful misunderstanding of the modern world.”
China is expanding its nuclear missile silos, and the Pentagon reckons it will likely stockpile 1,500 nuclear warheads by 2035 at current rates.
The speech comes amid rising tensions with Beijing over fears it will launch an attempt to take over Taiwan, like Russia attempted in Ukraine.
Earlier this month, experts expressed fears China had cut Taiwan’s internet cables as part of a “dry run” to terrorize the country from a possible invasion.
Beijing has been accused of using its “dark fleet” of spy ships disguised as cargo ships or fishing boats to carry out the attacks.
The self-governing island is considered part of China’s territory and has vowed to reunite it with the mainland by force if necessary.
Chinese military activity around Taiwan has increased in recent months, with warplanes and ships simulating the lockdown.
But under the radar and far from its bellicose threats and saber-rattling, China has laid the groundwork for Taiwan’s isolation and eventual conquest.
Residents of the Taiwanese islands of Matsu, just 10 miles from the mainland, recently found that internet cables leading to Taiwan were cut again.
A Chinese fishing boat and cargo ship lurking in the area have been identified as suspects in the 27th such incident.
Rick Fisher, an expert on China’s military at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said cutting internet cables is a key element of any invasion strategy.
“In order to achieve an effective blockade of Taiwan and maximize the psychological pressure to force an early surrender, cutting underwater communications cables in the early stages of a Chinese invasion would be a very high priority.
“Any cutting of underwater communications cables to Taiwan’s offshore islands before the war would be a practice for the People’s Liberation Army.
“There is significant military value for China in cutting underwater communications cables from Taiwan’s offshore islands near China’s coast, as they harbor valuable Taiwanese intelligence-gathering sensors.”
A 2021 investigation found evidence that China’s state-owned fishing fleet may be a front for intelligence operations.