Analysis of British Strategy against China, Causes of its Escalation against Beijing

2023/06/10 | Economy, interview, top news

Strategic Council Online - Interview: An analyst of Europe affairs considered the harsh positions of Britain against China in line with the old policy of using political levers for exerting pressure to obtain commercial and economic concessions and said: In the current situation, Britain is no longer able to influence power relations at the global level in the domestic and international arenas, and for this reason, it is trying to prevent further decline in its global position by maintaining its strategic alliance with the United States of America.

In an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Abbas Sarvestani, while pointing to the intensification of British policies and positions against China, pointed out: Two opposing factors of economic attractions and security challenges have always cast a shadow on the relations between European countries and China, and for this reason, European countries try to adopt a pragmatic policy towards China; because, on the one hand, China and its rise are considered the most significant concern and future challenge of the world order, and on the other hand, they cannot ignore China’s prominent role in the global security chain.

Saying that Britain and Europe are trying to prevent China from joining Russia and forming a united Eastern bloc by applying the policy of “carrot and stick” against China, he added: British-Chinese relations have seen significant complications in recent years, which are caused by Economic interdependence, political differences, and concerns about human rights, national security, intellectual property theft, cyber security concerning tech giants, market access barriers, and unfair trade practices. However, creating a confluence of economic interests and national security considerations and creating a delicate balance between such concerns with the need to maintain a constructive dialogue is the most important approach of the new era of British pragmatic foreign policy toward China.

Sarvestani emphasized that economic interactions between Britain and China have grown exponentially in the past two decades, and the British government is also seeking to expand bilateral trade and investment.

The expert on Europe affairs, referring to the British Prime Minister’s statement that China is the biggest challenge to global security and prosperity, added: In line with this pragmatic policy, he emphasized that de-risking and economic cooperation with that country is necessary to achieve primary foreign policy targets of Britain. It should be kept in mind that such positions show the outlines of the strategy and orientations of the revised British foreign policy for a controversial and unstable world, which was published in a document in March of the current year.

He explained: According to the revised document of Britain’s comprehensive foreign policy, although the issue of Ukraine and Russia’s attack on that country is the most important security challenge for Britain in the short term; this foreign policy strategy document has doubled the UK’s focus on the Indo-Pacific region and states that rising tensions in this region can have more global consequences than the conflict in Ukraine. Of course, Sunak had previously considered China a decisive challenge to the Western-oriented international order in terms of security and value, whose aggressive policies have many consequences for all areas of the British government’s policy.

Sarvestani named Brexit as one of the underlying reasons for the publication of the new British foreign policy strategy and added: In the new direction of that country’s foreign policy, there are very few references to the European Union bloc, and Britain seeks to revive the Anglo-Saxon alliance against the European Union. For this reason, the middle of this document mentions the United States as Britain’s most important strategic ally and partner.

Emphasizing that the entire focus of the new British foreign policy is on the Indo-Pacific region, he stated: This region contains about half of the world’s population, accounts for 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product, and is considered the engine of global economic growth, and at the same time, it is the main center of intensifying geopolitical competition with several points prone to conflict.

According to the analyst of Europe affairs, although the new direction of British foreign policy and their decision to increase nuclear warheads and send the aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth to the South China Sea is disappointing for China, it is not to the taste of the European Union. The European Union considered this new strategy of its old incompatible partner and expelled member contrary to the principles of multilateralism, de-escalation strategy, and strategic independence. It considers itself contrary to the principles of multilateralism, the strategy of de-tension, and its strategic independence. However, in line with the policy of diversifying its trade relations and foreign policy, the European Union has always welcomed critical discussions with China. It is against the escalation of tensions and the use of harsh tools to control this global power.

Sarvestani considered the new British foreign policy document and China’s aggressive positions as London’s last attempt to remain in the group of big powers and maintain influence in the new world order and said: Britain’s exit from the European Union, increased tension between Russia and the West, the war in Ukraine and the rise of China and its influential role in all parts of the world led British politicians to the conclusion that they no longer have the appeal to convince countries not to cooperate with the Eastern Bloc, and these new issues are mostly rhetoric out of fear and concern about losing their position in the new world order.

He added: Britain’s new ambitions in foreign and defense policy, which has committed the government to increase defense spending up to 2.2 percent of GDP, can face the country with the challenge of providing defense resources and increasing economic dissatisfaction and strikes.

Saying that such stances are not new for China and there has always been a sinusoidal pattern in relations with Beijing depending on the ruling trend in London, Sarvestani clarified: In the era of Sunak, we have seen the rule of the dark side of the relationships. At the same time, the two countries achieved a golden era of relations during the premiership of David Cameron, and Cameron believed that they could use political leverage to help improve trade and investment.

He reminded: In the same period of dark relations, taking into account the restrictions of Britain due to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, London, which has a large trade deficit, needs Chinese investment in the production, services, real estate, and energy sectors; therefore, Britain’s harsh stance against China is in line with the same old policy of using political levers for exerting pressure to obtain commercial and economic concessions, and basically, Britain no longer can influence power relations at the global level, neither in the domestic arena nor in the international arena and is trying to avoid further decline in its global standing by maintaining its strategic alliance with the United States of America.

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