Dowden addresses MPs after call for China to be considered a threat – BBC

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The British government has a three-pronged policy towards
China.

The tag line is “protect, align, engage”.

The UK wants to protect its
national interests from Chinese threats, it wants to align with allies to agree
a collective position towards Beijing, and it wants to engage with China on
global issues such as trade and climate change.

The decision to name and shame
Chinese state affiliated actors for cyber-attacks on Britain forms part of that
first policy, namely protecting the UK.

And this is familiar.

In 2020 the UK
decided to phase out Chinese-made Huawei equipment from its 5G network because
of potential security fears.

In recent months, there has been a partial warming
in relations.

The then Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, gave a speech last
year emphasising the importance of engaging with China.

He also visited the
country, the first foreign secretary to do so in five years.

So the calling out
of the cyber threat from China will shift the dial the other way and prompt
angry denials from Beijing.

But it will probably not change the fundamental
basis of the UK-Sino relationship which blows hot and cold.

To some this
betrays inconsistency.

To others, inevitability.

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