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Johnson warns against new ‘cold war’ with China

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Boris Johnson has warned Britain must not get drawn into a new “cold war” with China as he set out his vision for a post-Brexit foreign policy.

The Prime Minister insisted the Government’s long-awaited Integrated Review of security, defence, development and foreign policy offered a “clear-sighted” approach for dealing with Beijing

However, he faced criticism in the Commons from a series of senior Tory MPs as the 100-page review document called for a “positive trade and investment relationship” with China with co-operation on tackling climate change.

While it described Russia as the “most acute threat” to UK it was more measured in its language about China, saying it offered a “systemic challenge” to Britain’s security, values and prosperity.

Former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was “worried” about adopting such a mild designation given the “terrible events” in Hong Kong and Xinjiang province, where the government is accused of genocide against the Uighur minority.

Julian Lewis, the chairman of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, said it was a return to the “grasping naivety of the Cameron-Osborne years” when the UK ostentatiously courted Chinese investment.

And Tobias Ellwood the chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, called for a “Fulton Missouri moment” – a reference to Winston Churchill’s 1946 “iron curtain” speech – to “finally call out China for the geostrategic threat that it is”.

The aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth / PA Media

In response, Mr Johnson said Britain’s trading relationship with Beijing was worth some £81 billion and that, as the world’s second-largest economy, China remained a “fact of our lives”.

“Those who call for a new cold war on China or for us to sequester our economy entirely from China … are, I think, mistaken,” he said.

“We have a balance to strike, we needed to have a clear-eyed relationship with China. We will take tough measures as I have said to call out China for what they’re doing in Xinjiang.”

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