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British MPs Plan Visit to Taiwan as China Resists Pelosi Trip

Houses of Parliament, London (photo credit: Y. Ballester/flickr)
Houses of Parliament, London (photo credit: Y. Ballester/flickr)

Britain’s House of Commons foreign affairs committee is planning a visit to Taiwan later this year – probably in November or early December – despite rising tensions in the region, the Guardian has learned.

It comes as London’s relationship with Beijing continues to deteriorate. Last week, the Conservative leadership candidates, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, articulated their tough positions on China. And China’s ambassador to the UK accused some British politicians of “peddling the fallacy of the so-called China threat” in a video remark.

Tensions have been rising in the Taiwan strait in recent weeks after reports of a possible trip to Taipei by the US House speaker, Nancy Pelosi. Beijing has repeatedly warned against such a move and has threatened to take “decisive actions” if the trip goes ahead. Pelosi is now on a trip to Asia, where she has scheduled stops in Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and South Korea.

The move is yet another sign that London is strengthening its ties with Taiwan as it now regards China as a long-term threat to the UK. Officially, Britain continues to stick to its “one-China policy”, which recognises Beijing as the sole legal government of China, but it keeps ties with Taiwan on an unofficial level.

At this year’s Aspen Security Forum, British intelligence chief Richard Moore said that China has now become a “top intelligence priority” for his organization. Mr. Moore told the gathering that the U.K. is “putting more effort into China… we now devote more effort to China than any other single subject”. This policy is a break from other European countries that have traditionally taken a softer approach to China.

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