Damian Green: The West needs a ‘reset’ in relations with China

Monday, April 6, 2020

Former deputy Prime Minster Damian Green has called on Boris Johnson to “take a long, cool look at our relations with China” in wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking to Julia Hartley-Brewer, the Conservative MP also urged industries in the private sector to take stock, saying Britain had become “too dependent economically” on the country.

It followed comments he made in an article on Conservative Home last week, criticising China’s “delay in informing international bodies of the arrival of coronavirus” and its “slightly dubious attitude to statistics”.

Mr Green told talkRADIO: “It seems to me that our entire economic system is now dependent on global supply chains, most of which originate in China, and therefore that in itself gives the Chinese government huge power over our economy - so maybe this is a task for the private sector as well as the government.”

The Ashford MP added: “They are an old fashioned imperialist power…the combination of its sheer size, and its power, and its capacity to generate economic growth - which is hugely impressive - and the fact that it’s remained outside the rules-based system, means that not just Britain but frankly, the West, has to have a reset in its relations with China.”

Meanwhile, MPs on the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee has echoed Mr Green in urging the government and international allies to “confront and rebut” any coronavirus disinformation.

The committee said that as the country where the outbreak originated, China should have played a central role in collecting data on its spread and accused Beijing of instead seeking to “obfuscate” over what was really happening.

A government spokesman said: “Coronavirus is a global challenge and it's vital that countries come together to tackle this shared threat.

“The UK is coordinating closely with international partners to shield our citizens from disinformation so they can get the right information to protect themselves and save lives.”

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