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China is likely to penalise the UK following the announcement, according to former US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power who detailed what actions Britain should prepare for. She noted that Australia’s persistance to investigate the origin of coronavirus led to penalties on their beef and barley. However, Ms Power said Britain would have regretted allowing Huawei and 5G from operating in the country.
Speaking to BBC Newsnight, Ms Power said: “I think it was very, very likely the UK would have regretted going forward with Huawei and the 5G network.
“There’s no question that China will seek to retaliate in some form.
“We’ve seen the penalties that they’ve exacted on Australia; on beef and on barley, in the wake of Australia’s initiative to launch an investigation with WHO on coronavirus.
“You can expect something.
“I do think China is aware that it is overstepping or at least some in the Chinese Communist Party appear to be alert to the fact that the intimidation approach is a fast way to lose friends and to mobilise opposition to what you’re seeking to do internationally.”
Her comments come as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday the United States wants to build a global coalition to counter China as he accused Beijing of exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to further its own interests.
President Donald Trump identifies China as the United States’ main rival, and has accused President Xi Jinping of taking advantage over trade and not telling the truth over the novel coronavirus outbreak, which Trump calls the “China plague”.
Mr Pompeo, on a visit to London, lauded Prime Minister Boris Johnson for ordering a purge of Huawei gear from its 5G mobile phone network, saying it was the right decision as data could have ended up in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.
The secretary of state cast China as an aggressor, saying it had made illegal martime claims, bullied Himalayan countries, covered up the coronavirus outbreak and exploited it to further its own interests in a “disgraceful” way.
Mr Pompeo said: “We hope we can build out a coalition that understands the threat and will work collectively to convince the Chinese Communist Party that it is not in their best interest to engage in this kind of behaviour.
“We want to see every nation who understands freedom and democracy. to understand this threat that the Chinese Communist Party is posing to them.”
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Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed their “serious concerns” about the situation in Hong Kong and about raising the issue of China’s actions at “G7 level”.
He told reporters at Lancaster House in central London: “We spoke today about our serious concerns about the situation in Hong Kong, particularly in relation to the national security legislation.
“We talked a bit about our UK offer to BNOs (British National (Overseas)), what we are doing in suspending the extradition treaty, suspending the arms embargo to Hong Kong – Mike gave me his perspective on it as well.
“We’ve co-ordinated together with the Five Eyes and we also discussed the next steps, including at G7 level.
“We also talked about ongoing discussions in relation to 5G and crucially how we can diversify our supply chains in relation to telecoms and the 5G network.”
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