The EU has been accused of “taking absolutely no action” over the looming threat posed by China. Speaking at a meeting of the European Affairs Committee this afternoon, Lord Stirrup warned that the EU is “saying the same things about China today as they were saying about Russia ten years ago”, accusing them of taking “no action” on the issue. The Committee saw MPs and peers discuss cooperation between the UK and the EU on defence.
Lord Stirrup expressed concern that the “lessons of Ukraine”, such as Russia’s grip on energy prices and food supply, will not be “applied in the wider sense”.
He explained: “Russia and Ukraine is the crisis that faces us now, China is going to be the crisis that faces us in ten years, twenty years.
“And the EU and other nations are saying the same things about China today as they were saying about Russia ten years ago – but taking absolutely no action.
“They took no action then and they’re taking no action on the China front now.”
Tobias Ellwood, Chair of the defence Select Committee, said that China poses a “complex and systematic challenge” to the West.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, he warned it “has its eyes on Taiwan” and “it will do that with an ever-growing Chinese airforce”.
This came as British defence intelligence issued a rare “threat alert”, after it was revealed that China’s military was trying to recruit serving and former RAF jet pilots to help train its own air force.
Mr Ellwood called on the Government to go further, saying: “We should not be allowing RAF veterans to be recruited by China.
“British citizens should know better given the breach in trust between our two countries and the long-term threats China now poses to Western security.
“I would advocate that any former RAF personnel that are working with China in this context, to train Chinese pilots to take on western pilots, should be stripped of their British citizenships.”
A US assessment published last year concluded that China’s president, Xi Jinping plans to modernize the People’s Liberation Army by 2035 and transform it into a “world-class” military by 2049.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, speaking after Mr Xinping was elected to a historic third term in office, warned: “We’re witnessing quite an acceleration of trends and tensions.
“We’ve seen that President Xi is continuing to reassert the very assertive and self-reliant course China has taken.”