China’s ‘aggression’ laid bare as Jack Straw warns ‘we must stand up to them’ now

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Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab urged China to “step back from the brink” as he updated MPs in the Commons on the Hong Kong protests. This comes as seven former Foreign Secretaries wrote to Boris Johnson suggesting that he form a global alliance to coordinate a response to the China-Hong Kong crisis. Former Labour Foreign Secretary Jack Straw discussed how best the Government could approach handling the “very difficult situation” on Sky News.

Recently China passed a new security law, which many see as effectively ending Hong Kong’s independence.

Hong Kong, an ex-British colony, has maintained its autonomy from the authoritarian state since 1997, when it was handed back to China.

Mr Straw said: “It’s a very difficult situation handling a now very aggressive China, which is plainly, among other things, breaking the agreement.

“That agreement critically guarantees that Hong Kong was then given by China that it would be one country, but two systems.”

He continued: “The system forged for Hong Kong would be different from China, and also, for the utmost importance, that the independent judiciary and the rule of law would be sustained forever and day.

“One of the important things, which was a point being made in the letter that the seven surviving former Foreign Secretaries sent was that there should be an international contact group formed to widen the alliance against China’s position.

“Part of the thing that China does at the moment is to assert that Britain’s position is simply a handover from our imperial past.

“That the other countries involved the agreement on our side are all members of the Commonwealth and former members of the British Empire.”

The former Labour Foreign Secretary added: “Now this is an issue which goes very much wider than former members of the British Empire.

“It’s of great importance to freedom in the whole of the far east area. It runs into China’s aggressiveness in the South China Seas and so on.

“Although handling China is difficult, it’s a huge country with a great deal of economic and increasing military power, we do have to stand up to them now because they have changed the metrics in this game.”

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President Donald Trump has proposed withdrawing the special trading status that Hong Kong has with the United States, which would put significant economic pressure on them.

According to the Sunday Times, Number 10 is now reviewing the UK’s “dependence” on China and the agreement to bring Huawei into the 5G network.

Tom Tugenhadt, Tory MP and Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, told Sky: “There are really good examples of countries that we can learn from and partner with.

“If you look around the region, South Korea and Japan are also looking to stand up to Chinese pressure. Of course, Taiwan, which is a Chinese democracy. Let’s not forget that democracy is not inapplicable to China.

“It’s simply that the Communist tyranny has ruled it for 70 years. There are options here of how we look again at our relationship.”

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