Document will aim to strike a balance between tougher stance against ‘concerning’ behaviour of China while maintaining cooperation in areas.
The Government’s Integrated Review of defence and foreign policy has been updated to include a reference to the threat China poses to Taiwan, The Telegraph understands.
A “refresh” of the document by Rishi Sunak to be published on Monday will attempt to strike a balance between taking a tougher approach against the “concerning” behaviour of China while maintaining cooperation in certain areas.
In March 2021, the Government published an Integrated Review of security, defence, development and foreign policy.
Liz Truss promised a refresh of the document in September, with Mr Sunak deciding to continue with the revamp when he took over as prime minister.
The review has been updated in the light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and is likely to set the direction for a rebuilding of the British army’s warfighting capabilities.
However, it will also take into account China’s increasingly aggressive foreign policy stance.
The original Integrated Review was criticised for not including a single reference to Taiwan, even though the island has faced growing pressure from China in recent years.
Last August, China menaced Taiwan with wide-scale military drills to coincide with a visit to the island by the then US House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi.
MPs on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee said that a “full-scale invasion” of Taiwan was “not unthinkable” and would expose the UK’s “strategic dependency on supply chains involving China across almost every sector”.
The committee warned that with a majority of the world’s semiconductors produced in Taiwan, any prolonged disruption in the region would be “far more damaging than the renewed illegal invasion of Ukraine”.
The Telegraph understands that the Government has responded to these concerns by revising the document to include Taiwan.
‘A more robust approach to counter threats posed by China’
It is understood that the review will set out a more robust approach to counter threats posed by China. However, it will not recommend that diplomatic channels are entirely cut off and will stress the country’s importance in international discussions around climate change and global health, including pandemic preparedness.
On Saturday Downing Street said the document would “address the grave risks from Putin’s Russia, the increasingly concerning behaviour of the Chinese Communist Party and hybrid threats to our economy and energy security”.
However, the review is still likely to disappoint China hawks on the Tory backbenches who want the Government to redesignate the country as a “threat”.
Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader, said that he wanted to see a “reversal of Government policy on China”.
He told The Telegraph: “I want to see the Government – of which Rishi is the prime minister and the leader – accept what he said when he was running for the leadership, that China is a systemic threat.
“The Government has got to make its mind up about China and stop sitting on the fence.
“They’re threatening to invade Taiwan and we say nothing particularly important about that.”
Sir Iain said that ministers remained “panic-stricken about upsetting China”. “The one thing China understands is strength, and right now they think the UK is weak and ambivalent,” he added.
‘China has no intention of meeting climate change demands’
He also dismissed the notion of cooperating with China on issues such as climate change.
“The idea that we’re told that China is going to help us out on the environment – not true,” he said.
“China has no intention of meeting those demands – their demands for energy come first. They’re burning dirty coal at the moment.”
He warned that if the document failed to set out a tough, detailed approach to dealing with China then a “significant number” of Tory MPs would ask “what’s the point of an Integrated Review when it doesn’t do anything?”
The Prime Minister will unveil the Integrated Review in the US where he is meeting Joe Biden and Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to discuss the next phase of the Aukus nuclear submarine pact.
Commenting ahead of his flight, Mr Sunak said: “In turbulent times, the UK’s global alliances are our greatest source of strength and security.
“I am travelling to the United States today to launch the next stage of the Aukus nuclear submarine programme, a project which is binding ties to our closest allies and delivering security, new technology and economic advantage at home.
“As we launch the 2023 Integrated Review Refresh tomorrow, this is the future we want to deliver – a UK that is secure, prosperous and standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our partners.”