China Growing Largest Maritime Fleets in the World: UK Defence Secretary

British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has highlighted new global threats such as those posed by the Chinese regime, and has pledged UK support for U.S. efforts to meet these challenges.

“We know China is growing the largest maritime surface and sub-surface fleets in the world,” he said on Wednesday. “And our competitors continue to challenge us in the grey zone between war and peace, especially in the cyber and space domains.”

UK defense Ben Wallace
UK defense Ben Wallace
Britain’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace arrives for a cabinet meeting, in London, on Oct. 13, 2020. (Simon Dawson/Reuters)

Meanwhile, he warned, melting polar ice is “opening up maritime routes at the top of the world, halving the transit time between Europe and Asia and increasing our vulnerabilities.”

Wallace made the remarks at the Atlantic Future Forum, a UK government-backed conference being held onboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier docked in Portsmouth, England.

He said an “integrated response” is needed to respond to these threats militarily, economically, and ideologically.

He stressed the importance of global partnership, as “none of us alone can ensure mass and persistence.”

China satellite
China satellite
A Long March 3B rocket carrying the Beidou-3GEO3 satellite lifts off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, China, on June 23, 2020. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

The China Threat

As the UK government conducts a comprehensive review of its foreign, security, and defence policy, a number of British security officials have recently identified the Chinese regime as a major source of threat.

Lt. Gen. Jim Hockenhull, the chief of defence intelligence, told British media last month that the Chinese regime “poses the greatest threat to world order.”

Gen. Sir Nick Carter, Britain’s chief of the defence staff, said China is seeking to “achieve dominance in the space and cyber domains,” and to defeat the West through attacks “below the threshold of war.”

chinese military hackers
chinese military hackers
Chinese soldiers work at computers. The Chinese regime’s cyberattacks against the West have continued despite cyber agreements. (mil.huanqiu.com)

MI5 Director-General Ken McCallum said earlier this month that national security challenges presented by China and other hostile states are “growing in severity and in complexity.”

Admiral Tony Radakin, Britain’s First Sea Lord, warned that, as Arctic waters open up, China’s navy could access the North Atlantic through the Arctic sea route, and pose a strategic threat to the country.

Burden Sharing

Hailing the United States as the “great guarantor” of democracy who has long shouldered the burden of Western collective security, Wallace pledged that “the UK is ready and able to share that burden—in NRead More – Source