China is “almost an enemy” of the UK, but the two nations are not in a cold war and it is still possible to trade with each other, a former MI6 chief has said.
Sir Richard Dearlove said it was possible to be “tough” on China and show that “you mean business when they interfere in your internal affairs”.
He continued: “But you can also trade with them. Look, this is not a cold war with China. We have intertwined interdependent economies that were not characteristic of our relations with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. It’s a completely different situation…”
Sir Richard said the UK needed to “make sure the Chinese understand absolutely clearly where our limits are” but stressed the importance of continued engagement.
He told Sophy Ridge on Sky News: “I have no criticism of [James] Go smartly to Beijing to talk to the Chinese. You need to talk to your competitors, let’s say almost your enemies. And I think it’s much better to try to talk to them than to isolate them.”
Sir Richard made the comments after it emerged that a parliamentary investigator was arrested on suspicion of spying for China. The parliamentary investigator has said he is “completely innocent”.
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