UK to boost defence spending over China, Russia concerns

© Sergei Stepanov, AP

Britain on Monday detailed plans to bolster military and security spending to confront the "epoch-defining challenge" posed by China while also countering Russia, as London updated its strategic foreign and defence policy.

In a "refresh" of the so-called Integrated Review, the UK government identified "the threat posed by Russia to European security" as the most pressing short- to medium-term priority.

But the 63-page report – compiled after months of work across government – also labelled China a "systemic challenge with implications for almost every area of government policy".

"We cannot be blind to the increasingly aggressive military and economic behaviour of the Chinese Communist Party," Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said, as he unveiled the updated review to parliament.

Britain's top diplomat added Beijing was "stoking tensions" with Taiwan – the self-governing island which China considers its territory – and of trying to "strong-arm" other countries.

Responding to the twin threats posed by Beijing and Moscow requires stepped up defence and national security spending, both now and in the future, the review concluded.

It includes plans to spend an extra £5 billion ($6 billion) on defence over the next two years, focused on nuclear resilience and replenishing depleted ammunition stocks.

It also restated an ambition to dedicate 2.5 percent of annual GDP spending to defence, up on the UK's current 2.2 percent spending in the policy area.

'Push back'


Read more on FRANCE 24 English

Read also:
France, UK working on new deal to combat illegal migration ahead of summit
China announces military spending increase despite low economic growth
US Senate passes record $858 billion defense bill including aid for Ukraine, Taiwan