BORIS Johnson is at odds with Dominic Raab over fears more sanctions against China will spark an “economic war,” it was claimed.
The PM is said to be “panic-stricken” that following America’s firmer stance against Beijing will deepen Britain’s post-coronavirus recession – as the US Secretary of State piled further pressure on the UK to ban more Chinese companies such as TikTok.
Mike Pompeo called for the world to form a coalition aimed at changing Beijing’s hard line stance towards the West as he praised Britain’s banning of Huawei and reaction to the new security laws in Hong Kong.
Sources revealed that Downing Street and the Foreign Office are at loggerheads on how to deal with China.
A source said: “No10 are slightly at odds with the Foreign Office. Downing Street doesn’t quite follow – they’re panic-stricken about an economic war with China. They have a false concern.”
But Mr Pompeo presented a diplomatic front alongside Mr Raab, while a senior No10 source said the claims were “total rubbish.”
But in a meeting with Tory and opposition MPs he urged the UK to go further with sanctions on China.
One senior MP at the meeting said: “We all agreed that it’s time to build an alliance in the free world so individual countries can’t pick them off.
“The message was if you’re going to ban Huawei then you’re going to have to ban ByteDance – owners of TikTok.
“Mr Pompeo was pleased the UK has taken some steps to demonstrate their concern – the next stage is sanctions but he wants the UK to help the USA create this alliance of the willing.
“This isn’t about the UK; it’s about the UK helping to create a balance.”
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE
Mr Pompeo also told the group that the US had shared intelligence with No10 demonstrating the human rights abuses of the minority Uighurs population, so the sanctions could be imposed now.
He also warned the group that the US position on China was not going to change, regardless of who wins the race to White House in November.
Another senior MP at the meeting said: “He was making the point that even if Biden wins, nothing’s going to change.
“The Chinese will only act if they realise everyone’s united.
“We’re increasingly united and the next stage is to bring on board India.”
Speaking about Britain’s responses to Beijing at the Foreign Office, Mr Pompeo said: “I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the British Government for its principled response to these challenges.
“We support those sovereign choices, we think ‘well done’.”
He added: “We think that the entire world needs to work together to ensure that every country – including China – behaves in the international system in ways that are appropriate and consistent with the international order.
“You can’t go make claims for maritime regions that you have no lawful claim to. You can’t threaten countries and bully them in the Himalayas. You can’t engage in cover-ups and co-opt international institutions like the World Health Organisation.”
But Mr Raab insisted that the UK Government would not be pushed into a tougher position by Washington.
He said: “I don’t think there is any question of strong-arming – Mike and I always have constructive discussions.”
China has warned that Britain will “bear the consequences” of its actions over Hong Kong.
A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in London said in a statement Beijing had expressed its concerns over the UK interfering in Hong Kong matters “which are internal affairs of China”.
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