China is becoming increasingly dangerous and UK must protect itself from spy tech, Rishi Sunak warns

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks during the London Defence Conference at Bush House, London. Picture date: Tuesday May 23, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Defence. Photo credit should read: Ben Stansall/PA Wire

CHINA is posing an increasingly dangerous risk to the West and the UK must protect itself from spy tech, Rishi Sunak warned today.

Addressing the London Defence Conference, the PM described China’s rise as an “epoch defining challenge”.

Rishi Sunak addressed the London Defence Conference today, where he warned about the dangers of an increasingly hostile China

But he insisted Britain shouldn’t cut all economic ties with the communist state.

Mr Sunak, freshly returned from the G7 Summit in Japan, said: “It is a country that has both the means and the intent to reshape the global order.

“Its behaviour is increasingly authoritarian at home and assertive abroad and in light of that we do need to take the steps to protect ourselves.”

The PM added that sensitive sectors, such as security and surveillance, should not use equipment owned by companies with links to Chinese officials.

“There are a limited number of very sensitive sectors of our economy,” Mr Sunak said.

“We want to take a particularly robust approach to semiconductors, for example, dual-use technologies, quantum, etc.”

At the conference the PM also raised hopes that the size of the British army won’t be cut.

In 2021 Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced troops will shrink to just 73,000.

Meanwhile, tanks will fall from 227 to 148.

The move triggered an uproar among Tory MPs.

But the announcement came before Russia’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine.

And today the PM said: “The Army will have a total force capacity of 100,000, split between regulars and reserves.

“Now the Defence Secretary is currently in the process of reviewing that. There will be a defence command paper issued shortly which will talk through all that.”

Mr Sunak vowed not to “second guess” the decisions military chiefs make.

He added: “What I can say, what we’ve delivered as a Government, is record defence uplifts.

“How that is best spent to deal with the threats that we face is a question that our military chiefs will make.”

The PM restated his commitment to hike defence spending to 2.5 per cent of GDP when the economy improves.

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