The British government is considering expanding its military assistance to Taiwan amid heightened tensions with China.
Senior lawmaker Tobias Ellwood, chair of the British Defence Select Committee, said there is “much to explore” in boosting military aid, whether through weapons or intelligence sharing.
The UK has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but British companies have supported Taiwan in developing a new fleet of domestically-built submarines.
The lawmaker discussed Taiwan’s indigenous submarine program during his trip to the country in late November, but admitted needing to “learn more before saying anything publicly.”
It’s clear to see the threat of a China invasion (though not imminent) is real & increasing.👇 With huge comparisons for us from events in Ukraine.
A failure to prevent an invasion here would also result in far wider, long term, economic & security consequences pic.twitter.com/vEqltyX6SW
— Tobias Ellwood MP (@Tobias_Ellwood) December 1, 2022
Earlier this month, the British Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Alicia Kearns met with President Tsai Ing-wen to discuss defense cooperation between the two countries.
“We talked about the joint cyber threats that we all face from different adversaries, we discussed disinformation and of course we discussed traditional military conflict,” Kearns said.
Reviewing Foreign Policy
In mid-November, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak affirmed his government’s standing commitment to Taiwan. However, the government is holding off on a decision as it reviews the UK’s foreign, defense, and security policy.
“We stand ready to support Taiwan, as we do in standing up to Chinese aggression,” Sunak said.
Former prime minister Liz Truss had earlier pledged to work with allies to ensure the East Asian nation can defend itself in the event of a Chinese attack.
“We need to learn the lessons from Ukraine. The fact is, the free world didn’t do enough to counter Russian aggression early enough and Putin was emboldened to start this appalling war, and we can’t see that situation happen in other parts of the world,” she said.