British Foreign Policy Group Event: What the UK can learn from Australia on China (and more!)

What the UK Can Learn from Australia on China (and More!)

On Tuesday, 4th February 2020, the British Foreign Policy Group welcomed three esteemed speakers for a panel discussion on what the UK can learn from Australia on China. Chaired by Sophia Gaston, BFPG Director, the panel brought together Alexander Downer AC, Executive Chair of the International School for Government at King’s College London and former Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs; Latika Bourke, Journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age; and Rana Mitter OBE, Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at Oxford University, Deutsche Bank Director of the Dickson Poon China Centre.

The panellists discussed the rise of China and what it means for Australia and the UK, as well as whether Australia has pursued a successful policy on China and what the UK might be able to learn from that. The panellists agreed that the UK should develop a more coherent strategy on China, with Alexander Downer suggesting that the UK does not ‘kowtow’ China like the Cameron government did. Rana Mitter noted that Britain does have many China experts within the Foreign Office, but this expertise should be utilised more effectively by the government.

In light of the growing security threat from China’s market dominance in the technology sector – for example through the tech firm Huawei’s construction of 5G networks in Europe – the panellists debated how the UK can best engage with China in order to have a successful trading relationship, without compromising on security. Alexander Downer recommended that the UK adopt a clear strategy and set of guidelines in terms of what they are and are not happy to have Chinese investment in, in order to effectively achieve this goal.

You can listen to the full event below. To receive updates on upcoming British Foreign Policy Group research and events, please sign up to our newsletter.

Flora Holmes

Flora Holmes is a Researcher at the British Foreign Policy Group.