UK warns China is recruiting British pilots to train its military pilots
The UK government has issued a warning that China is set to recruit tens of thousands of pilots in the UK to give China access to its air defence system.
In a rare statement, the Department for International Trade and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills have warned that the vast expansion of China’s military in the Asia-Pacific region could lead to growing numbers of Chinese military personnel in the UK.
The warning follows a series of events over the course of the summer, including the arrival of PLA pilots on Luton airport and a PLA aircraft carrier heading for the UK.
The announcement came before the Conservative Party Conference where the Prime Minister Theresa May was set to deliver a major speech on the threat posed by China.
The announcement came during talks between Theresa May and the Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Hangzhou in June. The China State Council, a ministry of Chinese President Xi Jinping, issued a series of warnings in the Chinese language to countries who agreed to host China’s military vessels in their ports.
The UK currently has more than 30 military ships in its ports, most of which are based in China.
The statement warned that “in the run-up to the next general election, we will be making preparations with allies and partners to be mindful of the increased risk posed by China’s military expansion. We cannot be complacent while China is developing its military force and capabilities on the periphery of the Western Pacific. Our security interests are inextricably linked with the strategic and economic interests of our friends and partners in the region.”
It added: “At the same time, the UK Government is determined to counter the threat posed by China and its desire to establish its military presence in the Western Pacific. We will continue to work closely with our allies and partners to keep them safe and secure in the region.”
It’s not the first time Britain has been warned by the government on the threat posed by China, with previous