GSF opinion piece by Sir Malcolm Rifkind: ‘China’s Future And Its Relationship With The Wider World’ – 29th April 2020

We are delighted to publish the first in our series of expert comment and analysis. As always, the views expressed are those of the author and not of GSF unless otherwise stated. The full version of Sir Malcolm Rifkind’s article is now available to download: ‘China’s Future And Its Relationship With The Wider World’.

6 thoughts on “GSF opinion piece by Sir Malcolm Rifkind: ‘China’s Future And Its Relationship With The Wider World’ – 29th April 2020

  1. I would love to raise the question of the nuclear power stations being funded by and now designed by the Chinese in Suffolk Essex and Somerset with Malcolm Rifkind.

    On 21 September 2015, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd announced that “China was expected to lead the construction of a Beijing-designed nuclear station at the (Bradwell) Essex site”. EDF’s chief executive Jean-Bernard Lévy stated that the reactor design under consideration is the Hualong One. On 21 October 2015, it was reported that Britain and China have reached Strategic Investment Agreements for three nuclear power plants, including one at Bradwell.
    On 19 January 2017, the UK Office for Nuclear Regulation started their Generic Design Assessment process for the Hualong One design, expected to be completed in 2021, in advance of possible deployment at Bradwell. The target commercial operation date is about 2030.[17]
    There are substantial concerns about Chinese government involvement in the project. State-owned China General Nuclear Power Group, specified as a designer and operator of the plant, is blacklisted by the United States Department of Commerce for attempting to acquire advanced U.S. nuclear technology and material for diversion to military use.

    I am particularly concerned that the Bradwell power station will be used as a seal of approval by the Chinese for their design and will be used to sell the things throughout Africa. As you know, after three years working for them, I am skeptical of Chinese capability to manage major Projects successfully and safely.

    A combination of Defective Design, Sloppy and Penny Piching construction and lackadaisical African maintenance (extensively described in the literature as a major problem) will end up with a Chernobyl in Africa.

    This is part of the general concern about the robustness of Chinese Infrastructure projects throughout Africa. I was struck when I was trying to buy Kenya telecom for the Libyans how much of the legacy infrastructure left behind in Kenya 50 years after the British left was still functional. I hear that Chinese built railways in West Africa fall apart in less than ten years.

  2. It is of great importance that we do not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    One of the most important emerging threats to the world is the rising toll of Antimicrobial Resistance. As the Chinese have 1 billion people any misuse of antibiotics will give rise to the return of 19th century diseases such as Tuberculosis and Gonorrhea, as well as the hospital acquired infections MRSA et al, and the Enteric Infections.

    We will need Chinese cooperation and support is avoiding emergent Drug Resistant Disease spreading in Africa.

    How will we manage this in the presence of Trumpian hostility and confrontational rhetoric? How do we cope for another four years if in some distopian nightmare the Americans (those left alive) reelect the incumbent.

  3. I think there is a worldwide reset going on, with both Brexit and the US-China trade war being evidence of this. Once the Brexit issue has been settled and there is a free trade agreement between the UK and USA then we may see the English speaking world form one of the two major power blocs in the world. The Anglo power bloc will rotate around the English language; the Five Eyes intelligence arrangement; and a common culture in the UK, the USA, Canada, and Australia.

    The other main power bloc could be an alliance between Russia and China which will dominate Asia. Left out in the cold will be the EU countries, having little military or financial influence. The French and Germans will just have to fend for themselves, which they may find difficult. There is very little point Western politicians getting worked up by liberal issues such as democracy, and human rights, in China. These issues are of course important, but the Chinese will find their own way of doing things, without paying much attention to us.

    • The President of france, The Bundeskanzler and I might disagree with this nostalgia for last century and Disneyland.

      By far the most interesting thing happening on the mainland is the rapprochment between France, Germany and Russia with the objective of integrating Russia in the EU and developing Russia’s economy together in Siberia , the Arctic and in Africa.

  4. Xi is a one party state dictator for life. The communist party is largely a transmission belt for his decisions. The capitalism which is allowed must operate within Govt controls and objectives. The media cannot hold him to account.
    China has adopted what is in essence a fascist form of government and Xi is the Leader/duce/caudillo/fuhrer – take your choice it’s all the same thing.
    Viewing China as an expansionist nationalist, even racist (Cf Uighers, Tibetans) state would allow appropriate policies to be formed. Viewing it as a slow coach Japan could be dangerously misleading.

  5. A comment on the piece by Sir Malcolm Rifkind, for whom I have a very great respect. I thought however that his argument omitted to mention that the successful South East Asian economies which he says all developed a generation earlier than China, all had the benefit of American or British investment or reconstruction funds, often (though not in the case of Hong Kong) conditional or contingent on the adoption of a ready-made blueprint for western liberal democracy. Nothing like this would conceivably have been available to China, the ideological enemy and a giant population far too big for the post-war US to cope with on top of Europe, Japan & the rest.

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