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in WESTMINSTER - In Committee "Defence concepts and capabilities: from aspiration to reality", Evidence Session No. 22 Heard in Public Questions 173 - 187
International Relations and Defence Committee Corrected oral evidence: Defence concepts and capabilities: from aspiration to reality

House of Lords

Held: 1st of November, 2022

Baroness Anelay (Chair)

I welcome to this meeting of the International Relations and Defence Committee in the House of Lords the Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP, who is Secretary of State for Defence.

International Relations and Defence Committee

Held : 1st of November, 2022

RESOURCES:

Baroness Anelay (Chair)

In Committee International Relations and Defence Committee

House of Lords

Held : 1st of November, 2022

Baroness Anelay (Chair)

Good afternoon. I welcome to this meeting of the International Relations and Defence Committee in the House of Lords the Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP, who is Secretary of State for Defence.

Lord Alton of Liverpool, Mr Ben Wallace

R

[EXCERPT] Mr Ben Wallace: "It is in China’s plan to reunify Taiwan to mainland China. That has been in its 50-year plan, or whatever the plan is called, so it is not a secret. Britain wants a peaceful process towards that. In 1971, the United Kingdom, alongside large parts of the international community, recognised the sovereignty of mainland China over Taiwan. A vote was taken in the UN and we took that view alongside many other countries. But the use of violence by a state that currently directly challenges our values of democracy and freedom is something that everyone is working to avoid and discourage. Taiwan is incredibly important, but the island chain politics is historically the big issue in the Pacific. There have been disputes around waters and fishing grounds for hundreds of years. The tensions between many of these countries are around freedom of navigation of the sea, and fishing grounds. Taiwan is a problem because, if China were to violently invade Taiwan, it would indicate a Chinese determination to break all the international laws about freedom of navigation and control of the Pacific. It is not for any one nation to control, and that is why these artificial sort of islands, or whatever they are called, that have popped up are an area of concern, because what follows is an attempt to coerce shipping away from it or, indeed, to strike through the international law of the sea, which is one of the most ratified UN treaties of all. About 100 countries have signed it, way more than have signed any other, so that is a concern."

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