William Hague savages ‘incoherent’ Europe for failure to stand up to China amid COVID-19 | World | News

European countries are failing to make themselves “strategically independent” from China and therefore becoming “ineffective”, according to William Hague. The former Tory leader took part in a debate over how international policy towards China must shift after the coronavirus crisis has abated. Mr Hague revealed that there are “two major pillars” necessary for a relationship with the superpower state, one of which many European nations had not adopted yet.

He told the Policy Exchange panel: “In my view this crisis reinforces the case for two major pillars to be established for Western policy towards China.

“The first arises from the fact that China isn’t going to play by our rules.

“That means that we cannot possibly be strategically dependent on China, in many respects including on technology.

“The other important pillar arises from the fact that we can’t solve global problems without China.”

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Mr Hague continued: “Global problems are some of our most pressing and obviously most existential.

“Indeed, the COVID-19 crisis is an example of such a dramatic world crisis.

“So we can’t be dependent on China but we can’t be without a framework of cooperation with China.

“We have to make sure we’re strategically independent but we have to have a way of working with China.”

Mr Hague continued: “The result is that the West overall is uncoordinated, incoherent and ineffective on this subject.

“Why is it so important not to be strategically dependent on China? Well that’s because clearly it has different politics, a different system, a different view of personal freedom and privacy of political democracy, of business competition.

“For a while I think we assumed earlier in this century that China would turn into a version of us, become a vast form of liberal democracy.

“Well that hasn’t happened. It isn’t going to happen in the foreseeable future.

“So we can’t be dependent on technology from China into the future and we can’t have supply chains that are dependent forever on China. That is exemplified by this current crisis.”

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