Live news: China’s interests ‘not well served’ by aligning with Russia, GCHQ says

China’s global interests are “not well served” by aligning with Russia, the head of Britain’s intelligence, cyber and security agency said, as it would “constrain” the country’s global role and undermine its stated beliefs in territorial integrity and longstanding claim on Taiwan.

Jeremy Fleming, who leads the UK’s signals intelligence agency GCHQ, said: “We know both presidents Xi and Putin place great value on their personal relationships . . . but there are risks to them both, and more for China, in being too closely aligned.”

The risk to Beijing, Fleming said, is that it “wants to set . . . the norms for a new global governance” yet Russia is a regime “that wilfully and illegally ignores them all” even as China has its “eye on re-taking Taiwan”.

The risk to Moscow, Fleming said, is that “Russia understands that long term, China will become increasingly strong militarily and economically [and when] . . . their interests conflict, Russia could be squeezed out”.

Fleming’s remarks came a day after China said it reaffirmed its partnership with Russia and said it wanted to push bilateral relations “to a higher level”.

His comments were delivered at a lecture at the Australian National University in Canberra. Australia is a member of the Five Eyes intelligence sharing network that also includes the UK, US, Canada and New Zealand.

Fleming said Putin had underestimated western and Ukraine resolve and slammed Russia’s military ability in remarks that painted Moscow as a losing bet.

“We’ve seen Russian soldiers — short of weapons and morale — refusing to carry out orders, sabotaging their own equipment and even accidentally shooting down their own aircraft,” he said.


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