Relations between the UK and Russia and China have become strained over recent months and fears of a World War 3 outbreak have risen. But the Express.co.uk is asking who should Britain be more worried about, Moscow or Beijing?
After months of waiting, the report into Russia’s involvement in UK politics was finally released yesterday.
The Investigation and Security Committee (ISC) launched an investigation following suspicions Russia had interfered with UK elections and referendums.
Although claiming it would “difficult – if not impossible – to prove” allegations Moscow tried to influence the Brexit vote from 2016, the report lashed out at the government for failing to recognise a threat posed by the Kremlin.
Despite finding the Kremlin did not meddle with the Brexit referendum in 2016, the inquiry suggested Russia had influenced the Scottish independence vote back in 2014.
Who are you more worried about? China or Russia?
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab
The report said: “There is credible open source commentary suggesting that Russia undertook influence campaigns in relation to the Scottish independence referendum in 2014.”
But it also claimed no effort was made to look at the Kremlin threat to British democracy until after the Brexit vote.
Last week, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the Government is “almost certain” Russia sought to interfere in the 2019 general election.
He said the documents relating to a possible free trade deal between the UK and US were “illicitly acquired”.
Russian president Vladimir Putin
As well as a strained relationship with Moscow, tensions between the UK and China have escalated over recent weeks after Beijing pushed through the controversial Hong Kong security law.
On Monday, the UK suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong in protest at the Chinese crackdown in the former British colony.
China reacted with fury, with a foreign ministry spokesman warning: “China will make a forceful counter-attack to the UK’s wrong actions.
“China urges the UK to give up its fantasies of continuing colonial influence in Hong Kong and immediately correct its mistakes.”
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His comments come after Mr Raab said the UK government would not consider re-activating the extradition treaty.
He said: “We will not consider re-activating those arrangements, unless and until there are clear and robust safeguards, which are able to prevent extradition from the UK being misused under the new national security legislation.”
The former British colony maintained its autonomy from Beijing since 1997 when the UK handed Hong Kong back to mainland China.
But this year, the Communist nation introduced a new security law viewed as an attempt to end Hong Kong’s independence.
People protested the Hong Kong security law
Hundreds of people gathered outside the SOGO shopping centre on June 30 to protest against the new legislation, which criminalises secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson publicly condemned the move by Beijing and said the UK would have no choice but to offer up to three million residents a route to UK citizenship.
Although the UK faces threats from both nations, Iain Duncan Smith believes China is the greatest threat.
In his column on The Telegraph, Mr Smith said: “The issue of China and its totalitarian government has over the past few months also become starker and more urgent.
“Across a range of issues, Beijing’s behaviour has broken all international norms.
“Its imposition of a new security law on Hong Kong, contrary to the Sino-UK agreement, allows the Chinese security services to seize people they disapprove of and try them, very unfavourably, in China.”