Trump official warns China plans to ‘dominate’ next century as conflict fears soar

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Mr O’Brien made the comment during an appearance via video link to HMS Queen Elizabeth, the British aircraft which is currently in Portsmouth. HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently hosting the 2020 Atlantic Future Forum, a security conference for western defence experts.

Relations between China and the US have deteriorated sharply over the past few years.

The two super powers have clashed over trade, COVID-19, human rights, Hong Kong and the South China Sea.

President Trump has angrily attacked Beijing over its failure to control the coronavirus, which he calls the “China plague”, and what he argues are exploitative trade practices.

Mr O’Brien took aim at the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which runs the country as a dictatorship, during his Atlantic Future Forum appearance.

He said: “The CCP is seeking domination in all domains and sectors and plans to monopolise every industry that matters to the 21st century.

“Most recently the People’s Republic of China used cyber-enabled espionage to target companies developing COVID vaccines and treatments in Europe, the UK and the United States all the while touting the need for international cooperation.”

There are growing concerns in the west about rapid technological advancements China has been making in the fields of AI, conductive polymers and regenerative medicine.

Earlier this year Boris Johnson announced Chinese tech company Huawei will be banned from operating on the UK’s 5G network from 2027.

A number of countries, including the US, have also looked at blocking Chinese mobile apps such as TikTok.

Mr O’Brien argued the west has taken a soft line on China for the past few decades, for example by allowing it to join the World Trade Organisation in 2001, on the false assumption Beijing would become more open and liberal.

He added: “Sadly, those are promises that to this day it has not kept.

“Instead the CCP leaders doubled down on their totalitarian approach and mercantilist, state-dominated economy.”

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COVID-19, which has caused over a million deaths and shutdowns across the world, first appeared in China in late 2019.

Initially Beijing attempted to suppress reports of the new disease, with a Chinese doctor who attempted to spread the world being targeted by police.

China later admitted to the World Health Organisation that it was fighting a new and highly infectious disease and ordered mass lockdowns.

During the Atlantic Future Forum Mr O’Brien claimed China’s response to coronavirus “erased any lingering doubts about its intentions”.

He also attacked Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative, a massive programme of economic development extending from China to Europe, as a “white elephant” based on “unsustainable loans”.

Mr O’Brien argued it is intended to make developing countries, in Asia and Africa, economically dependent on China and thus boost its political power.

He commented: “These countries’ dependence on Chinese debt leaves their sovereignty eroded and with no choice but to hew to the party’s line on UN votes and other issues.”

HMS Queen Elizabeth, along with her sister ship HMS Prince of Wales, is the largest ship ever commissioned by the Royal Navy.

She came into service in 2017 three years after being launched.

HMS Queen Elizabeth recently returned to Portsmouth from the North Sea where she had been operating as part of a new Carrier Strike Group, alongside other British, American and Dutch warships.

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