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UK closer to ‘large-scale’ conflict than ever before as China is marked out as key threat | UK | News

Britain is closer to a large-scale conflict than at any other recent point as conflict in the Middle East worsens and Russia and China both look set to continue aggression.

A British intelligence official, speaking anonymously, has warned that a constant turnover of ministers was making it harder to rely on politicians to be well-informed about ongoing crises. They raised concerns that this may limit their ability to make intelligent decisions.

Asked if they agreed with Grant Shapps’ assessment that the UK was in a “pre-war” period, they told the Guardian: “Is there a likelihood of a large-scale conflict? Yes, there is. It’s probably more likely than it has been at any recent point.”

They added “the turnover of decision makers” was adding a particular difficulty to managing approaching conflict. Three prime ministers, four foreign secretaries, and two defence secretaries have served since late 2019.

The senior defence official added that senior officials and military leaders had a “responsibility to educate”.

A second defence official told the outlet Beijing was still considered the longer-term threat due to its size and technological capability. They said there were “storms in the Middle East and a hurricane in Ukraine but China is climate change”.

While an intelligence source recently told the Daily Mail: “We do not want to give a panicked message. We want people to understand. We are living in truly dangerous times. The likelihood of a large scale conflict at a point in the future is higher than it has been in the past.”

A naval military expert previously told Express.co.uk how Britain’s Armed Forces remain underequipped to cope with the “scale of challenges” the UK faces.

The news comes as China’s envoy to the European Union has condemned UK and US strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen after they attacked shipping vessels in the Red Sea.

Fu Cong insisted the strikes will “only escalate the tension and it’ll not guarantee or maintain the safe passage of the commercial vessels.”

While in December last year China warned of a response against the UK after new sanctions targeting “individuals and groups supporting and funding Putin’s war machine” were announced.

China’s embassy said it firmly opposes the sanctions and has warned any action harming China’s interests “will be met with a firm response”.

Forty-six new sanctions were announced by the UK. The list of targets includes businesses in China, as well as firms in Belarus, Serbia, Turkey, the UAE and Uzbekistan, which the government said “continue to support Russia‘s illegal invasion of Ukraine“.

New YouGov data shows that most Britons are now braced for WW3, with 53 percent thinking it is likely that there will be another world war in the next 5-10 years.

Only 31 percent of Britons think another global conflict is unlikely within that timeframe, including just 8 percent who think it is “not at all likely”.


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