UK foreign minister seeks closer ties with Indo-Pacific region

Britain is seeking to join the trans-Pacific trade pact for greater access to Asian markets

Britain's Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly.  Reuter
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Britain is committed to forming closer links with the Indo-Pacific region, including greater economic, security and defence co-operation, Foreign Minister James Cleverly will say in a speech in Singapore on Thursday.

Mr Cleverly, whose trip to the region has also included visits to Japan and South Korea, will tell the audience of business, finance and academic leaders that Britain is set to have "the broadest, most integrated presence in the Indo-Pacific by 2030".

Britain is seeking to join the trans-Pacific trade pact known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which removes 95 per cent of tariffs between its 11 members.

"We intend to be the first European country to accede to the CPTPP, which will give the region access to the UK’s world-class financial services sector and the world’s sixth largest economy," Mr Cleverly will say, according to extracts of his speech released in advance by his office.

"We are also working closely with countries in the Indo-Pacific to drive prosperity and growth through new trade opportunities."

He will say that security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific is indivisible from Europe's, and he will welcome the decisions by Singapore and Japan to impose sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Cleverly will warn China that when it "departs from global rules and norms, when it aligns itself with countries like Russia, its standing in the world suffers".

"China will always have a choice about the direction it wants to take," he will say.

"The UK government will always stand up for our sovereignty and economic security, and that of our partners. And no UK government will ever turn a blind eye to repression wherever it occurs."

Updated: September 28, 2022, 11:38 PM