Liz Truss has said she wants to build “a network of liberty around the world with like-minded partners” as she warned against the UK becoming “strategically dependent” on China.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, the foreign secretary said that China was an important trading partner for the UK.
But she said it was important not to become reliant.
Truss, who was promoted in the reshuffle last month and has been on a trip to India in recent days, was asked about the involvement of China’s state-owned energy company CGN in Sizewell C, and she said: “I’d go back to the broader comments I’ve made about diversifying supply.”
CGN is part of a consortium behind the planned new nuclear plant in Suffolk.
Truss said: “I think it’s very important that we don’t become strategically dependent and I think it’s important that we make sure that we’re working, particularly in areas of critical national infrastructure, with reliable partners.”
She added: “We are making sure, in all of our policy positions, that we are able to work with like-minded partners on key strategic areas.”
Truss also appeared to suggest to the Telegraph that the UK could not be dependent on China for 5G networks.
It follows the fiasco of the rollout of 5G in the UK, which saw Chinese firm Huawei ultimately excluded from the process on security grounds, leaving the country reliant on only two equipment vendors while causing a likely delay to the full installation of 5G networks.
She said: “It is very important that we don’t become strategically dependent on high-risk vendors in this space.
“There are other areas like quantum, artificial intelligence, cyber security where we need to make sure the partners we’re innovating with are reliable and there is a bond of trust there.”