The British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, announced this Monday an extraordinary investment of five billion pounds (5.7 billion euros) for the United Kingdom’s Defense budget for the next two years and the increase, to “long term”, of the country’s military expenses in the order of 2.5% of the Gross Domestic Product.
The announcement comes on the day that the Conservative Government will present, in Parliament, the most recent strategic review of its Foreign and Defense Policy, and that Sunak will meet with the North American President, Joe Biden, and with the Prime Minister. Australian Minister, Anthony Albanese, in San Diego, United States, to unveil plans for the implementation of AUKUS, the trilateral security partnership for the Indo-Pacific.
According to the British executive, the allocation of funds for military expenses, serves precisely to help finance the industrial and military program that aims to reinforce Australia with submarines powered by nuclear energy – everything indicates that the new Australian fleet will have design British and American technology.
Of the five billion pounds, Downing Street reported, three will be allocated to AUKUS plans – a security pact seen as a tool of containment by the People’s Republic of China in its wider neighbourhood.
The remaining two billion will be used by the British Armed Forces to replace the stocks of weapons and ammunition supplied to the Ukrainian Army, to defend itself against the Russian invasion of its territory.
“As the world becomes more volatile and competition between states becomes more intense, the UK must be ready to stand its ground. By investing in our Armed Forces, we will be prepared for the challenges of the present and the future”, justified Sunak, quoted in a announcement issued by the British Government.
“The UK will continue to be a major contributor to NATO and a trusted international partner, defending its values from Ukraine to the South China Seas,” added the prime minister. tory.
Requested by Sunak’s predecessor, Liz Truss, to update the level of threat posed by the Russian Federation in light of the military aggression against Ukraine, the 2023 Integrated Review of the Kingdom’s Foreign and Defense Policy will, however, interest, the way the country will refer to China.
In November last year, in his first major speech on the subject, Rishi Sunak said that the “golden age” of relations between London and Beijing – a term used in 2015 by David Cameron, former prime minister, and by George Osborne, ex-Minister of Finance, to put the bilateral relationship into perspective for the next decade – “it came to an end”.
Even so, he did not give in to requests from the more nationalist faction of the Conservative Party, which demanded that he label China as a “threat” to the United Kingdom, explaining that “one cannot simply ignore the importance of China in international relations”, namely in the concerning the “stability of the world economy” and “climate change”.
In that sense, and as Sunak hinted on Sunday, the Asian giant should maintain the UK’s “systemic competitor” label, as defined in the last review, of 2021, presented by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The revised document will be revealed this Monday at the House of Commons of the British Parliament, in London, by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, James Cleverly, who did not travel with Sunak to San Diego.
Despite the UK going through a difficult economic and energy crisis, it is likely that the prime minister’s critics within the party tory react with dissatisfaction to the investment announced for Defense, as they consider it insufficient in view of the existing geopolitical challenges.
The promise to increase military spending up to 2.5% of GDP, without a defined deadline, falls short, for example, of the 3% promised by Truss by 2030.