The United Kingdom is in "panicked" negotiations, seeking the restoration of the Five Eyes' body focusing on critical infrastructure such as communications and energy, known as the "Critical Five", after a five-year break, The Telegraph reported. The current report follows an earlier one by The Guardian that claimed that the Five Eyes could be expanded through the inclusion of Japan.
"Feverish discussion" on "Critical Five" restoration are allegedly taking place as the members of the alliance are concerned over what is described as "China’s artificial dominance of great swathes of the world economy" that "can’t be fixed without finally turning to our allies for help".
"Clearly, everyone is panicked. They haven’t met for five years, but fears over supplies and our ability to secure ourselves have grown so great that the governments are resurrecting this historic body in order to tackle security together," The Telegraph wrote, citing unnamed sources.
Alleged struggles to restore the "Critical Five" amid earlier reports by The Guardian that the possibility of Japan joining the alliance is being discussed as well, according to unnamed conservative MPs.
"We should look at partners we can trust to deepen our alliances. Japan is an important strategic partner for many reasons and we should be looking at every opportunity to cooperate more closely", Foreign Affairs Select Committee Chair Tom Tugendhat said, welcoming Japanese membership in the group.
Discussions reportedly included a new shared minerals security plan to prevent "dependence" on Chinese rare and semi-rare minerals necessary for the production of laptops, cameras and other tech supplies.
The restoration of the "Critical Five", if it occurred, could end a five-year-long hiatus, which is believed to stem from the members' failure to agree on what areas should be included in "critical infrastructure". The latter, when the group was established in 2012, was reportedly defined as "the systems, assets, facilities and networks that provide essential services and are necessary for the national security, economic security, prosperity, and health and safety of their respective nations".
The sectors that members agreed should be on the list reportedly included communications, energy, healthcare and public health, transportation systems and water.
The Five Eyes alliance envisages cooperation in signals intelligence, with the group seen by many as controversial. Edward Snowden, a former CIA agent, described the alliance as "super national intelligence organisation" that operates far beyond the laws of member countries.