As UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to chair a meeting of Britain's National Security Council (NSC) on Tuesday, for the second time since the lengthy coronavirus lockdown, China is likely to be the main and only topic to be discussed, Sky News reported.
The scheduled get-together comes straight after the chair of the defence select committee, Tobias Ellwood, wrote to the prime minister, urging him to join efforts with the US on a new blueprint for global unity and warning of the intensifying rivalry with Beijing spilling into an "eventual conflict".
Ellwood suggested the idea of an "Atlantic Charter 2.0" be raised as a promising solution at the next NSC meeting, with the development first reported on Twitter by the Mail on Sunday's Harry Cole.
Sky News earlier reported that the UK is set to rethink its policy on China as views on the matter within the government purportedly divided in the wake of the pandemic.
The edition quoted Ellwood as pointing out in his letter that "national and international opinions regarding China are changing". He brought up the accusations, vehemently denied by Beijing, that China underreported its locals flare-ups of the novel disease late last year.
Ellwood: 'China Pursuing a Very Different Course'
He separately cited a decision by the Chinese government last week to pass a new security law for Hong Kong despite Britain and the United States opposing it, claiming China is violating human rights and freedoms.
"Western policy, to date, has focused on deepening engagement in the hope that China would evolve into a responsible global citizen that embraced hard-fought principles of liberty and open trade", Mr Ellwood wrote calling to "to face reality" and recognise that "China is pursuing a very different course that unless challenged could lead to a geo-political clash of ideology and potentially eventual conflict".
He urged Johnson to follow in the footsteps of Sir Winston Churchill and Franklin D Roosevelt who devised the original Atlantic Charter in 1941 after the outbreak of the Second World War, proposing a different, joint treaty:
"I believe it is time for Britain and the United States to once again step forward and coordinate allied objectives to prepare us for a long competition against China", Mr Ellwood said, welcoming the parties to design a new "defendable international architecture" with "an Atlantic Charter 2.0".
He outlined the purpose of the latter as being "to establish a fresh international framework to promote and defend human rights, democracy, and trade (including digital) in contrast to the closed model envisioned by Beijing".
Earlier, speaking in a video call with Politico, the senior MP stated that Beijing's handling of the coronavirus epidemic is prompting the UK to question its dependency on Chinese trade, as UK intelligence is reportedly revisiting a decision made earlier this year to partially let the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei into the country.
'Perpetrators Storming Parliament'
Amid speculation about a joint US-UK approach to China, the Asian country's ambassador to London dismissed talk of a "new Cold War" between Washington and Beijing, during a Sky News panel airing on Monday night.
"China is not the former Soviet Union", Liu Xiaoming said, going on to also defend Beijing's actions vis-a-vis Hong Kong. He insisted "it is not Chinese suppression", referring to what's happenening in the former British colony as "violence and a risk to national security".
"These perpetrators storm the parliament", Liu noted, before drawing comparisons with Britain:
"If the same thing happened in the streets of London, if the rioters stormed the UK parliament, what will the UK reaction [be]? The UK government and police would sit back and let these sorts of things go on?", he queried.
Several days ago, the United Kingdom said that it could seek to drop visa restrictions for people in Hong Kong, following new legislation by the Chinese government that forbids secession, sedition, foreign meddling, and gives China's state security agencies the power to work in the Special Administrative Region.
In response, the Chinese government said on Friday that the UK could face retaliation if Hong Kongers are offered a fast track to British citizenship.