19:21 GMT05 August 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The heads of the UK army, navy and air force have held consultations with ministers earlier this week to determine the country's security priorities and concluded that the focus in the post-pandemic world is going to be threats coming from China, the Financial Times newspaper reported on Saturday, quoting officials.

    "We need to work out how we will deal with a China that economically, technically and militarily is going to surpass the US within our lifetimes", Chair of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee Tobias Ellwood said following the talks, as quoted in the report.

    According to the report, what underlined Beijing's willingness for confrontation was its newly adopted national security law on Hong Kong and increasingly insistent territorial claims in the South China Sea.

    UK security officials reportedly expect it to be hybrid warfare, combining political and economic aggression with cyberattacks, rather than ordinary military confrontation.

    Among counter-strategies, as cited in the report, UK security forces consider greater use of artificial intelligence, enhancement of presence in Asia and betterment of relations with Asian allies on China's doorsteps, primarily Japan and South Korea.

    The full security strategy is due to be shaped by the military by the fall.

    threat, China, armed forces, pandemic, United Kingdom
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