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The event took place at the Institute’s Whitehall building with more than 100 attendees from academia, industry, the military and various parliamentarians. Speakers from across Europe, Asia and the US examined the growth of capability and the ambition of China through the prisms of international relations, global politics and economics, and military balance.
The conference found that there were contradictions between China’s foreign policy statements and financial investment in its naval forces. Beijing’s statements about peaceful coexistence, mutually beneficial growth and belief in the global system seem at odds with its current approach towards the rule of law, intellectual property rights, human rights and ecological damage. It is little wonder, therefore, that many are concerned about the future direction of Chinese foreign and security policy, given that Beijing is starting to amass the systems and tools necessary to challenge the global order from a military perspective.
Given the evidence outlined at the conference, delegates were left with the question of what Europe might do, or be expected to do, in response.