UK shifts foreign policy focus toward Asia post Brexit

London, Mar 16 (AP) Britain’s government said Tuesday it will prioritize engagement with Asian countries in the coming decade, as the country unveiled a major shift in the country’s foreign policy and defense priorities after Brexit.
The new strategy document envisions Britain tilting toward the Indo-Pacific region and becoming a bigger player there as the world’s geopolitical and economic center of gravity moves east to countries such as China, India and Japan.
Russia remains the most acute threat to our security,” the government said, but the language on China is more muted. While acknowledging the challenges posed by a more assertive China, the review said the U.K. plans to continue pursuing a positive trade and investment relationship with Beijing.
As part of the new policy, Britain is applying for partner status in the Association of South East Asian Nations, and Johnson will travel to India next month for his first major international visit since the U.K. left the European Union.
The Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth will be sent to the region later this year for its first operational deployment.
The review also paved the way for increasing the amount of nuclear warheads Britain has at its disposal to 260, reversing a move to reduce the stockpile to 180.
The document said a minimum, credible, independent nuclear deterrent remains essential in order to guarantee our security.”
The government said it will make climate change and preserving biodiversity its top international priority over the next decade.
The new priorities are the result of a year-long review of Britain’s security, defense, international development and foreign policy.
Tuesday’s announcement came after Johnson announced in November a 16.5 billion-pound (USD 23 billion) increase in defense spending over the next four years, focusing on the future battlefields of space and cyber rather than traditional resources such as army troops. (AP)