Boris Johnson lifts cap on United Kingdom stockpile of nuclear warheads

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited the National Express depot in Coventry, central England, Monday March 15, 2021.

The head of the British government announced that London is planning to continue defending the "integrity of [the] nation" in the face of state threats, pointing at China and Russian Federation as a potential source of challenges in this field.

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer said his party remains committed to the Trident submarine program and the maintenance of a credible deterrent, but he told the House of Commons that Johnson's plan to increase the armory "breaks the goal of successive prime ministers and cross-party efforts to reduce our nuclear stockpile".

There is an an enormous amount of noise around the apparent statement, in the government's "Integrated Review", that the government is increasing its stockpile of nuclear warheads by more than a third. The report labeled Russian Federation "the most direct threat" to Britain. "We will uphold worldwide rules and norms and hold Russian Federation to account for breaches of these, working with our global partners", Johnson said.

With an aim to expand its influence in the Indo-Pacific region while preserving its strong ties with the United States, the British government will be laying out the country's post-Brexit defence and foreign policy priorities on Tuesday, the report said.

Mr Johnson will travel to Delhi next month to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an indication that Britain is taking sides with India in its growing power struggle with China.

The Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier's long-planned deployment is expected to raise military tension in the South China Sea.

Britain also wants to become a dialogue partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

"As we champion an global order in which democracies flourish we will harness the fundamentals of the British approach to foreign policy and national security: a defence of democracy and human rights; the importance of our relationship with the USA; our constant work to keep the people of the United Kingdom safe from terrorism and serious organised crime; and our leadership on worldwide development - as we continue to be one of the largest aid contributors in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development)", a government statement said. "We need to grasp the opportunities of the next decade and deliver upon the government's priorities".

The review promises that Britain "will be a problem-solving and burden-sharing nation", although it is extremely vague about what that will mean in terms of policy.

Foreign minister Dominic Raab told Sky News Britain would like to have a positive relationship with China but not at the expense of upholding its values, saying that required a "calibrated approach" toward Beijing.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is ramping up criticism of Iran and Mainland China.

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