UK PM Johnson orders for plans to end reliance on Chinese imports

Larry the Downing Street Cat (L) watches as Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson takes part in the 'Clap For Our Carers' initiative in support of the National Health Service (NHS) in Downing Street in London, Britain, 21 May 2020. Clap For Our Carers is an initiative started by Annemarie Plas where members of the public at 8pm on Thursday give a round of applause for key workers, particularly NHS staff on the frontline treating patients with coronavirus. EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has instructed civil servants to make plans to end UK’s reliance on China for vital medical supplies and other strategic imports in light of the coronavirus outbreak, The Times newspaper reported on Friday .

The plans, which have been code named ‘Project Defend’, include identifying Britain’s main economic vulnerabilities to potentially hostile foreign governments as part of a broader new approach to national security, the newspaper reported, adding that the efforts are being led by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

Two working groups have been set up as part of the project, according to the report, with one source telling The Times that the aim was to diversify supply lines to no longer depend on individual countries for non-food essentials.

Johnson told lawmakers he would take steps to protect Britain’s technological base, with the government review also expected to include personal protective equipment and drugs, the report added.

The development comes as Beijing has been tackling mounting international criticism over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, which began in China before spreading to the rest of the world.

Via Reuters/The Times

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