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UK wants closer ties with Indo-Pacific region — foreign minister

LONDON — Britain is committed to forming ever closer links with the Indo-Pacific region, including greater economic, security and defense cooperation, foreign minister James Cleverly will say in a speech in Singapore on Thursday.

Mr. Cleverly, whose trip to the region has also included visits to Japan and South Korea, will tell the audience of business, finance and academic leaders that Britain is set to have “the broadest, most integrated presence in the Indo-Pacific by 2030”.

Britain is seeking to join the trans-Pacific trade pact known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which removes 95% of tariffs between its 11 members.

“We intend to be the first European country to accede to the CPTPP – which will give the region access to the UK’s world-class financial services sector and the world’s sixth largest economy,” he will say, according to extracts of his speech released in advance by his office.

“We are also working closely with countries in the Indo-Pacific to drive prosperity and growth through new trade opportunities.”

He will also say that security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific is indivisible from Europe’s, welcoming Singapore and Japan’s decision to impose sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Mr. Cleverly will warn China that when it “departs from global rules and norms, when it aligns itself with countries like Russia – its standing in the world suffers. China will always have a choice about the direction it wants to take.”

“The UK government will always stand up for our sovereignty and economic security – and that of our partners. And no UK government will ever turn a blind eye to repression wherever it occurs,” he will add. — Reuters

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