Editorial:UK to increase nuclear warheads by 40%

【明報專訊】The United Kingdom has released its new foreign and defence policies for the post-Brexit era. The focus on the Indo-Pacific region and the increase in military capabilities are the centre of attention. The most controversial part is its plan to increase the number of nuclear warheads by as much as 40%. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace argues that strengthening the UK's nuclear deterrent is for the sake of counterbalancing Russia. As a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the UK has been a standard bearer of nuclear disarmament ever since the Cold War. Being on a moral ground too high in the past, the UK is of course inviting criticisms for its U-turn now on expanding the nuclear stockpile and fuelling the nuclear weapons race. The world is facing a once-in-a-century great change. Against the backdrop of serious rivalry between China and the US, players like Russia, Japan, Britain and Europe all have their own calculations and subsequent frequent moves. Now Boris Johnson's government wants to set ''Global Britain'' as the new position for its country to ensure that the UK has a role to play in the international stage. The thoughts behind this are reflected by the notion of ''leaving the EU and joining Asia''. The ''New UK'' sees Russia as the most acute threat to its security and China as a ''systemic challenge''. London wants to do business with China but it also wants to step into the Indo-Pacific region to subdue China in collaboration with the US. Its plan to expand the nuclear stockpile will certainly make Beijing warier of it.