London: The diplomatic ties between China and the UK have soured over Hong Kong, Huawei and Coronavirus pandemic. China may launch a devastating cyber-attack, a ‘Cyber 9/11’, to get back at the UK, British ministers and officials warned. The UK, which has recently reprimanded China over Hong Kong, has begun an independent inquiry into the origin of the Covid-19 outbreak. At the same time, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is likely to announce the decision to ban Chinese telecom giant Huawei. On the sidelines of the developments, the said threat has emerged. China has launched extensive cyber-attacks on Australia and India, both of which have retaliated to the Chinese activities in the last month.
‘China may launch dangerous cyber-attack, just like the devastating 9/11 terrorist attack that was launched in the US. The Cyber 9/11 would cripple the communications systems and computer networks in the UK. The government offices, business sector and health systems would collapse,’ the UK ministers and senior security officials warned. The threat was said to have been voiced at a high-level meeting recently convened in the UK that discussed the risk China posed.
A senior UK official has admitted that the threat of a possible cyber-attack from China was discussed. ‘China’s Huawei is a significant worry and not taking a decision on it could turn disastrous for the UK’s national security. The decision may lead to serious consequences for the UK. We certainly cannot deny the possibility. It poses a threat for all sectors of the UK,’ a senior British minister said as he voiced his fears. Conor McGinn, an MP and Shadow Minister of the UK Labour Party has also expressed the possibility of a cyber-attack and has cautioned that the government needed to prepare to counter it.
Tobias Ellwood, the chairman of the Commons defence select committee, has also supported the notion of the rising threat to the UK from China. ‘China poses more of a threat to the UK than Soviet Russia did during the Cold War. Today’s China is much wealthier than the Soviet Union. China has charted out long-term policies that not even Russian leaders such as Stalin and Khrushchev could have ever imagined and is also fouler than Soviet Russia. Any notion that China can be trusted must surely have been dispelled following its initial – and disastrous – attempts to conceal the Covid-19 pandemic,’ Tobias Ellwood said as he drew attention to China’s threat.
The UK had reprimanded China over its mishandling of the Coronavirus pandemic. The country has also initiated an independent investigation into the matter and is in touch with the US on it. Simultaneously, the UK has adopted a hardline stance on China after the imposition of the national security law on Hong Kong and has decided to offer British citizenship to more than 2.5 million Hong Kongers. This week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is believed to make the decision on an announcement to ban Huawei.
The UK’s aggressive stance against China has disturbed the Chinese Communist regime. Also, Chinese Ambassador and Spokesperson have accused the UK of having a colonial mindset and cold war mentality, as even threatened it with severe consequences. On the other hand, Australia and India have responded with a tit-for-tat reply to the Chinese activities in the past few months and Beijing launched significant cyber-attacks on the nations. The cyber-attacks had sparked intense reactions internationally as well.
As fears of a comprehensive cyber-attack are being voiced, reports of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morison to have had talks with his British counterpart have also surfaced.