Britain seeks out new friends in Africa, Asia and Latin America

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By Euronews  with AFP
Britain's Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs James Cleverly, November 2022.
Britain's Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs James Cleverly, November 2022.   -  Copyright  ANDREI PUNGOVSCHI/AFP or licensors

Britain's foreign sectary is expected to announce on Monday that his country must look beyond its "traditional" allies and develop partnerships with emerging countries. 

James Cleverly will underline the need for the UK to develop stronger relations with increasingly influential countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, according to a statement released Saturday evening. 

Cleverly's first major speech on Monday will be delivered a fortnight after British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak claimed the 'golden age' between the UK and China was over, with relations between them now based on "robust pragmatism".

Britain must develop relationships with increasingly influential countries which will "shape the future of the world", the UK's top diplomat will say. 

His planned comments come as the UK tries to find a place for itself in the world following Brexit, which disrupted the country's relationship with Europe, its major partner.

“In the decades to come, an even larger share of the global economy – and therefore of global power – will be in the hands of nations in Asia, Africa and Latin America,” Cleverly will say.

"I want our foreign policy to be constantly anticipating tomorrow, scanning the horizon, looking 10, 15 and 20 years ahead."

China and Ukraine

Ahead of his speech, Cleverly commented on Sunak's remarks about China, during a live interview on the BBC. 

He said: "China has threatened a number of those foundation stones that we feel are important and we will work with new friends and old friends to protect what we need to."

A diplomatic spat erupted between China and UK in October, after a Hong Kong pro-democracy protestor was dragged into the Chinese consulate in Manchester and beaten up. 

Cleverly said the UK had called the most senior Chinese official in the country and made it clear this was not acceptable behaviour. 

The UK's top diplomat also discussed the situation in Ukraine when facing the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg. 

He said it was not up to the UK -- or any other country -- to dictate the terms of a peace settlement between Kyiv and Moscow. 

"Ultimately we do want to see this resolved, we do want to see peace in Ukraine," he said.

Ukraine and Russia are currently at loggerheads over what a possible deal to stop the fighting might look like. 

Moscow wants to keep the Crimean peninsular, which it illegally annexed in 2014, and all the Ukrainian territory it has captured in the south and east. 

Kyiv flatly rules this out, wishing for Russia to exit the country completely. 

Cleverly said the UK needs to show Russia that "aggressions does not pay off."

"You cannot benefit from brutalising your neighbour", he added.