China needs befriending

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The Chinese have re-emerged as a great economic power.

They have begun to assert their own territorial ambitions, especially over potential oil deposits in the South China Sea.

We have to ask ourselves, are we in a situation as dangerous as that which started the First and Second World Wars for exactly the same economic reasons?

The First World War began partly because of world trade and a British idea.

Foreign competition was going to be kept out of the British Empire to protect British jobs with customs duties.

Levies on all imported goods were going to be spent on social housing, old aged pensions and other worthy causes.

But protectionism was a threat to jobs in the emerging economies of Germany and Russia.

The international situation ignited into the First World War as German and Russian ministers in 1914 both looked to secure their economic futures by conquest.

Japan attacked Pearl Harbour in 1941 following oil sanctions after its conquest of Manchuria.

We must avoid the mistakes of the past by befriending China and reassuring the Chinese there is no need for them to secure their future by the use of military strength in the South China Sea or anywhere else.

President elect Trump’s big idea of encircling the Chinese with a Russian alliance and protectionist economic policies in the USA is every bit as foolish as Britain’s protectionism was a hundred years ago.

The consequences for the USA could be every bit as disastrous as protectionism was for the British Empire which, as we all know, no longer exists.

Nigel F H Boddy,

Fife Road,

Darlington