Vladimir Putin shouldn’t distract us from threat of China, warns head of Royal Navy

The head of the Royal Navy has warned that we shouldn’t let Vladimir Putin distract us from the threat of China.

Admiral Sir Ben Key is the First Sea Lord, who is the head of the Royal Navy. In his first public speech in the position, he has warned us not to let Vladimir Putin distract from the threat of China.

Don't forget about the 'tiger'

Key made the speech to the Council on Geostrategy think tank yesterday Tuesday 19 July at the Naval and Military Club in London. He said that his 'underlying message' was:

Focusing solely on the Russian bear risks missing the tiger.

As reported by Sky News, Key warned that Putin has created a new 'iron curtain.' This term was used to describe the divide between the Soviet Union and Western Europe after World War II until the end of the Cold War:

As we in the western militaries move to ensure we can deter further aggression along the border of easter Europe, Putin has, through his actions, created a new Iron Curtain from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

He then used a nautical analogy to urge us to 'take care to scan our binoculars across the whole horizon.' Because 'the risk of focusing solely on Russia is that you miss the long-term strategic challenge posed by China.'

China 'one of the great beneficiaries of this conflict'

Key reiterated that 'while we see Russia as the clear and present danger, China is posing the long-term challenge.'

He warned us not to underestimate China's military capabilities, as reported by The Times. This is because China has 'big ambitions' and was developing 'the world’s largest navy.' Indeed, Key cited the World Bank when he said:

China’s GDP is already ten times that of Russia’s. Last year China spent $293 billion on defence, growing their defence budget for the 27th consecutive year, whilst Russia spent $66 billion, less than a quarter.

He added:

I would posit that China is indeed one of the great beneficiaries of this conflict: if the West is learning lessons from Ukraine, we should be in no doubt so is the Chinese Communist Party.

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