MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The United Kingdom warns of the risk of prosecution former UK military pilots that train Chinese servicemen and sees the practice as undermining the UK’s defense advantage, the defense ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.Earlier in the day, the UK broadcaster Sky News reported that China had recruited dozens of retired British military pilots to train Chinese troops on confronting Western warplanes and helicopters. Paychecks are reportedly reaching 240,000 pounds ($272,000) per year. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told the daily briefing that the ministry was unaware of any such recruitment schemes.“When former UK military pilots provide training to the People’s Liberation Army of China it clearly erodes the UK’s defence advantage. We are taking immediate steps to deter and penalise this activity,” the ministry said in a tweet.
Opinion & AnalysisWhat’s Behind UK Fuss Over Alleged Training of PLA by RAF Veterans?Yesterday, 17:49 GMTThe ministry will get in contact with the individuals to ensure that “they are fully aware of the risk of prosecution under the Officials Secrets Act,” and will review the use of confidentiality agreements to prevent such situations from happening in the future.In August, Liz Truss — the UK foreign secretary at the time — vowed to declare China a threat to national security and toughen the policy toward Beijing if she is elected prime minister.