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Trump adviser John Bolton seeks to strengthen US-UK 'special relationship' with London visit

Rachel Tesler

White House national security adviser John Bolton will meet with British officials this week to fortify the U.S.-British "special relationship," during its monumental geopolitical shift.

As the U.K. poises itself to leave the European Union by Oct. 31, many diplomats project the country to further rely on its U.S. ally. Monday and Tuesday’s meetings will aim to solidify relations between Trump’s administration and newly-elected Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The British leader has said he will lead the U.K. to leave the EU even without a "divorce bill" by the late fall deadline.

Bolton is expected to urge Britain to U.S.-backed Iranian sanctions and to toughen its stance against Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei, according to Reuters.

Britain has been under pressure to take a more hawkish approach to Iran since its seizure of an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar in early July -- it was suspected the ship was marshaling oil to Syria. Later that month, Iran seized a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. The U.K. currently aligns with the European Union’s nuclear Join Comprehensive Plan of Action. Earlier this month, however, Britain allied with the United States in a maritime security mission in the Gulf to protect merchant vessels.

While a China-U.S. trade war rages, China’s Huawei next-generation 5G technology represents a national security risk, President Trump said. The U.S. president previously urged Johnson’s centrist predecessor, Theresa May, to draw a hard line against the technology, but London defied his advisement and gave the company limited access to non-core parts of the network.

Trump has criticized Huawei as a technological actor in the Chinese trade war, phishing for American data. He signed an executive order in May banning U.S. companies from using Huawei equipment and later lifted the ban after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, agreeing to a trade ceasefire at the G-20 summit.

Since Johnson’s campaign for prime minister, Trump has been his outspoken advocate. Trump plans to draft a U.S.-British free trade agreement to soften the blow of Brexit.

Many industries in Britain are preparing for a no-deal scenario including the imported food sector. Several companies such as Domino’s Pizza have reported spending $8.5 million to stockpile key specialized ingredients throughout the year’s end. According to government estimates, nearly 30 percent of British food is imported from the EU, compared to 4 percent from the U.S currently.

Experts predict fresh produce will become scarce and expensive in the early stages of Brexit. Trade ports will also be affected and the subsidies currently enjoyed by specialty sectors are invalidated. Several EU nations have prepared for their citizens living in the UK to transition and Britain has done the same for EU nationals.


Trump and Johnson are scheduled to discuss the free-trade agreement and meet later this month at the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France.

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