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UK government to boost China expertise

FILE PHOTO: A worker adjusts British and China national flags on display for a signing ceremony at the seventh UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue "Roundtable on Public-Private Partnerships" in Beijing

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said it would double the funding allocated to building its Chinese expertise across government in response to growing concern over the security challenge posed by China and worries over Taiwan.

British foreign minister James Cleverly wants to boost the UK's Mandarin language skills, and said the additional financial support will be given to the "China Capabilities Programme" which operates across government departments.

"This extra resource will help boost knowledge and language skills across government, in the face of the systemic challenge that China poses to the UK's security, prosperity, and values," he said in a statement on Monday ahead of the publication of Britain's latest defence and security plans.

Britain said the Chinese Communist Party has become an increasing concern over the last two years, with worries centred over military activity over Taiwan and China's sanctioning of British lawmakers.

(Reporting by Sarah Young)