Liz Truss urges Rishi Sunak to designate China as a ‘threat’ to the UK and says he should make good on threat to crackdown on institutes teaching Chinese language and culture in Britain
In a speech in Taipei, the former PM was expected to challenge her successor to deliver on tough commitments he made during last year’s Conservative leadership contest – including clamping down on the network of Confucius Institutes teaching Chinese language and culture.
In comments briefed in advance, Ms Truss said: ‘Last summer, the now British Prime Minister described China as ‘the biggest long-term threat to Britain’ and said the Confucius Institutes should be closed. He was right and we need to see those policies enacted urgently.’
She said the UK’s Integrated Review, an outline of the Government’s national security and international policy, needs to be amended to ‘state clearly that China is a threat’.
In Government, Mr Sunak has adopted a policy of ‘robust pragmatism’ towards Beijing.
Liz Truss last night urged Rishi Sunak to formally designate China as a ‘threat’ to the UK, as she warned that the West must act ‘urgently’ to protect Taiwan from aggression
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said last month that engaging in a ‘new Cold War’ with China would damage the UK’s interests by making it harder to co-operate on issues such as global warming.
But Ms Truss last night said it was impossible to trust China’s communist leadership. ‘There are still too many in the West who are trying to cling on to the idea that we can cooperate with China on issues like climate change, as if there is nothing wrong; that there are bigger issues than Chinese global dominance or the future of freedom and democracy,’ she said.
‘But without freedom and democracy there is nothing else. We know what happens to the environment or world health under totalitarian regimes that don’t tell the truth. You can’t believe a word they say.’
In a speech in Taipei, the former PM was expected to challenge her successor to deliver on tough commitments he made during last year’s Conservative leadership contest
China claims Taiwan as its own territory and has threatened to annex the island by force. Pictured, president Xi Jinping
She added: ‘There are those who say they don’t want another Cold War. But this is not a choice we are in a position to make – because China has already embarked on a self-reliance drive, whether we want to decouple from their economy or not. China is growing its navy at an alarming rate and is undertaking the biggest military build-up in peacetime history…
‘The only choice we have is whether we appease and accommodate – or we take action to prevent conflict.’
Ms Truss’s visit has angered Beijing, which insists the island state is part of China and is feared to be gearing up to invade it.
She has also faced criticism at home, with senior Tory MP Alicia Kearns accusing her of engaging in ‘Instagram diplomacy of the worst kind’. But she has said Taiwan’s government, which invited her, is best placed to judge whether her intervention will help.