(TibetanReview.net, Jul25’22) – Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, competing to succeed Tory Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Great Britain, have clashed over who would take the toughest stance on China, reported the ft.com Jul 25.
Sunak, the former chancellor, has said China represented “the largest threat to Britain and the world’s security and prosperity this century” and proposed a series of measures to reduce Beijing’s influence in the UK.
In specific terms, Sunak has said he would ban all 30 branches of the Confucius Institute in the UK, arguing that the educational and cultural organisation is used by the Chinese government to promote soft power in Britain’s universities.
He has also promised tougher use of new national security laws to protect UK tech startups from Chinese investment and a new “Nato-style” international alliance to tackle Chinese cyberthreats.
However, allies of Truss, the foreign secretary, have said Sunak had been “soft” over China and that he had, until recently, been planning to hold a UK-China economic and finance conference for the first time since 2019.
And Truss, who is campaigning as a foreign policy hawk, has claimed she had been much more willing than the former chancellor to stand up to Beijing.
Besides, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, former Tory leader and a longtime China hawk, has said in response to Sunak’s comments: “I have one simple question: where have you been over the last two years?”
Sunak and Truss are the last two remaining candidates vying for the support of around 160,000 Conservative members who will begin voting in early August to choose their next leader, who as head of the ruling party becomes Britain’s next prime minister.
A winner of the contest will be declared on Sep 5, when MPs return from their summer break.