Former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) Rishi Sunak (left) and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss ?Photo: GT
The two remaining candidates for the leadership of the Conservative Party and the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom are competing over who can play the hardest against China in the election, and Rishi Sunak, the candidate who is seen as supporting a policy balanced, also makes harsh comments.
Chinese analysts have said Chinese policy in countries like the US and UK will not change drastically with leadership changes, and promoting the “China threat” remains one of the of the best options for these incompetent politicians to cover up their failures to push for effective reform to solve domestic problems, even though they know that China has nothing to do with their internal disorders, and in particular their economic problems, which concern most their voters.
Even though politicians clearly understand that fixing ties with China could help them relieve economic pressure to some extent or that damaging Sino-British relations will end up hurting the British economy more, the toxic political atmosphere makes those British politicians, who lack the courage or the wisdom to make effective change, are opting for the easy choice rather than the right choice, experts say.
Fostering Sinophobia and leading its people to believe that the UK should blame and fear China while it suffers from internal woes is utter nonsense but an easy choice, analysts said. They noted that the remarks of British politicians at this point serve their campaigns, so China need not take this too seriously, and what they do after entering 10 Downing Street is much more important. to monitor.
Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss clashed over who will take the hardest stance on China in the battle to become Britain’s next prime minister, as the two Tory leadership candidates prepared for a debate crucial TV show on Monday local time, the Financial Times reported on Monday.
Sunak, the former finance minister, said China posed ‘the greatest threat to Britain and the security and prosperity of the world this century’ and proposed a series of measures to reduce Beijing’s influence United Kingdom.
Responding to media questions about Sunak’s harsh words against China, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a routine press conference on Monday that he would not comment on the statement. election for the leadership of the British Conservative Party, which is an internal matter of the United Kingdom.
“I want to make it clear to some British politicians that making irresponsible remarks about China, including promoting the so-called ‘China threat’, cannot solve its own problems,” Zhao said.
Allies of Truss, the foreign secretary, said Sunak had been ‘soft’ on China and had until recently planned to hold a UK-China economic and financial conference for the first time since 2019, according to the FT.
When Sunak was finance minister in July 2021, he said Britain should strengthen its trade relationship with China, while admitting that efforts to reopen direct access to EU financial services markets had failed , and he also showed interest in seeking more financial cooperation with China, so observers said his image was a bit less harsh on China compared to Truss.
However, Sunak completely changed his tone before the debate with Truss. According to the FT on Monday, Sunak said he would ban all 30 branches of the Confucius Institute in the UK, arguing that the educational and cultural organization is being used by the Chinese government to promote soft power in UK universities. He also promised tougher use of new national security laws to protect UK tech start-ups from Chinese investment and a new “NATO-style” international alliance to tackle Chinese cyber threats.
Cui Hongjian, director of the European studies department at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times on Monday that for both candidates, at this stage, the key is to win the support not only of the elites, but also of the more conservatives. and grassroots conservative members who may not have much common sense when it comes to foreign policy. Since Truss is more in favor among these people, Sunak thinks he needs to be more conservative to win.
Sunak and Truss are vying for the support of around 160,000 Tory members who will begin voting in early August to choose their next leader, who will become Britain’s next prime minister at the helm of the ruling party.
Chinese analysts have said that the UK is currently facing serious economic problems, and if it further worsens its ties with China and affects bilateral trade relations, Britain will certainly suffer more, so during the election, politicians can say what they want to get votes, but they also need to remember what their priorities are after they get elected and what will happen if they actually deliver on their promises.
Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Monday that remarks made during elections in Western countries are not so important, and the key to observing the future of Sino-British relations lies in the question of whether there is any concrete impact on important existing projects such as the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.
The UK is now facing serious economic problems. According to the Guardian on Wednesday, the UK inflation rate hit a new 40-year high of 9.4% and could reach 12% in October.
A planned strike by more than 40,000 Network Rail workers and more than a dozen train companies will take place next week and will be the first such nationwide strike since 1995, the Guardian reported on Friday. On July 19 furious union leaders also signaled a wave of strikes in the coming months after the government unveiled below-inflation pay rises for millions of public sector workers, the FT reported.
In the face of such misfortunes, Britain’s new leader should not take reckless steps to damage China-British relations, analysts have said. According to European media Euronews in 2021, China overtook Germany to become the UK’s biggest import market, as trade in goods with European Union member states plunged due to Brexit. and the COVID-19 pandemic, according to official data.
According to the UK Office for National Statistics, total trade in goods with EU countries fell by more than 23% between the first three months of 2018 and the first three months of 2021, but only by 0.8% for non-EU countries.
However, due to the toxic political atmosphere, British politicians would rather take the reckless and easy decision to damage ties with China to please extreme conservative and populist forces, than be pragmatic and do the right thing to develop Sino-British ties, experts said.
Yin Zhiguang, a professor at Fudan University’s School of International Relations and Public Affairs, told the Global Times on Monday that “being tough on China is a strategy for US and UK politicians to cover up their systemic problem. of injustice and failure of reform, to mobilize internal forces to jointly target a so-called external threat.”
This strategy of expanding hegemony will not be altered by the transition of power within the Conservative Party, nor will it be undermined simply by economic pressures, Yin said.
“With the economic problems deepening, elites like Sunak and Truss may become more interested in using the ‘external threat’ to distract national attention from their incompetence and failure to make meaningful reforms to fix their systems. problematic social and economic issues,” he noted.