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Britain’s Sunak promises to crack down on China if he becomes prime minister

#Britains #Sunak #promises #crack #China #prime #minister

Rishi Sunak on Sunday vowed to crack down on China if he becomes Britain’s next prime minister, calling the Asian superpower the “most threatening threat” to domestic and global security.

The former Treasury Secretary’s pledge comes after his rival in the last two races for leadership of the ruling Conservative Party, Liz Truss, accused him of being weak on China and Russia.

China’s state-run Global Times earlier said Sunak was the only candidate in the competition with “a clear and pragmatic view on the development of Britain-China relations”.

The Daily Mail, which appeared for Foreign Secretary Truss in the race to succeed Boris Johnson, called it “the endorsement nobody wanted”.

Sunak’s proposals include the closure of all 30 Confucius Institutes in Britain to prevent the spread of Chinese influence through cultural and language programs.

He also vowed to “throw the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) out of our universities,” forcing higher education institutions to disclose foreign funding in excess of £50,000 ($60,000) and to screen research partnerships.

– “Stealing our technology” –

Britain’s domestic spy agency MI5 would be deployed to help combat Chinese espionage, and he would seek to establish “NATO-style” international cooperation to combat Chinese threats in cyberspace.

He would also consider the case of banning Chinese takeovers of key British assets, including strategically sensitive tech companies.

Sunak claimed that China is “stealing our technology and infiltrating our universities” and “supporting” Vladimir Putin abroad by buying Russian oil and trying to bully neighbors including Taiwan.

He slammed China’s global “Belt and Road” program to “saddle developing countries with insurmountable debt.”

“They torture, arrest and indoctrinate their own people, including in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, in violation of their human rights. And they have continually manipulated the global economy in their favor by suppressing their currency,” he added.

“Enough is enough. For too long, politicians in Britain and across the West have rolled out the red carpet, ignoring China’s nefarious activities and ambitions.

“I’ll change that on Day 1 as a PM.”

– Persistent –

Sunak’s harsh rhetoric will no doubt please China-hawks in the Tory ranks, who have repeatedly urged Johnson to take a stronger stance against Beijing.

But it’s also a sign of how Sunak is desperate to push back Truss, who has put opinion polls well ahead in the crucial hunt for votes from the 200,000 grassroots Tory members.

A winner will be announced on September 5th.

Truss has similarly urged tougher action, urging the G7 to become an “economic NATO” against Chinese threats and warning Beijing of sanctions if they fail to comply with international rules.

Her allies lashed out at Sunak for not doing more as finance minister.

“For the last two years, the Treasury has pushed hard for an economic deal with China…despite China cracking down on peaceful pro-democracy militants in Hong Kong, threatening Taiwan, illegally occupying the South China Sea, committing genocide against the Uyghurs,” the former Tory said -Leader Iain Duncan Smith.

“After such a litany, I have a simple question: where have you been for the past two years?”

The pair’s focus on Beijing aligns with both MI5 and FBI warnings of a rise in Chinese industrial espionage in the West.

But the policy of the British government, when both Sunak and Truss sat in Johnson’s cabinet, has warned against China before.

In March last year, its Integrated Review of Security, Defense and Foreign Policy identified China as “the top sovereign threat to the UK’s economic security”.

Under heavy political pressure from Washington, the Chinese tech giant Huawei has been banned from participating in the expansion of Britain’s 5G network.

Laws have been tightened to make it more difficult for foreign firms to buy British companies in sensitive sectors such as defence, energy and transport.

Sunak himself called for a more differentiated approach to the China debate in July last year.

“That means speaking with an open mind about their increasing international influence and continuing to take a principled stance on issues that we believe go against our values,” he said.

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