Rishi Sunak declares UK-‘golden China’s era’ over

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By Creative Media News

In his speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet, the prime minister presents his views on foreign policy and redoubles his efforts to seem strong against China, after being criticized during the leadership race for being too soft on the Chinese government.

The “golden age” between the United Kingdom and China has ended, according to Rishi Sunak, who has urged for a new approach to the Chinese government.

At the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London’s Guildhall, the prime minister criticized China’s human rights violations but stated that the United Kingdom “cannot simply ignore China’s centrality in world affairs.”

Rishi sunak declares uk-'golden china's era' over
Rishi sunak declares uk-'golden china's era' over

Mr. Sunak was criticized during the leadership contest last summer for being soft on China, but he used his address on Monday to demonstrate that he will not stand for China’s actions, stating that China’s actions are not black and white.

As he outlined his foreign policy stance, he stated, “We must also modify our approach towards China.”

“Let’s be clear: the so-called ‘golden age is over, as is the naive notion that commerce will lead to social and political progress.

However, we cannot rely on simplistic Cold War rhetoric.

“We acknowledge that China poses a systemic threat to our values and interests, a threat that is intensifying as China pushes toward greater authoritarianism.”

In 2015, then-chancellor George Osborne echoed the Chinese ambassador’s declaration that China and the United Kingdom were in a “golden age” of bilateral ties. However, by 2020, relations had somewhat deteriorated under the administration of Boris Johnson.

Mr. Sunak acknowledged the ongoing rallies against COVID lockdowns in China, a remarkable occurrence in a country where demonstrations have not been regular since the Tiananmen Square murder in 1989.

He stated that the Chinese government “had decided to crack down harder” instead of listening to the people’s concerns.

Mr. Sunak was scheduled to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Indonesia during the G20 conference earlier this month, but the meeting was canceled because NATO members were forced to hold an emergency meeting following the bombing of a Polish hamlet near the Ukrainian border.

Both the media and British lawmakers must be permitted to report on human rights violations, such as those in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, “without consequence,” according to the Prime Minister.

However, he stated that the United Kingdom cannot “simply dismiss China’s importance in world affairs – to global stability or challenges such as climate change.

He said that the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, and “many others” also see this and that collectively they can “handle this intensifying rivalry, including through diplomacy and dialogue.”

“This is largely about enhancing our resilience, especially our economic security,” he stated.

The Prime Minister detailed the measures taken by the British government to prevent China from reducing its influence in the United Kingdom, including the addition of additional authorities under the National Security and Investment Act.

Two weeks ago, the government blocked the £63 million sale of semiconductor producer Newport Wafer Fab to Chinese-owned Nexperia, and Huawei’s 5G network was removed from the United Kingdom.

Mr. Sunak also stated that the United Kingdom is a nation that “stands up for its ideals and supports democracy through action and not just words,” but as the world evolves, “so does our application of these values.”

As he cited Russia and China, he stated that the UK’s “adversaries and competitors plan for the long term” and that the UK will “make an evolutionary leap in our approach.

The Prime Minister stated that the United Kingdom will increase the “quality and depth” of partnerships with like-minded nations around the world and that more information, including how the United Kingdom will collaborate with “friends in the Commonwealth, the United States, the Gulf states, and others,” will be released next year.

And just hours after meeting Olena Zelenska, the First Lady of Ukraine, in Downing Street, he stated that the United Kingdom “would stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

Mr. Sunak closed his address by declaring, “Under my leadership, we will not opt for the status quo. We shall change our methods.

“We will evolve, rooted in our unwavering belief in freedom, openness, and the rule of law, and certain that our interests will be protected and our principles will prevail in this time of challenge and competition.”

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