Sunak attacks Truss over Beijing, her camp says he is 'soft on China'

‘s get-tough stance on China was last night called into question by his leadership rival.

As the former chancellor declared to be ‘the biggest long-term threat to Britain’, allies of accused Mr Sunak of being ‘soft on China’ and pursuing closer trade links.

Former party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, one of five British MPs sanctioned by China for speaking out on human rights abuses, said it was ‘surprising’ that Mr Sunak was claiming to be tough on Beijing.

Ahead of the leadership contenders’ first head-to-head TV debate tonight, Sir Iain – who is backing Miss Truss – said: ‘Over the last two years, the Treasury has pushed hard for an economic deal with China.

‘This is despite China sanctioning myself and four UK parliamentarians, despite China brutally cracking down on peaceful democracy campaigners in Hong Kong, threatening Taiwan, illegally occupying the South China Sea, committing genocide on the Uyghurs and increasing its influence in our universities.

‘After such a litany, I have one simple question to Mr Sunak: where have you been over the last two years?’ 

Conservative leadership candidates Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss traded blows over each other's stance towards China

Conservative leadership candidates Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss traded blows over each other’s stance towards China

The former Chancellor has been criticised for pushing for closer trade with China, despite the nation cracking down on peaceful protests in Hong Kong (pictured)

The former Chancellor has been criticised for pushing for closer trade with China, despite the nation cracking down on peaceful protests in Hong Kong (pictured)

Earlier this month, China’s state-controlled Global Times suggested Mr Sunak was Beijing’s preferred leadership candidate.While ‘most of the candidates hold a tough stance on China, only one of them [Sunak] has a clear and pragmatic view on developing UK-China ties’, the communist mouthpiece said.

In other developments: 

  • An alleged victim of former Tory whip Chris Pincher told the Daily Mail that Boris Johnson should not have been forced out because of his activities;
  • Mr Sunak faced questions over the legality of plans to house asylum seekers on ‘prison ships’ and place a cap on the number of refugees Britain accepts each year;
  • Miss Truss vowed to take on the European Court of Human Rights over its interference in the UK’s immigration system.
  • The number of Tory members backing a petition to have Mr Johnson added to the leadership ballot paper swelled to more than 9,000;
  • Mr Sunak said there was ‘absolutely nothing racist’ about wanting stronger borders, as a senior Labour MP suggested the Rwanda migrant scheme was backed only by ‘rabid, bigoted people’;
  • Miss Truss pledged to introduce ‘full-fat freeports’ to take advantage of Brexit;
  • The Irish government said the Rwanda migration scheme was resulting in asylum seekers going to Dublin instead.

The Foreign Secretary has taken a hard stance on China in the past, 'almost single-handedly' dragging the Government into a tougher position according to a source in her team

The Foreign Secretary has taken a hard stance on China in the past, ‘almost single-handedly’ dragging the Government into a tougher position according to a source in her team

A source in Team Truss said Mr Sunak was ‘playing catch-up’ on the China issue. Another said it was ‘remarkable’ that the former banker believed he had grounds to go on the attack over it.‘Liz has almost single-handedly dragged the Government into a tougher position on China,’ the source said.

Mr Sunak accused his rival of allowing Beijing to extend its propaganda machine into Britain’s universities through its Confucius Institutes, which he pledged to shut down.

Critics say the Chinese government-funded cultural centres are strangling free speech on campuses and spying on overseas students.Nine such institutes opened during Miss Truss’s two-year stint as an education minister, sources in the Sunak camp said.

Neither camp last night wanted to comment on mounting evidence that Covid might have leaked from a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan. But a source close to the Foreign Secretary said: ‘She doesn’t think the Chinese have been entirely forthcoming about how the outbreak started.’

Miss Truss and Mr Sunak will go head-to-head on BBC One tonight in the first live TV debate since MPs whittled the candidates down to two.Both sides view the debate as critical, with Mr Sunak’s team believing it may be his best chance to try to close Miss Truss’s opinion poll lead among Tory members who will decide the contest.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who has been sanctioned by China, says Rishi Sunak has been quiet on China in the past two years

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who has been sanctioned by China, says Rishi Sunak has been quiet on China in the past two years

Miss Truss is expected to use the TV debate to accuse Mr Sunak of lacking the experience needed to stand up for Britain’s interests on the world stage.

In a pre-emptive strike, the former chancellor last night issued a tough manifesto on China – and went on the attack over his rival’s record in office.

Mr Sunak said he would order MI5 to help British firms protect themselves from Beijing’s espionage, and seek to ban Chinese firms from buying UK firms operating in sensitive areas.

And he said he would work with US President Joe Biden and other international allies to face down Chinese threats to democracy around the world.

‘China is the biggest long-term threat to Britain and the world’s economic and national security,’ he said.‘Enough is enough. For too long, politicians in Britain and across the West have rolled out the red carpet and turned a blind eye to China’s nefarious activity and ambitions.’

Beijing have shown their preference for Sunak

Beijing have shown their preference for Sunak

As the Sunak camp tried to undermine Miss Truss’s ‘attempts to seem hawkish’, allies of the Foreign Secretary hit back last night, pointing out that she had been a leading player in galvanising Western opinion to take a tougher approach to Beijing’s imperial ambitions.

Neither camp last night wanted to comment on mounting evidence that Covid might have leaked from a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

But a source close to the Foreign Secretary said: ‘She doesn’t think the Chinese have been entirely forthcoming about how the outbreak started.’

The pair will go head-to-head on BBC One tomorrow in the first live TV debate since MPs whittled down the candidates to two.

Both sides view the 9pm debate as critical, with Mr Sunak’s team believing it may be his best chance to try to close Miss Truss’s opinion poll lead among Tory members, who will decide the contest.

Miss Truss is expected to use the debate to accuse Mr Sunak of lacking the experience needed to stand up for Britain’s interests on the world stage.

But in a pre-emptive strike, the former Chancellor last night issued a tough manifesto on China – and went on the attack over his rival’s record in office.

Mr Sunak said he would order MI5 to help British firms protect themselves from Beijing’s espionage, and seek to ban Chinese firms from buying UK firms operating in sensitive areas.

And he said he would work with US President Joe Biden and other international allies to face down Chinese threats to democracy around the world.

‘China is the biggest long-term threat to Britain and the world’s economic and national security,’ he said.

Rishi Sunak said China is the biggest long-term threat to the 'world¿s economic and national security'

Rishi Sunak said China is the biggest long-term threat to the ‘world’s economic and national security’

‘At home, they are stealing our technology and infiltrating our universities. And abroad, they are propping up Putin’s fascist invasion of Ukraine by buying his oil and attempting to bully their neighbours, including Taiwan.

‘They are saddling developing countries with insurmountable debt and using this to seize their assets or hold a diplomatic gun to their heads.They torture, detain and indoctrinate their own people, including in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, in contravention of their human rights. And they have continually rigged the global economy in their favour by suppressing their currency.

‘Enough is enough.For too long, politicians in Britain and across the West have rolled out the red carpet and turned a blind eye to China’s nefarious activity and ambitions.’

Last month she called on the West to arm Taiwan to help deter Chinese premier Xi Jinping from following Vladimir Putin’s lead in invading a sovereign neighbour.

Tonight’s TV debate is expected to focus on the economic differences between the two candidates to be the next prime minister.

Miss Truss has attacked the former chancellor situs slot gacor for a tax-raising approach that has ‘choked off growth’.She is promising more than £30 billion in tax cuts, including reversing Mr Sunak’s controversial hike in National Insurance.

Mr Sunak has accused Miss Truss of pursuing ‘fairy tale’ economics by promising unfunded tax cuts, which he claims will drive up both inflation and interest rates. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Powered by WordPress | Theme Designed by: axis bank bankmandiri bank bca bank bni bank bri bank btn bank cimbniaga bank citibank bank danamon bank indonesia bank klikmbc bank ocbc bank panin bank syaria hmandiri dana google gopay indihome kaskus kominfo linkaja.id maybank ovo telkom telkomsel