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Truss lacking in UK–China relations

Author: Tim Summers, CUHK, Chatham House

Britain’s prime ministerial campaign focused more on domestic affairs than on foreign policy, but China remained fleeting. Prime Minister Liz Truss has long promoted a more “hawkish” approach to China, commenting in the past that Britain should avoid it.relianceAbout the People’s Republic.

she suggested China to be declared national security threats and reportedly He called for a declaration of “genocide” in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in northwestern China. But after her final candidate, Rishi Sunak, declared China to be Britain’s greatest threat, the China issue was taken off the agenda of the leadership campaign.

The final result of the presidential election campaign was center of gravity of Britain’s political discourse on China against that of the United States and Australia. Whether or not the Truss administration implements some of her earlier comments, Britain’s China policy is a far cry from the characteristic pragmatic and nuanced approach adopted since the late 1990s.

There are many factors behind this ongoing change. Some have argued that China’s actions were a central factor, but it’s surprising how volatile the UK policy approach has been since 2010, when China’s trajectory was more stable.

The Conservative leadership’s campaign has shown that domestic politics will shape the UK’s approach to China. Truss isn’t the only one to rise to prominence by taking a hawkish stance on China. One of his leading candidates for Conservative leadership, Tom Tugenhut, has used the China issue and foreign policy to highlight his political sphere. He is now Minister of State for Security.

Those who want to succeed him as chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee will continue to pressure the government to strengthen its China policy. No votes for softer or more subtle approaches.

These changes will be amplified by lobbying groups trying to shape the debate about China in the UK parliament and media.Activists move on to next issue — Is the ‘Internet of Things’ I’m at the shooting range — due to increased government concessions to their lobbying efforts in recent years. Excluding Huawei from the 5G network is the most obvious example.

Another factor is the “Western” desire for unity, perhaps reinforced after the conflict in Ukraine. The previous UK government had already indicated its willingness to follow the tone set by Washington, either through the G7 statement or the AUKUS agreement. Britain’s relationship with Europe remains fragile, and the March 2021 Consolidated Review of Foreign, Defense and Security Policy has tied Britain’s destiny more closely to that of the United States.regardless of Think about “Partnership” Dysfunctional Washington subordination is the reality between the US and the UK.

A critical consideration of relations with the United States is not reflected in the discussion of China in Britain. Nor has there been much informed discussion or research about China itself. One of Truss’ last decisions as British Foreign Secretary was reportedly Cut funding to the Great Britain China Centre. Britain is no longer focused on China studies, and despite all the debate about Hong Kong, little policy research has been done on the former client territories.

result looks like A dwindling knowledge base and limited efforts to learn about China have created a void into which ideological approaches are willing to step. That makes it more difficult to assess how events in China have shaped the recent British policy debate.

Reports about Hong Kong and Xinjiang have dominated recent British media coverage of China, but there has been little room for critical public debate. is coming. These are the ideas that China is a significant ‘threat’ to national security and democracy and that China’s ‘influence’ in the UK is growing.

The most common evidence offered against these views is that impersonation China’s President Xi Jinping commented in 2013 as a statement of his strategic desire to “rule” Britain. but has neither the interest nor the ability to change the British political system.

investigate Discussions about China in the UK media and parliament deny the notion of China’s growing “influence”. It’s hard to find a positive statement about this country in many “debates” these days. What China may have had little influence in the past is in decline and unlikely to return anytime soon.

The new Truss administration may reconsider its China policy. If so, it should go beyond following Washington’s provocative rhetoric and ask what Britain’s aims are with respect to China, and assess the practical consequences of current policy.

If the UK government wants to promote climate security, it need to work with ChinaIf London wants to deal with inflation, trade with china It might help. A partnership with China, the world’s emerging innovation powerhouse, will boost Britain’s ambitions if it wants to foster research and innovation.

Such a practical approach is unlikely.of display of political egoism Using the death of Queen Elizabeth II as another stick to beat China is just another example of how ideology and politics trump pragmatism and national interests.

Dr. Tim Summers is an Assistant Professor at the Center for Chinese Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and an Associate Fellow of the Asia-Pacific Program at Chatham House.



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