‘UK’s biggest threat’ Rishi Sunak savages Liz Truss for ‘rolling out red carpet to China’

Rishi Sunak slammed by GB News viewer that backs Truss

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Mr Sunak and Ms Truss, the foreign secretary, have fired shots at each other at the Tory leadership campaign rolls on. The former Chancellor unveiled his foreign policy stances on Sunday, saying he is ready to “face down” China and said Ms Truss and others have been weak on Beijing.

The former Chancellor said China is the “biggest long-term threat to Britain and the world’s economic and national security”, echoing the Director General of MI5 and the Director of the FBI.

Mr Sunak added: “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.

“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.

“I will change this on day one as PM. I will stop China taking over our universities, and get British companies and public institutions the cybersecurity they need.

“And I will work with President Biden and other world leaders to transform the West’s resilience to the threat China poses.”

As part of his foreign police, Mr Sunak said he would close all 31 Confucius institutes in the UK – the highest number in the world.

Several countries including the US and Sweden have started shutting the centres down over concerns they are used for spying.

Almost all Government spending on Mandarin language teaching is channelled through the university-based institutes, which led to claims it is promoting Chinese soft power.

Mr Sunak said he would ensure British universities disclose any foreign funding partnerships worth more than £50,000, and conduct a review of all UK-Chinese research partnerships which unwittingly assist China’s strategy to dominate the technologies of the future or that have military applications.

After the vague shot at the foreign secretary and other Western politicians, Ms Truss’ team fired back and accused Mr Sunak of being “soft”.

An ally of Ms Truss said: “Liz is the one who has the experience, the credibility and the resolve when it comes to Ukraine and China, which puts her at the hawkish end of the party, while Rishi is more at the dovish end.

“It’s a bit of a winner for us. Liz’s pitch is that this is a more dangerous time than at any point since the Cold War and she can put Britain in a leadership role on the world stage.

“She has called out China for using economics as a coercive tactic against other countries in a way that harms Britain and she raised this at the G7 summit.

“She doesn’t think we should cut off ties to China, but she wants to recalibrate, to diversify supply chains and make sure Commonwealth countries don’t become client states of Beijing.

“I don’t think Rishi is quite in that space – he still harks back to the ‘golden era’ of trade with China that David Cameron and George Osborne wanted, and has taken softer positions.”


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Also on Sunday night, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, former Conservative leader and co-chairman of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, said of Mr Sunak: “This ‘tough on China’ announcement is surprising.

“After all, 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: where have you been over the last two years?”

It comes as Ms Truss and Mr Sunak will have their first head-to-head debate on Monday night.

Hosted on BBC One, the pair will debate in Stoke-on-Trent at 9pm.

It also comes after a YouGov poll showed Ms Truss commands a large lead over Mr Sunak with Tory members.

Surveying 730 Tory party members, the pollsters found 31 percent of the membership intend to vote for Mr Sunak, 49 percent intend to vote for Ms Truss, 15 percent don’t know and 6 percent will abstain.

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