Treat China as a 'threat' to national security, Liz Truss warns Rishi Sunak during trip to Taiwan

17 May 2023, 07:15

Liz Truss has branded China "the largest threat that we face to the free world"
Liz Truss has branded China "the largest threat that we face to the free world". Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Liz Truss has branded China "the largest threat that we face to the free world" as she urged the government to reduce dependance on Beijing.

Ms Truss, who is Britain's shortest-serving prime minister, warned against capitulating to "rhetorical bullying from authoritarian regimes" while on a trip to Taiwan.

Appearing at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit ahead of a high-profile visit to Taiwan, Ms Truss said: "There's no doubt that the entire western world including the United States, including Europe, including the UK, has become too dependent on China, and that's a problem because it's given China leverage over us, and it's also a problem economically.

"Yes, the UK needs to take more action but it's not just the UK, it's the continent of Europe, it's the United States."

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Former British Prime Minister Liz Truss in Taiwan
Former British Prime Minister Liz Truss in Taiwan. Picture: Getty

A Chinese communist party official previously told LBC that Liz Truss' planned trip to Taiwan could lead towards China "exercising jurisdiction" over the island.

Victor Gao, a spokesperson for the ruling Chinese communist party, hit out at the ex-PM in an interview with LBC's Andrew Marr, saying her visit "will have no constructive purposes at all".

Taiwan believes it is a sovereign state, while China views it as a breakaway province that will eventually be controlled by Beijing.

Read More: Liz Truss' Taiwan trip makes Chinese 'reunification' with island more likely, Beijing spokesman threatens

Read More: China tells US to ‘reflect deeply’ over downturn in relations

Asked about her own stance on Beijing compared with the less hawkish position of her successor, she said: "I stand by my assertion that we should designate China as a threat.

"I think they're a very clear threat. I think they're the largest threat that we face to the free world."

Meanwhile, addressing the ongoing war in Ukraine, Ms Truss said: "I think we are sending extra long-range weapons - that is very welcome.

"I've said I want to see us sending fighter jets to Ukraine - I know we're supplying training on that... but we've got to focus on Ukraine, we also need to focus on the threat from China.

"That is my message - that these things are inherently linked. If we take our eye off the ball on China, we'll be facing a very, very serious problem down the road."

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