Foreign Secretary Liz Truss stumbles over own policy on sending weapons to Taiwan

30 June 2022, 08:58 | Updated: 30 June 2022, 09:08

The UK could send military equipment to Taiwan, Foreign Secretary says

By Asher McShane

The Foreign Secretary was left struggling for a response when questioned over UK support for Taiwan, despite urging the West to stand up to Bejiing to prevent an invasion of the country.

In an interview with Nick Ferrari at Breakfast today, Liz Truss was "less than conclusive" with her answer over support for the nation.

Ms Truss said: "It is a policy of the G7 to ensure that we are supporting Taiwan and that we are maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan strait.

"What I’m saying is that we need to learn the lessons of Ukraine which was that we could have ensured Ukraine had the defensive capability earlier.

"So-called deterrents by denial - and that is a similar approach to the approach we need to take for other sovereign nations including Taiwan."

"Including sending weaponry?" Asked Nick.

"Ms Truss stumbled for a response, saying: “The.. the.. the defence that Taiwan need is already being provided through commercial providers by a variety of nations throughout the world.

“We already send, we already license commercial providers to send kit to a number of countries.”

“There’s a difference between what we are doing in Ukraine, which is providing military aid, and then licensing commercial providers which we do for a wide variety of countries.”

At the Nato summit in Madrid, Ms Truss said the West must “defeat Russia and negotiate later” not only for the sake of Ukraine but also to deter China.

She said China would be making “a catastrophic miscalculation” if it invaded Taiwan.

She also gave her view on Boris Johnson's comments after he said Putin's invasion of Ukraine was a display of "toxic masculinity."

She said: "I believe that both men and women are capable of doing evil things.

"There are some very evil people in the world, of which one is Vladimir Putin.

"There are very, very bad women and men. I wouldn’t say it’s an issue about what sex Vladimir Putin is.

"I think it’s the fact that he has this ambition for a greater Russia that he’s talked about for decades.

Liz Truss: Both men and women capable of doing evil things

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"Not enough was done after the Cold War to hold the Soviet Union to account for the crimes that had been committed and we allowed this situation to fester.

"We didn’t do enough after Crimea, we didn’t do enough after the invasion of the Donbas."

Ms Truss said Ukraine winning the conflict was "crucial" for the security of Europe

"All of the free world need to recognise that defence and deterrents are vital for our countries futures," she said.

Her comments came after Boris Johnson said the Russian leader's invasion of Ukraine was an example of "toxic masculinity" and a female president would not have made the same mistake.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told LBC Radio yesterday: "Well I certainly think President Putin's view of himself and the world is a small man syndrome, macho view."

Read more: 'Don't appease Putin': Britain must be ready for war with Russia, army chief warns

He added "you rarely hear the phrase small woman syndrome, you always hear small man syndrome".

"I think he's certainly got it in spades," he said.

"But I think the real challenge here is the Russian system's view that somehow some states are lesser than others, their rights don't count. If they want to paint themselves into a new history, they seem to think the way to do that is through violence and invasion.

"And I think that's something to worry about."

He also mocked Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

Mr Wallace said: "To be fair there is that lady, the spokeswoman in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she's like a comedy turn, she does her statement every week, threatening to nuke everyone or doing something or another.

"She's definitely a woman... She's a lunatic like he is, so I'll leave it to that."

Mr Johnson told German TV that Mr Putin would not have started the "crazy, macho" war in Ukraine if he were a woman.

He told ZDF: "If Putin was a woman, which he obviously isn't, but if he were, I really don't think he would've embarked on a crazy, macho war of invasion and violence in the way that he has.

"If you want a perfect example of toxic masculinity, it's what he's doing in Ukraine".

He made the comments arguing that "you need more women in positions of power".