Liz Truss, MPs Pressure UK To Adopt Stiffer China Stance
Parliament Under Pressure After Spy Arrest
The United Kingdom has reportedly decided against declaring China an official threat to its national security, despite a recent spy threat arrest within Parliament, Voice of America reported.
The government has been under significantly greater pressure since the arrests to classify China a "threat" to national security.
Notable pressure has come from the United Kingdom’s former Prime Minister Liz Truss, whose political career has been controversial. Truss was the last prime minister to serve Queen Elizabeth II, and was the first to serve King Charles III. Additionally, she was the shortest-serving prime minister in the history of the United Kingdom, resigning after a government crisis.
Since the circumstances of her resignation, Truss’ opinions have been subjects of debate. Truss, who now serves in the U.K. Parliament as an MP, has called on the government to focus on taking a stiffer stance against China.
Conservative MP Sir Ian Duncan Smith called out Parliament’s “desperate dependence” on China as a business partner, and stated that the government has “failed to see” the deep security threat and breach in Parliament, and the danger and “systemic threat” China poses to the Parliament.
Members of Parliament agreed with Truss’ stance that China poses a great threat to Britain, and stated that the government was “clear-eyed” about what these threats entailed.
In previous held roles, Truss has announced plans to reshape Britain's foreign policy, speaking with growing concern over China's aggressive stance toward Taiwan and other aggressive behaviors over the last few months of 2023.
Under the existing integrated review, China was categorized as a "systemic competitor." However, Truss believes that classifying China as a threat to national security is necessary given the evolving geopolitical landscape. This marks a significant shift in the UK's stance towards Beijing.
The review also emphasized the need for the UK to deepen its trading relationship with China. However, Truss's proposed changes are likely to disrupt the status quo, signaling a more cautious approach towards economic ties with the Asian superpower.
This shift in approach reflects growing concern over issues such as China's human rights abuses, cyber attacks, and territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
MP efforts to reassess the UK's relationship with China comes at a time of heightened tensions between Beijing and Western powers. The United States has been leading efforts to counter China's influence, implementing trade restrictions and imposing sanctions.
Conservative calls to classify the China threat aligns the UK with the US and other countries that view China as a strategic competitor and potential threat to their national interests.
Critics argue that this tougher stance towards China could result in economic repercussions for the UK, given the significant trade ties between the two nations. China is currently the UK's third-largest trading partner, with bilateral trade reaching over £76 billion in 2020.
However, proponents of Truss's approach contend that it is essential to balance economic considerations with national security interests.
Truss's pledge to reshape foreign policy has been met with mixed reactions domestically. While some applaud her for taking a more assertive stance towards China, others argue that a more nuanced approach is needed. The complexity of the UK's relationship with China, encompassing both economic and security aspects, requires careful consideration to avoid unintended consequences.
As Truss proceeds with her plans to reopen the integrated review and redefine Britain's foreign policy, it remains to be seen how these changes will impact future relations with China.
The push to classify China as a national security threat underscores the shifting dynamics of global politics and the UK's determination to safeguard its interests in an increasingly competitive and uncertain world.