Rishi Sunak brands China 'biggest state-based threat' to UK economic security and values

China's president Xi Jinping and UK prime minister Rishi Sunak. Credit: AP

China represents the “biggest state-based threat” to Britain’s economic security and poses a systemic challenge to our values, Rishi Sunak has warned during the G20 summit in Indonesia, that is also being attended by Chinese president Xi Jinping.“That is how I think about China. That is why I said over the summer that it's important that we take the powers that we need to defend ourselves,” he said, pointing to the National Security Investment Act. 

The prime minister added: “But I also think that China is an indisputable fact of the global economy and we’re not going to be able to resolve shared global challenges like climate change, or public health, or indeed dealing with Russia and Ukraine, without having a dialogue with them.”

Biden and Xi Jinping. Credit: AP

The comments, his first intervention on China since becoming prime minister, are tough but represent a scaling back from Liz Truss’s position. The former prime minister wanted to re-designate China as an official “threat” to the UK. 

He argued that his position was highly aligned with allies. Mr Sunak admitted that the government was still considering whether to provide arms to Taiwan. 

Asked about it, Mr Sunak said that was being looking at as part of the integrated review. “Our policy on Taiwan is obviously there should be no unilateral change to the status and there should be a peaceful resolution to that situation. “We stand ready to support Taiwan as we do in standing up to Chinese aggression.”The comments come after a historic meeting between US president Joe Biden and President Xi in which the pair agreed that "nuclear war should never be fought".

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