Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and former chancellor Rishi Sunak continue to clash over foreign policy priorities as they battle for the Conservative leadership.

Ahead of the evening’s televised debate, Sunak called China “the biggest long-term threat to Britain, the world’s economic and national security”.

He also promised to ban the controversial Confucius Institutes in the UK.

Confucius Institutes are educational organizations that typically operate near or on university campuses. They are funded by the Chinese government. Although they officially claim to promote linguistic and cultural exchange, they have faced numerous accusations of promoting Chinese state propaganda and suppressing academic freedom.

2017 year the report claimed that 6 of the Institute’s 9 American contracts stipulate that all activities and personnel “shall comply with Chinese law.”

Sunak highlighted that nearly one-third of the UK’s 31 Confucius Institutes were opened when Truss was at the Department for Education between 2012 and 2014.

Sunak also suggested forming a NATO-style global grouping to counter China’s growing international influence.

He also promised to strengthen protections for UK businesses against Chinese espionage and review a ban on Chinese involvement in key UK industries.

Truss highlighted that Sunak had recently reportedly sought to restart the UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue, which was last held in 2019.

“The finance ministry is aiming to restore it this year and is worried about China’s tougher policies,” a government official said. Politics in February.

The dialogue was postponed at the beginning of the month.

In his last speech as chancellor last July, Sunak said improving economic ties with a government currently accused of widespread human rights abuses, including the ongoing genocide of Uyghur Muslims, was a priority. He called for “mature and balanced relations” between the two countries.

Chinese state tabloid The Global Times previously singled out Sunak’s “pragmatic approach” for praise among his leadership rivals.

“With the exception of Sunak, almost all the other candidates take a very hardline stance on China,” the newspaper reported earlier this month.

Current Education Secretary James Cleverley, a supporter of Truss’ leadership bid, complained there was “nothing new” in Sunak’s plans, telling Times Radio this morning that “we’ve already looked at China’s influence on our education system”.

“This is not new. This may be new to people in Rishi’s campaign team, but it is not new to those who have worked in education or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.’

“This is not new. This may be new to people in Rishi’s campaign team, but it is not new to those who have worked in education or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.’

Cleverly also noted that he would be happy to stay in his position if Truss rose to the leadership.

However, he did not say what policies he would pursue, saying: “I am in a position as education minister where it would be unwise to make major policy statements in response to positions that have been put forward during leadership campaigns. .”

Truss and Sunak spar over China strategy

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