Liz Truss issues stark warning against taking our eye off the ball on China

‘China is the largest threat we face’, says Liz Truss

Liz Truss today branded China “the largest threat that we face to the free world”.

The former prime minister used an appearance at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit to warn “we cannot listen to rhetorical bullying from authoritarian regimes”.

Ms Truss said: “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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Ms Truss also called for the UK to categorise Beijing as a “threat” rather than a “systemic competitor”.

Asked about her own stance compared with the less hawkish position of her successor Rishi Sunak, 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.

“Why I’m here today at this summit is because I believe that we all need to wake up to the threat China presents.

“That we need to make sure that Taiwan is able to defend itself and we’re not facing a very serious situation down the track.”

Ms Truss said the West needs to make clear that there will be “a very serious and severe reaction” to any escalation of Chinese aggression in Taiwan.

She said: “I don’t think Vladimir Putin believed the West was serious about sanctions before we put them on, and we have to be absolutely clear that if there is any kind of escalation in Taiwan there would be a very serious and severe reaction.”

The ex-PM also said the UK along with the rest of the western world is “too dependent” on China and warned against sending “mixed messages” by continuing trade while engaging in tough rhetoric.

She 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 US.

“We send mixed messages if we continue with the same level of trade and investment with China, but just put messages out that are different. We have to show we are serious.”

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