Sunak says there is no change to approach on Taiwan in slapdown to Truss

Victor Gao criticises planned Liz Truss visit to Taiwan

Rishi Sunak insisted Britain’s stance on Taiwan “hasn’t changed” after Liz Truss provoked Chinese anger during a visit to the island.

The former Prime Minister triggered a furious response from Beijing as she urged the West to “reduce dependence on China in all spheres” in the face of Chinese aggression towards Taiwan.

She argued against working with China on global issues such as climate change, warning that totalitarian regimes “don’t tell the truth” as she pointed to Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong and the regime’s secrecy during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ms Truss also made a personal plea to her successor to brand China as a “threat” to UK security.

Ms Truss made the speech in Taipei City on Wednesday, making her the first former prime minister to visit Taiwan since Margaret Thatcher.

The Chinese Embassy called Ms Truss’s visit “a dangerous political stunt”.

It added that the visit “will do nothing but harm to the UK”.

In the speech, Ms Truss urged the West not to work with China, warning that totalitarian regimes “don’t tell the truth”.

She drew comparisons between the tensions between China and Taiwan, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking to reporters while travelling to the G7 summit in Japan Mr Sunak said: “I tell you that our approach to Taiwan is long-standing and it hasn’t changed.

“And again, it’s an approach that is completely aligned in substance and in language with all our allies. And China as a theme is something that we will be talking about at this G7.”

In her speech Ms Truss called on the UK government to support Taiwan joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade agreement – which the UK has recently joined – and for it to block China from joining.

Last week, senior Conservative MP Alicia Kearns accused Ms Truss of “Instagram diplomacy” over her visit to Taiwan.

Ms Kearns, who chairs the Commons Foreign Affairs committee, said the trip was “performative, not substantive”.

But Ms Truss accused her Tory colleague of “misusing” her position “to engage in petty political attacks”, and said her visit aimed to show “solidarity” with Taiwan.

Taiwan and China split in 1949 following a civil war that ended with the Communist Party in control of the mainland. China views Taiwan as Chinese territory.

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