‘China poses systemic challenge to world order’: Rishi Sunak


British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak attends a press conference following the G7 leaders’ summit in Hiroshima on May 21, 2023. — AFP

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that China is posing the biggest security challenge considering it far beyond the threat that the West believes Russia posed after its war in Ukraine.

PM Sunak while speaking in Hiroshima, said: “China is challenging global security and prosperity of our age with the means and intent to reshape the world order.”

The UK PM was of the view that Group of Seven (G7) heads of state including Japan, the US, Canada and European nations expressed “unity and resolve” in confronting the problems posed by Beijing.

The joint G7 communique pointed towards mitigating the risk rather than “de-coupling” from China despite warnings from France that the huddle should not be seen as being anti-Beijing.

“We will work together as the G7 and other countries to make sure that we can de-risk ourselves and the vulnerability of supply chains that we have seen from China, take the steps necessary to protect ourselves against hostile investment and do so in a way that doesn’t damage each other,” said Rishi Sunak.

The G7 statement also underlined to set up a new body to counter economic coercion by Beijing and others while adding that the nations “strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion,” while referring to the issue of Taiwan.

Responding to a question about how much the G7 has done to resist Beijing, he said it had partly been about “just recognising the systemic challenge that China poses to the world order — it is the only country with both the means and intent to reshape the world order”.

“There had also been conversations about ensuring that important technology pertinent to our security does not leak to China,” he added.

The statement after the three-day summit that took place in Hiroshima Friday unscored relations with Beijing as a challenge rather than a threat but it had tough words calling on China not to interfere “activities”.

The statement noted that G7 countries — that include Japan, Canada, the US, the UK, Italy, Germany and France — were “gravely concerned” about territorial disputes in the South China Sea and urged Beijing to use its influence with Russia to withdraw from Ukraine.

While responding towards the G7 statement, China expressed “strong dissatisfaction” and lodged a complaint with the hosts, Japan.

There are a number of China critics in the Conservative Party. This week, former Prime Minister Liz Truss visited Taiwan and urged the incumbent PM to toughen his approach to Beijing.

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