Rishi Sunak called China the “number one threat” to local and global security on Sunday.
His vow comes after opponent Liz Truss accused him of being weak on China and Russia.
State-owned Global Times claimed Sunak had “a clear and pragmatic stance on growing UK-China ties.”
The Daily Mail labeled Foreign Secretary Truss’ endorsement “the endorsement nobody wanted.”
Sunak proposes closing all 30 Confucius Institutes in Britain to prevent soft-power Chinese influence through culture and language programs.
He also promised to “push the CCP out of our universities” by requiring universities to declare foreign financing over £50,000 and examining research agreements.
MI5 would be deployed to battle Chinese espionage, and he would seek “NATO-style” multilateral collaboration to tackle Chinese cyberthreats.
He’d also consider barring Chinese acquisitions of critical British assets, including tech firms.
Sunak claimed China was “taking our technology and infiltrating our colleges,” “propping up” Vladimir Putin by buying Russian energy, and bullying neighbours, particularly Taiwan.
He criticized China’s “belt and road” initiative for “burdening emerging countries with debt.”
“They torture, detain, and indoctrinate their own people, especially in Xinjiang and Hong Kong. They’ve rigged the world economy by lowering their currency, he continued.
“Enough! British and Western governments have long ignored China’s malicious activity and intentions.
“Day 1 PM,”
Sunak’s tough-talking would suit Tory China hawks, who have encouraged Johnson to stand up to Beijing.
Sunak is frantically trying to gain ground on Truss, who surveys place ahead in the race for votes among 200,000 Tory grassroots members.
Winner revealed on 9/5.
Truss has called for the G7 to become a “economic NATO” against Chinese threats and warned Beijing of consequences if they don’t follow international standards.
Sunak’s allies said she didn’t accomplish enough as finance minister.
Iain Duncan Smith: “Over the last two years, the Treasury has pushed hard for an economic deal with China, despite China brutally cracking down on peaceful democracy campaigners in Hong Kong, threatening Taiwan, illegally occupying the South China Sea, and committing genocide on the Uyghurs.”
“After all this, I have one question: Where have you been for the last two years?”
MI5 and the FBI have warned of a rise in Chinese business espionage in the West.
Sunak and Truss warned about China in Johnson’s cabinet.
Last year’s integrated review of security, defense, and foreign policy called China “the biggest state-based danger to UK economic security.”
Under pressure from Washington, Britain stopped Huawei from building its 5G network.
Foreign enterprises will have a harder time buying British companies in defense, energy, and transport.
Sunak called for a more nuanced approach to China last July.
“That includes being aware of their growing worldwide influence and sticking to our principles,” he said.