Britain’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has warned that China’s failure to play by global rules will end its rise as a superpower, and said the West should ensure Taiwan can defend.
Renewing his call to strengthen NATO, Truss said moves to isolate Russia from the global economy in response to its invasion of Ukraine proved that market access for democratic countries was no longer a given. .
“Countries have to play by the rules. And that includes China,” Truss said in a speech at Mansion House in London.
Britain, the world’s sixth-largest economy, is dwarfed economically and militarily by China, but believes that, through soft power and strategic alliances, it can help persuade Beijing to play by the rules of a new, more dynamic international system.
China’s economic and military rise over the past 40 years is considered one of the most significant geopolitical events of recent times, alongside the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 which ended the cold War.
But Truss said his new rise was not inevitable.
“They won’t keep going up if they don’t play by the rules,” she said.
“China needs to trade with the G7. We (the Group of Seven) represent about half of the global economy. And we have a choice,” she said.
“We have shown with Russia the kind of choices we are prepared to make when international rules are violated.”
Earlier this month, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said China would have to persuade Russia to help end the war in Ukraine, or face losing standing in the world.
Beijing has said it firmly opposes linking the war in Ukraine to its relationship with Moscow and will defend the rights of Chinese individuals and businesses.
Truss said NATO must have a global perspective that extends to non-member democracies, citing Taiwan as an example.
“We must anticipate threats in the Indo-Pacific, working with allies like Japan and Australia to ensure the Pacific is protected,” she said.
“We need to ensure that democracies like Taiwan are able to defend themselves.”
China says Taiwan, which it sees as a breakaway province to be brought home, by force if necessary, is one of the most sensitive and important issues in its relations with the West.
In 2015, then UK Finance Minister George Osborne predicted a “golden era” in China-UK relations.
But ties have since frayed over issues such as Beijing’s security crackdown on the former British colony of Hong Kong and security concerns over Chinese investment in Britain.
Australian Associated Press