…By Lola Smith for TDPel Media.
The UK government has distanced itself from Liz Truss, emphasizing that she is now a backbencher, following her controversial visit to Taiwan that sparked a diplomatic row with China.
Roads minister Richard Holden stated that the government has moved on from the era of Truss’ brief time as Prime Minister, which was marked by economic turmoil.
The Chinese Embassy in London strongly criticized Truss’ visit to Taiwan.
Government’s Stance on Taiwan and Criticism of Truss’ Visit
The UK, like most countries, does not officially recognize Taiwan or maintain formal diplomatic relations with the island.
The British government maintains that the dispute between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China should be resolved through dialogue, in line with the views of the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
China condemned Truss’ visit, referring to it as a dangerous political show.
Truss Urges West to Reduce Dependence on China, Calls for Preparing for Sanctions
During her visit to Taiwan, Truss delivered a speech urging Western allies to learn from the fallout after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and prepare for potential sanctions against China due to its aggressive stance toward Taiwan.
Truss emphasized the need to reduce dependence on China across various spheres and warned against working with China on global issues such as climate change.
She cited Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong and its lack of transparency during the Covid-19 pandemic as examples of totalitarian regimes not being truthful.
Chinese Embassy’s Response and Concerns of Retaliation
The Chinese embassy issued a statement warning that Truss’ speech would harm Britain and labeled it a provocative move.
The embassy urged Truss to stop defending Taiwanese independence, cautioning that violating the one-China principle would have serious consequences for China-UK relations.
China has previously retaliated against Western politicians visiting Taiwan, including imposing blockades and cutting off channels of communication.
Truss Calls for Stronger Stance on China and Closure of Confucius Institutes
Truss challenged her successor, Rishi Sunak, to deliver on his previous statements regarding China as the biggest long-term threat to Britain.
She called for urgent enactment of policies to address the threat posed by China, including the closure of all Confucius Institutes in the UK.
Truss emphasized the need for the UK’s integrated review to clearly state that China is a threat.
Truss’ Influence Cut Short and Thatcher’s Previous Taiwan Visit
Although Truss had intended to adopt a more hawkish approach toward China during her short tenure as Prime Minister, her impact was limited due to her brief time in office and subsequent downfall.
Her successor, Rishi Sunak, updated the UK’s foreign policy position to describe China as an epoch-defining and systemic challenge.
Truss’ visit to Taiwan is believed to be the first by a former British Prime Minister since Margaret Thatcher’s journey in the 1990s.