Rishi Sunak signals end of ‘golden era’ of China-Britain relations
Amid significant geopolitical changes, UK Prime Minister announces that the British government will present an updated Integrated Review of UK security, defense, and foreign policy issues.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated that in response to Russia and China's actions, the British government will take a pragmatic approach in international relations. "Today the pace of geopolitical change is intensifying. Our adversaries and competitors plan for the long term," Sunak said, speaking at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet Monday.
He claimed that Russia "is challenging the fundamental principles of the UN Charter," while "China is consciously competing for global influence using all the levers of state power."
"In the face of these challenges, short-termism or wishful thinking will not suffice. We can’t depend on Cold War arguments or approaches, or mere sentimentality about the past. So we will make an evolutionary leap in our approach," the Prime Minister said in his first major foreign policy speech.
"This means being stronger in defending our values and the openness on which our prosperity depends. It means delivering a stronger economy at home, as the foundation of our strength abroad. And it means standing up to our competitors, not with grand rhetoric but with robust pragmatism," he continued.
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Sunak also revealed that, in light of the significant geopolitical changes, the British government will present an updated Integrated Review of UK security, defense, and foreign policy issues. "We will do all this not only through our diplomatic expertise, science and tech leadership, and investment in defense and security but by dramatically increasing the quality and depth of our partnerships with like-minded countries around the world. We will set out more detail in the updated Integrated Review in the new year, including how we’ll work with friends in the Commonwealth, the US, the Gulf states, Israel and others," he said.
He underscored that the UK is "already making this evolutionary leap in three other places."
"First, as we stand by Ukraine, we’re also reinvigorating our European relationships to tackle challenges like security and migration. Second, we’re taking a longer-term view on China, strengthening our resilience and protecting our economic security. And third, we’re seizing the huge opportunities on offer in the Indo-Pacific by building deep and long-lasting partnerships," he added.
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According to the Prime Minister, the Western response to the events in Ukraine confirmed the high level of "cooperation between states." "With the fall of Kabul, the pandemic, and economic strife, some said the West was weak. In fact, our response in Ukraine has shown the depth of our collective resolve," Sunak said.
"Sweden and Finland are joining NATO. Germany is increasing its defense spending. Partners as far afield as Australia, Japan and South Korea are standing with us. We’ve developed an entirely new sanctions model. And through NATO and the Joint Expeditionary Force we’re guarding against further Russian aggression, whether in the east or the High North. We’re also evolving our wider post-Brexit relations with Europe, including bilaterally and engaging with the new European Political Community," he added.
Simultaneously, Sunak made it clear that London will not change a number of its legal norms in order to synchronize them with the EU legislation. "Under my leadership we’ll never align with EU law. Instead, we’ll foster respectful, mature relationships with our European neighbors on shared issues like energy and illegal migration to strengthen our resilience against strategic vulnerabilities," he concluded.
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