Rishi Sunak pledges that David Cameron’s return won’t soften UK’s China stance
David Cameron on his return to government
Rishi Sunak was forced to clarify the UK’s attitude towards China following David Cameron’s return to the Cabinet this morning.
At the Global Summit at Hampton Court Palace, Mr Sunak was probed about what the return of an infamously pro-China politician meant for the UK’s attitude to the communist country.
Lord Cameron famously hailed a “golden era” of bilateral relations with China while Prime Minister, despite security concerns.
Today Mr Sunak told reporters: “If David was here what he would say is the China of today is not the China he dealt with over a decade ago”.
“It has changed, it’s right that our strategy evolves to take account of that.
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“Our strategy can be summarised in three approaches: it’s to protect, align and engage.
“We have got to protect the UK against the risks, where they manifest themselves.”
Responding to the Prime Minister’s pledge, China-sceptic Iain Duncan-Smith told GB News that the Prime Minister is trying to “patch up” the “crass mess” made by David Cameron in office.
As Prime Minister, David Cameron famously invited Xi Jinping to drink a pint in a pub near his Cotswold home.
Speaking to the BBC this weekend he insisted it is right to “engage” with China, arguing they are key to solving international issues like climate change.
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Mr Cameron’s links with China after leaving No. 10 in 2016 are also facing close examination since his return to Government.
Labour has demanded to know whether the new Foreign Secretary is “solely dedicated to representing Britain on the world stage, not his own private interests”.
Anneliese Dodds wrote a letter to Mr Sunak following revelations about Lord Cameron’s involvement in drumming up support for a Sri Lankan port city, which is being built by the Chinese state firm, China Harbour Engineering Company.
He claimed not to have engaged with the CHEC, with a spokesman saying he was hired by KPMG Sri Lanka.
CHEC has a 99-year lease on two-thirds of the new city, sparking fears that Beijing could use the former British colony as a military base for naval ships.
Lord Cameron has not revealed how much he was given for the speeches, via the Washington Speakers’ Bureau, but his spokesman told the Observer this weekend that they do not recognise Sri Lankan media reports that he was paid $210,000.
His spokesman further told Politico that Lord Cameron “has not engaged in any way with China or any Chinese company about these speaking events”.
Following Lord Cameron’s appointment, Mr Duncan Smith said his relationship with China is a “conflict of interests”.
“David Cameron’s coming in – I’m a little bit puzzled about this – until recently it appears he’s being paid by the Chinese Government to promote certain things to do with the government.
“I want to know, I’ll be honest with you, that’s a conflict and I want to know how that is to be settled.”
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