Fri, 02 Jun 2023

Former UK Prime Minister Liz Truss. /Xinhua

Editor's note: CGTN's First Voice provides instant commentary on breaking stories. The column clarifies emerging issues and better defines the news agenda, offering a Chinese perspective on the latest global events.

Former UK Prime Minister Liz Truss has been repeatedly provoking the Chinese government during her trip to China's Taiwan region this week. Truss asserted that China is growing its navy at an alarming rate and is undertaking the biggest military build-up in peacetime history, and thus the UK should label China as a "threat" to national security.

As the shortest-lived prime minister, Truss is taking advantage of the Taiwan question to seek selfish political gains. Her Taiwan trip has been harshly criticized even in the UK. Truss' performative visit is "the worst kind of Instagram diplomacy," said Alicia Kearns, who chairs the UK's Foreign Affairs Committee. The Guardian gets even more blatant, "The disgraced prime minister's clumsy meddling jeopardizes delicate relations with Beijing." "Indulging her hubris and pique, the serially irresponsible MP for South West Norfolk is doing her country another disservice," The Guardian said.

A soldier looks through binoculars during combat exercises and training of the navy of the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) in the waters around the Taiwan Island, August 5, 2022. /Xinhua

Truss was acting tough on China when she was in No.10 Downing Street, but her anti-China endeavors have not brought about desired outcomes. Since assuming office, the current UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been taking a cautious attitude toward China. However, Truss' Taiwan trip has dragged the Sunak administration into a dilemma. Senior Conservatives warned that Truss' visit risks undermining Sunak on the world stage and have the potential to "complicate" the British government's position on Beijing, according to The Independent.

As a failed politician, Truss is unlikely to stir waves outside the UK. Showing concern about Taiwan, Truss is taking advantage of the Taiwan question for instant profits. According to Taiwan media outlets, Truss' trip was made at the invitation of a Taiwan local think tank, the Prospect Foundation. Under the guidance of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities, the foundation invites high-level politicians to Taiwan each year with a colossal amount of money.

The foundation has spent millions in taxpayers' money to have high-profile anti-China politicians visit Taiwan, threatening the stability of the Taiwan Straits, and people are very unhappy about it, Andy Lee, a journalist in Taipei, told CGTN in an interview.

Activists from Pivot to Peace, ANSWER Coalition, CODEPINK, Veterans for Peace and leaders of the Chinese community in San Francisco hold a demonstration in front of then U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office at the San Francisco Federal Building, August 1, 2022. /CFP

Truss-like politicians have been playing the Taiwan card for instant profits and political wins. John Ross, a senior fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China, and a former director of economic and business policy for the mayor of London, believes this has revealed no unified policy on China within the UK, and dancing to the U.S. tune will only sacrifice the UK's national interests.

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at Follow @thouse_opinions on Twitter to discover the latest commentaries in the CGTN Opinion Section.)

Source: CGTN

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