Liz Truss, the UK’s shortest-serving prime minister, takes a political trip to Taiwan

File photo by Liz Truss: Xinhua

Chinese experts said Liz Truss’ reckless visit to the island of Taiwan may affect the balanced stance taken by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on China’s participation. China’s Taiwan region on Tuesday, where it is expected to meet separatist leaders.

Truss, known for her tough stance against Beijing, landed on the island of Taiwan on Tuesday. Before his arrival, Truss called for more West action to deal with separatist authorities on the island and fight Beijing in an interview with Politico on Monday.

It is also expected to call on the West to “be aware of military and defense cooperation” to help the island. However, a government source said UK policy on the Taiwan issue has remained “unchanged” since Truss was foreign secretary and in Downing Street, Sky News reported on Sunday.

Analysts said that Truss’ provocative trip, which it said was at the invitation of the DPP authorities on the island, would bring no substantial benefit to the island other than verbal support. And Truss herself may not realize that the DPP is using her as a mascot for the 2024 regional leadership election.

Ahead of Truss’ visit, Alicia Cairns, the senior Conservative MP who chairs the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, said Truss’ trip was “practical rather than of substance”.

The trip has been described as “the worst kind of Instagram diplomacy” likely to worsen normalcy on the island, and aims to “maintain greater relevance”, according to a report by The Guardian.

Li Guangye, a research fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Global Governance and Area Studies affiliated with Shanghai University of International Studies, said that due to Truss’s status as a legislator and former prime minister, she would likely be allowed to visit the island of Taiwan with the approval of the British government.

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However, Li said his visit will inevitably affect the Sunak government’s relatively balanced engagement policy with China.

On April 25, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said not engaging with China would be a “betrayal of the national interest,” according to Sky News. According to Cleverley, the British government has been struggling to strike a balance between justified criticism of China and the “resolutely realistic” and constructive pursuit of beneficial relations.

Attitudes towards China in the UK, within the Conservative Party and across the political sphere, are divisive. Analysts said that Truss’ visit to Taiwan is direct evidence of this internal division.

The Taiwan Island Foreign Affairs Authority hailed the visit as a sign of Truss’ unwavering support and close friendship. But it seems that the British themselves do not believe in such rhetoric. According to the British newspaper The Mirror, Truss’ “key speech” could win tens of thousands of pounds.

Zhang Wensheng, deputy dean of the Institute of Taiwan Research at Xiamen University, told China Direct on Tuesday that the DPP authorities are trying to internationalize the Taiwan issue and turn China’s internal affairs into an ideological confrontation between “democracy” and “autocracy” by pushing. politicians for approval.

By creating cross-strait confrontation and increasing tensions, Zhang said, the DPP seeks to manipulate public opinion in its favor in the 2024 Taiwan regional elections and impede peaceful reunification.

Being on China’s sanctions list presents a rare opportunity for a second-rate politician who is engrossed in repackaging himself, Li said, adding that China is unlikely to get his wish.

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There was no comment from the Chinese Foreign Ministry regarding Truss’ trip to Taiwan during Tuesday’s press conference.

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