Rishi Sunak on Sunday, 24 July, called China the "number one threat" to global and domestic security, and pledged a tougher stance against the country if he's elected as Britain's next prime minister.
Sunak's pledge comes after his rival in the race to the country's top office, Liz Truss, accused him of being weak against countries like Russia and China.
China's state-run Global Times, however, said earlier that Sunak was the only candidate who had a pragmatic view on developing ties between the United Kingdom and China, AFP reported.
To assert his convictions, Sunak has called for the closure of 30 Confucius Institutes in Britain to prevent the "soft-power spread" of China through programmes on its culture and language.
He also pledged to "kick the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) out of our universities" by ensuring that higher education institutes disclose foreign funding exceeding £50,000.
Sunak Accuses China of Stealing British Technology
The former finance minister also asserted that Britain's spy agency MI5 would be pressed into action to oppose Chinese espionage, and called for "NATO-style" global cooperation to combat China's threats in cyberspace.
Additionally, he said he would consider banning Chinese acquisitions of key British assets, especially in strategically sensitive technology companies.
Sunak also said that China was "stealing our technology and infiltrating our universities", "propping up" Russian President Vladimir Putin, buying their oil, and bullying neighbours, including Taiwan.
Sunak further slammed China's belt and road initiative, and accused it of "saddling developing countries with insurmountable debt."
"They torture, detain and indoctrinate their own people, including in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, in contravention of their human rights. And they have continually rigged the global economy in their favour by suppressing their currency," Sunak said, as per AFP.
"Enough is enough. For too long, politicians in Britain and across the West have rolled out the red carpet and turned a blind eye to China's nefarious activity and ambitions. I will change this on Day 1 as PM," he added.
Sunak's rival Truss has also called for a tough approach against China, calling for the Group of Seven (G7) countries to work as an "economic NATO" to counter Chinese "threats."
She also warned the country of sanctions if it did not adhere to international rules.
Sunak and Truss are the only two candidates left in the race to 10 Downing Street after a series of eliminations in the last few weeks.
One of the two will become the UK's next PM on 5 September, after Boris Johnson resigned from his post following a series of scandals.
(With inputs from AFP.)
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