“Dialogue with the Chinese side is not like chatting with the Chinese side while drinking tea and biscuits.” On April 29, local time, the British “Daily Telegraph” reported that British Foreign Secretary Cleverley The sentence is placed on the title page of the interview report on him. The report stated that the British Foreign Secretary, who had just delivered a speech on China policy, was attacked by “hawks” in the UK, including his predecessor, Truss, because he advocated contact with the Chinese government. Regarding Sino-British relations, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said in response to Cleverley’s recent speech that China has a positive attitude towards contact and cooperation with the UK. At the same time, we will resolutely defend national sovereignty, security, and development interests.
According to recent reports from British Reuters and The Guardian, Cleverley delivered a policy speech in the City of London as planned on April 25 local time, including elaborating on the UK’s position on China. In his speech, he highlighted that “isolating China would be a mistake.” The UK needs to engage with China in areas such as climate change, epidemic prevention, economic stability, and nuclear non-proliferation. Articles have been written on other topics.
But because China was not identified as a “threat”, the “Daily Telegraph” said that some British Conservative Party MPs criticised Cleverley, including his predecessor Truss. In response, Cleverley told the Daily Telegraph in an interview that he had been criticised by “some of his closest friends” in Parliament and that although he listened to them, “friendship doesn’t mean agreeing on everything.” He also said that it is difficult to confront China on some things, and it is only feasible through engagement with China.
Cleverly claimed, “What people need to really understand in terms of defining diplomatic rhetoric is that engaging with China doesn’t mean agreeing with China.” Cookie-like chitchat, but to emphasise our position against them taking actions we disagree with.” He also defended himself by saying that when he communicated with Chinese ministers, he always insisted on mentioning issues related to Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and China’s sanctions on some British MPs.
His statement seems to prove that now, as the British foreign secretary, he needs to publicly declare that he always expresses different opinions about China to prove to the British political circle that he is not weak against China.
The “Daily Telegraph” mentioned that when Truss, who criticised Cleverly, was about to take office as prime minister, she also promised to identify China as a so-called “threat” after taking office, but she failed to do this before resigning. British Prime Minister Sunak previously described China as the so-called “biggest threat to the security and prosperity of the UK and the world” during his campaign, but he was also criticised for softening his stance on China after taking office.
In recent years, some British politicians have frequently hyped up the so-called “China threat”, and China has responded many times before. At a regular press conference held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China on August 29, 2022, a reporter mentioned that there were reports that if Truss was elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, he might officially label China a “threat”. In this regard, Zhao Lijian, the spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the time, said that we do not comment on the internal affairs of the United Kingdom, including the Conservative Party leadership election, and we are not interested. I would like to advise individual British politicians to make excuses about China and to promote the so-called “China threat theory”. These are irresponsible remarks and will not solve Britain’s own problems.