UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that the so-called golden era of relations with China is over as we need to evolve our approach towards Beijing. He made the remarks while addressing Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London on Monday.In his address, which was his first foreign policy speech, Sunak said: Let’s be clear, the so-called ‘golden era’ is over along with the naive idea that trade would automatically lead to social and political reform. But nor should we rely on simplistic Cold War rhetoric.We recognise China poses a systemic challenge to our values and interests, a challenge that grows more acute as it moves towards even greater authoritarianism.’
Referring to the ongoing rare and widespread protests across China against the country’s ‘zero-Covid policy’, the Prime Minister said that “instead of listening to their people’s protests, the Chinese government has chosen to crack down further’. The media, and our parliamentarians, must be able to highlight these issues without sanction, including calling out abuses in Xinjiang, and the curtailment of freedom in Hong Kong.”Sunak further stressed that we cannot simply ignore China’s significance in world affairs — to global economic stability or issues like climate change.