British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday (November 28) that Britain must defend its values of freedom and openness more strongly, particularly vis-à-vis China and Russia, in his first major foreign policy speech.
“Our opponents and our competitors have a long-term strategy. Faced with these challenges, short-termism and wishful thinking will not be enough“, Rishi Sunak will declare, according to excerpts released by Downing Street ahead of the speech, which he will deliver on Monday, November 28, at Guidhall, the palace in the City of London, before an audience of diplomats and business representatives.
Defend a long-term vision
“It means being stronger to defend our values and the openness on which our prosperity is based.“, he still has to add. It also means “stand up to our competitors, not with grandiose rhetoric, but with robust pragmatism“, he must implement.
According to Downing Street, in this first major foreign policy speech since he became head of government at the end of October, the prime minister must especially insist that Britain, in light of the ambitions of China and Russia, must also defend a long-term vision. This will be based on the revival of relations between Great Britain and Europe, damaged by Brexit, as well as in the Indo-Pacific zone, where the Secretary of State responsible for this region, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, is currently away.
But to have a voice that carries on the international stage, Britain must have “a stronger economy“, Mr. Sunak has to say, while the country is mired in an economic and social crisis. London is currently revising its doctrine in terms of security, defense and foreign policy to adapt to the new geopolitical context, which is particularly characterized by the war in Ukraine, the increased tensions with Iran or with China.
Last summer, during his campaign for Downing Street, which he lost to Liz Truss, who remained in power for just over a month, Rishi Sunak called the Asian giant ‘biggest security threat’ around the world and UK. In mid-November during the last G20, however, he had called for “an honest and constructive relationship between London and Beijing” , whose relationship has been strained in recent years. In his speech on Monday, Rishi Sunak will also emphasize his country’s support for Ukraine.