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Sunak should not let US dim 'golden era': China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-11-29 20:28
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British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. [Photo/Agencies]

While the members of the European Union have become increasingly aware of the nature of the US administration's invitation for its allies to help it contain China, as well as its scheme to drag out the Ukraine crisis — so as to weaken Russia and bring European countries into its fold — the United Kingdom is willingly throwing itself into a dangerous liaison.

The United States was an ardent supporter of Brexit, as by encouraging the UK to sever itself from the EU, and it has secured a more docile lackey that it can push to the forefront of its geopolitical games. It was only after Brexit that the US was able to form AUKUS with the UK and Australia, and engage the UK in its "Indo-Pacific" strategy.

Now that the Brexit chickens have come home to roost and are laying rotten eggs that the UK is being forced to swallow, the UK is desperately looking to the US for some kind of relish to make them more palatable.

Thus it is of no surprise to hear the latest to pass through No 10 Downing Street's revolving door echo the rhetoric of the US administration, as UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak did on Monday, when he declared that the "golden era" of Sino-British relations is over, warning that China poses a "systemic challenge" to the "values and interests" of the UK.

Although calling China a "challenge" rather than a "threat" earned him strong criticism from the anti-China hawks in his party, it was still a far cry from the more pragmatic approach he adopted toward China as chancellor of the exchequer. By declaring an end of the "golden era", a term the UK and China employed to describe the bright prospects for their cooperation in 2015, Sunak has apparently recalibrated his position on China.

In doing so, it is clear that although the UK government still appears to be vacillating on its China policy, which it has vowed to adjust over the past three months under three prime ministers, the anti-China hawks in the Conservative Party are pushing Sunak into casting the UK's lot in with Washington.

No wonder some leaders of major countries have found it unnecessary to meet with Sunak after meeting with their US counterparts, as they know the UK will just follow the US' lead.

Being the youngest prime minister of the country does not excuse Sunak from the responsibility of not letting Washington lead the UK astray.

He should beware the UK being left high and dry should the US start mending its relations with those countries toward which it is instructing the UK to bark.

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