Truss ‘Cashing in’ on Former UK Government Role With Superfluous Taiwan Speech


Now reduced to a mere lawmaker, Conservative MP and former premier Liz Truss has little influence over British policy any longer, and her provocative visit to Taiwan is mostly a repeat of policies already set in motion in London, an expert on Taiwanese affairs told Sputnik on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, Conservative UK Parliament member and former prime minister Liz Truss visited the Chinese island of Taiwan to denounce Beijing, accusing the People’s Republic of China of being responsible for the burgeoning cold war with the US and its allies. She also praised Taiwan, which is governed by a rebel force enjoying informal US support, as “an enduring rebuke to totalitarianism” whose fate was a “core interest” to Europe.

“A blockade or invasion of Taiwan would undermine freedom and democracy in Europe. Just as a Russian victory in Ukraine would undermine freedom and democracy in the Pacific,” Truss said. “We in the United Kingdom and the free world must do all we can to back you.”

Beijing fired back, with the foreign ministry saying that “washed-up British politicians use Taiwan to draw attention to themselves.” Previously, the Chinese embassy in London referred to Truss’ visit as a “dangerous political show which will do nothing but harm to the UK.”

Ross Feingold, a political risk analyst who has over twenty years of experience advising clients on political risk in Taiwan, told Sputnik on Wednesday that the UK, “in line with the United States, was moving to expand ‘friend shoring’ and domestic investment in the semiconductor sector. Truss is simply talking about things that Prime Minister [Rishi] Sunak is already doing in part. Of course, it’s easy for someone out of government to call on the government to move faster. Generally though, Sunak is probably not going to take advice from Truss on these issues.”

“On 31 March 2023, the UK and Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiating teams concluded negotiations for the UK’s entry into the CPTPP. The UK seems to be taking Truss’s advice at least in part to de-couple from China. However, in early May Dominic Johnson, Minister of State in the Department for Business and Trade, visited Hong Kong, which was the first British minister to visit Hong Kong in five years. So it seems that the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak still wants Hong Kong (and by extension, China) to look to the UK as a source for certain goods and services.”

In all, Feingold said that a visit to the region by the UK’s shortest-serving prime minister, who spent just seven weeks in office before her government collapsed, would be seen by cynics as “another former leader or senior government official cashing in on their previous government role.”

“Media reports state that in April, Truss received £65,000 for a speech in India. Given how bad the Truss ‘brand image’ is in the UK, it’s unlikely the population in the Indo Pacific will think much of her making a speech in Taiwan. The criticism by China state media of Truss’s visit to Taiwan probably gives it more attention than it would otherwise have received.”

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