China offered a stinging rebuttal to Rishi Sunak who called Beijing a “challenge to global security” by labelling Britain a “vassal” of the US and warning of lasting “damage” to its ties with London.
“The relevant remarks by the British side are simply parroting words from others and constitute malicious slanders in disregard of the facts. China firmly opposes and strongly condemns this,” said a spokesperson for Zheng Zeguang, the Chinese ambassador to Britain.
“We call on the British side to stop slandering and smearing China so as to avoid further damage to China-UK relations,” the statement said.
Speaking at a press conference at the end of the Group of Seven (G7) summit, Mr Sunak branded China as a global security challenge to the world and said Britain supports “de-risking”, an expression used in the G7 declaration on Saturday.
“China poses the biggest challenge of our age to global security and prosperity, they are increasingly authoritarian at home and assertive abroad,” he warned.
“This is all about de-risking, not de-coupling.”
Explaining the phrase, he said: “We will work together as the G7 and other countries make sure that we can de-risk ourselves and the vulnerability of supply chains that we have seen from China, take the steps necessary to protect ourselves against hostile investment and do so in a way that doesn’t damage each other.”
The Chinese embassy in the UK asked the British government to cease “always dancing to the tune of the US, stirring up trouble around the world, and creating division and confrontation”.
He said those without any prejudice towards China could see that it is a “builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, and a defender of the international order” while calling out the US and “vassal countries” for provoking confrontations.
“They are the ones that pose the biggest challenge to global security and prosperity,” the statement said.
The Chinese diplomat urged the British government to instead focus on dealing with long-standing political, economic and social issues in their own countries.
China also summoned the Japanese ambassador to lodge a protest over joint declarations and statements to “smear and attack China”.
China’s vice foreign minister Sun Weidong said Japan collaborated with the other countries at the G7 summit in activities “grossly interfering in China’s internal affairs, violating the basic principles of international law and the spirit of the four political documents between China and Japan”, referring to the China-Japan Joint Statement of 1972.
He said China is “strongly dissatisfied and firmly opposes” Japan’s activities in Hiroshima where it held a summit with G7 and other world leaders.
“Japan should correct its understanding of China, grasp strategic autonomy, adhere to the principles of the four political documents between China and Japan, and truly promote the stable development of bilateral relations with a constructive attitude,” he said.
The heads of the world’s most advanced economies issued a strong condemnation of China, expressing serious concerns about rising tensions in East and South China Seas as well as voicing concerns about the human rights situations in China, including in Tibet and Xinjiang.
They also called on China to devise a “peaceful solution” to tensions across the Taiwan Strait and push Russia to withdraw troops from Ukraine.