Rishi Sunak hails Britain’s alliances as ‘greatest source of strength’ as he heads to America to meet Joe Biden – with PM preparing to unveil new foreign policy review that will ‘address China’s threat to Taiwan’
- Rishi Sunak flying to San Diego, California, for talks with US President Joe Biden
- Pair will be joined by Australia’s Anthony Albanese to discuss submarine deal
Rishi Sunak has hailed Britain’s global alliances as its ‘greatest source of strength and security’ as he prepares to travel to America to meet Joe Biden.
The Prime Minister is flying to San Diego, California, today on a trip to hold talks with the US President and flesh out a major defence deal.
Mr Sunak and Mr Biden will be joined by Australian PM Anthony Albanese to discuss the procurement of nuclear-powered submarines under the Aukus pact between the UK, US and Australia.
As well as hopes that Mr Albanese will announce the purchase of a British-designed fleet, Mr Sunak’s visit will also be used to unveil the new integrated review of defence and foreign policy.
This has been updated in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and is set to give an updated view of Britain’s approach to threats from Moscow and China.
Rishi Sunak is flying to San Diego, California, today on a trip to hold talks with US President Joe Biden and flesh out a major defence deal
Mr Sunak and Mr Biden will be joined by Australian PM Anthony Albanese to discuss the procurement of nuclear-powered submarines under the Aukus pact
Mr Sunak’s visit will also be used to unveil the new integrated review of defence and foreign policy, with the PM under pressure to take a more assertive stance towards Beijing
Mr Sunak has been under pressure from Tory MPs to take a more assertive stance towards Beijing.
His predecessor, Liz Truss, was set to declare China a ‘threat’ to Britain’s national security in the updated integrated review.
Since becoming PM, Mr Sunak has favoured a softer approach and only deemed Beijing a ‘systemic challenge’, which has angered some Conservative backbenchers.
But it has emerged that the updated integrated review to be unveiled by Mr Sunak tomorrow will include a reference to the threat China poses to Taiwan.
According to The Telegraph, the Government has responded to recent warnings by the House of Commons foreign affairs committee about the danger of China invading Taiwan by revising the document to include the island democracy.
Yet the move still might not be enough to assuage Tory MPs.
Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith told the newspaper he wanted to see a ‘reversal of Government policy on China’.
‘I want to see the Government – of which Rishi is the prime minister and the leader – accept what he said when he was running for the leadership, that China is a systemic threat,’ he said.
‘The Government has got to make its mind up about China and stop sitting on the fence.
‘They’re threatening to invade Taiwan and we say nothing particularly important about that.’
Ahead of his trip to the US, the PM said: ‘In turbulent times, the UK’s global alliances are our greatest source of strength and security.
‘I am travelling to the United States today to launch the next stage of the Aukus nuclear submarine programme, a project which is binding ties to our closest allies and delivering security, new technology and economic advantage at home.
‘As we launch the 2023 Integrated Review Refresh tomorrow, this is the future we want to deliver – a UK that is secure, prosperous and standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our partners.’
Mr Sunak last week met with French President Emmanuel Macron, smoothing out relations after they hit a low point with the September 2021 signing of the Aukus deal, which saw Australia ditch France in favour of an agreement with the UK and US.
Negotiations over the last 18 months have presented the Canberra government with a choice between a British or US design.
Reports suggest Australia could opt for a modified version of the British Astute-class submarine, plugging the gap until it enters into service in the 2040s with up to five American Virginia boats.
The UK hopes that Aukus will result in work for British shipyards such as BAE Systems’ facility in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
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