British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak described China as the world’s biggest challenge on Sunday at the end of the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan.
« China poses the greatest challenge of our age to global security and prosperity, » Sunak told reporters at the G7 meeting, which ends on Sunday. « They are increasingly authoritarian at home and assertive abroad. »
The British prime minister stopped short of calling for a « de-coupling » between China and the West, but he supported « de-risking », the expression used by the G7 leaders in their joint statement on Saturday.
“We will work together as the G7 and other countries to make sure we can reduce the risks to ourselves and the vulnerability of supply chains that we have seen from China, take the necessary steps to protect ourselves from hostile investments and do so in ways that do not harm each other Sunak said.
G7 leaders issued a tough statement on Beijing in which they agreed to diversify sources of critical minerals and set up a new coordination platform to counter economic coercion, and condemned attempts to change the status quo in the South China Sea.
This triggered a critical response by the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, who accused the G7 countries of interfering in China’s internal affairs.
Sunak is under increasing pressure from figures within his own conservative party to harden the government’s line on China. On Wednesday, former Prime Minister Liz Truss called Sunak list China as a « threat » to UK security.