"I will change this on Day 1 as PM:" Rishi Sunak pledges curbs on China if elected as UK PMtext_fields
London: Indian-origin prime ministerial candidate Rishi Sunak on Sunday promised that if he is elected to the top post, he will go tough on China, terming the Asian superpower country as the "number one threat to domestic and global security", as per AFP reports.
"Enough is enough. For too long, politicians in Britain and across the West have rolled out the red carpet and turned a blind eye to China's nefarious activity and ambitions.
"I will change this on Day 1 as PM."
Sunak, who is the former finance minister under the Boris Johnson administration, made a promise to crack down on China soon after his UK PM race rival Liz Truss accused him of being weak on the country, as well as on Russia, which currently remains at war with Ukraine.
China's state-run Global Times has previously said Sunak was the only candidate in the contest with "a clear and pragmatic view on developing UK-China ties".
The Daily Mail, which has come out for Foreign Secretary Truss in the race to succeed Boris Johnson, called that "the endorsement that nobody wanted".
Sunak's proposals include the closure of all 30 Confucius Institutes in Britain, preventing the soft-power spread of Chinese influence through culture and language programmes.
He also promised to "kick the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) out of our universities" by forcing higher education establishments to disclose foreign funding of more than £50,000 ($60,000) and reviewing research partnerships.
Britain's domestic spy agency MI5 would be used to help combat Chinese espionage, and he would look to build "NATO-style" international co-operation to tackle Chinese threats in cyberspace.
He would also study the case for banning Chinese acquisitions of key British assets, including strategically sensitive tech firms.
Sunak claimed that China was "stealing our technology and infiltrating our universities" at home, "propping up" Vladimir Putin abroad by buying Russian oil, as well as attempting to bully neighbours including Taiwan.
He hit out at China's global "belt and road" scheme for "saddling developing countries with insurmountable debt".
"They torture, detain and indoctrinate their own people, including in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, in contravention of their human rights. And they have continually rigged the global economy in their favour by suppressing their currency," he added.