Liz Truss. Photo: AFP

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang sent a message to Liz Truss congratulating her on assuming the post of British Prime Minister, stressing that the stable and healthy development of China-British relations is in line with the interests of the two countries and hoping that the two countries will work together to move forward. bilateral relations on the right track.

Chinese observers noted that a pragmatic policy by the new British administration towards China would be helpful for the Truss government amid serious domestic challenges and warned that a focus on perceived foreign threats would not help resolve its existing problems, and that following the United States closely would not help the new British government. government in the face of the current series of domestic crises.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang congratulated Truss on becoming Britain’s new prime minister and said the stable and healthy development of China-Britain relations is in line with the fundamental interests of the two peoples and China is willing to work with the Britain to advance bilateral relations. on the right path to long-term stability on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, Xinhua News Agency reported on Wednesday.

The report follows the first telephone conversation between new British Prime Minister Liz Truss and US President Joe Biden, in which they pledged not only to strengthen the “special” relationship between the UK and the US United, but also mentioned challenges from Russia and China.

Biden spoke by phone on Tuesday to congratulate Truss on his elevation to prime minister. The two leaders vowed to strengthen the ‘special relationship’ between the countries and continue close cooperation on global challenges, including supporting Ukraine as it defends itself against ‘Russian aggression’, addressing challenges posed by China, preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and securing sustainable and affordable energy resources, according to the White House reading.

It’s the first conversation between Biden and Truss after the former British foreign secretary secured the most votes in the Conservative Party leadership race among party members on Monday, which made d she’s the new British Prime Minister.

Downing Street and the White House both stressed the “enduring strength of the special relationship” as bilateral relations appeared to have been strained during the reign of former leader Boris Johnson, however, the new British leader and Biden opted to avoid talking openly about unresolved issues. problems in bilateral relations, and instead drew attention to Russia and China, analysts said.

Truss wanted to show that the UK still values ​​its “special relationship” with the United States, but in fact, the intimacy of the two countries has seen great changes, said Cui Hongjian, director of the Department. of European studies at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times.

The “special relationship” is a concept that has underpinned the U.S.-British alliance since the phrase was popularized in the 1940s. However, the media reported that Truss showed little respect for such a “special relationship “. Last September, during his first meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Truss questioned the special relationship between the two countries. And she told the Conservative Party Conference in 2021 that the relationship with the United States is “special, but not exclusive” and noted that Britain has other important allies such as Australia, the India and European countries, especially the Baltic States.

Zhao Chen, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of European Studies, pointed out that in the context of the Ukraine crisis, the UK and the US want to show their unity and that is why their talk on Tuesday covered bilateral relations. and global issues.

Truss and Biden also ‘discussed their shared commitment to protecting the gains of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and the importance of reaching a negotiated agreement with the European Union on the Northern Ireland Protocol’ , the White House said in the statement.

Some Western media have noted that the transfer of political power to Britain comes at a ‘delicate time’ for UK-EU relations as the deadline for Truss’ government to respond to reactive legal action launched by Brussels accusing the United Kingdom of four breaches in Northern Ireland is approaching. treaty.

Zhao told the Global Times that the main issues between the UK and the US relate to Brexit and UK-EU relations. Truss has been more radical on Brexit and hopes to amend the previous Northern Ireland Protocol agreement. While as a Democrat Biden supports the EU and does not want to see strained UK-EU relations as it would not be good for the US to rally all allies to counter China and Russia.

For Biden, his main goal of speaking to Truss is to coordinate with the new British leader on key issues to ensure that the political transfer of one of his key allies will not affect the United States’ overall global strategy, especially to counter Russia and China. However, for the Truss government, China will not be a priority given the messy domestic situation, analysts said.

However, Truss may also cooperate with the United States in certain areas, for example on human rights or Hong Kong affairs to strengthen its own image and that of the United Kingdom as a “fighter for human rights”. ‘man,” Cui said.

British researcher Martin Jacques wrote in the Global Times that Truss faces a gargantuan problem, including the worst economic crisis of any British prime minister since 1945, with energy prices soaring, especially during the coming winter.

But there is still no reason to be optimistic about Britain’s relationship with China since Truss has strongly hinted that China will be designated a national security ‘threat’ and treated the same. than Russia, wrote Jacques.

While expressing concern that Truss could bring great uncertainty to Sino-British relations due to lack of experience and capacity in governance, some Chinese observers called on the new British government to be pragmatic towards the China to help the UK overcome current challenges. They also warned that recklessly following the United States to counter China would bring nothing positive in dealing with the current mess.