As Liz Truss visits Taiwan island, London has had a 'bad teammate': Global Times editorial
Published: May 16, 2023 11:56 PM
Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Former British prime minister Liz Truss began her trip to Taiwan on Tuesday. In the last week before her departure, this provocative plan against China, which was somewhat "fashionable" in the circles of obsolete politicians in the US and the West, aroused fierce criticism from UK public opinion and among the Conservatives. 

The trip became notorious even before it happened. On the one hand, this is because of Truss' bad personal image in the UK, and on the other hand, it reflects that the political effect of "visiting Taiwan" has been severely weakened. Such ugly shows are only attracting fewer and fewer audiences.

Truss' Taiwan visit is egregious. It is not only a brutal interference in China's internal affairs, but also digging holes for the UK. She can be called London's "bad teammate." Truss' short career in office was marked by political misjudgments, and it now seems that she has not learned any lessons and is even more paranoid than ever. In order to reduce its negative impact, the British government said that it is "the independent travel decisions of a private citizen who is not a member of the government." However, in view of Truss' special status as a former prime minister and current member of parliament, the British government cannot completely disassociate itself from Truss' behavior, and needs to share the consequences and costs caused by it.

In fact, the British are well aware of it. Let's see what Truss' fellow Conservatives said about her: "The trip is performative, not substantive. It is the worst kind of example of Instagram diplomacy;" "it complicates the government's own position on China." 

Criticism from some British media is even more direct: "The disgraced prime minister's clumsy meddling jeopardizes delicate relations with Beijing;" "indulging her hubris and pique, the serially irresponsible MP for South West Norfolk is doing her country another disservice;" "the last thing Taiwan's people need is 'help' from Truss." 

Don't these remarks sound like what the Global Times editorial could say? Despite that our perspectives and intentions are different, we agree with the above comments on Truss' visit to Taiwan. During her visit, Truss will deliver a so-called "keynote speech," which could earn her tens of thousands of pounds. We have reason to suspect that this is one of her motivations for insisting on visiting Taiwan despite opposition from all sides. 

The British media succinctly summarized what Truss will say: "more simplistic, dangerously belligerent verbiage." It is reported that she will tell the West to "get real" on military aid to Taiwan, express her hope that the British government could support Taiwan's accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, and make aggressive remarks against the Chinese mainland. However, Truss' current remarks, even within the UK, carry no weight, let alone having any impact outside the UK. For the Conservative Party and the current British government, she is more of a political fault-finder and trouble-maker. 

Truss once played the card of being tough against China. She took power of 10 Downing Street but quickly resigned after only 45 days in office due to her incompetence, becoming the shortest-serving prime minister in the UK. Through her embarrassing political performance, Truss has shown many British people that being tough against China and provoking China not only did not help solve internal problems in the UK, but also further increased the difficulty of solving them. The Rishi Sunak government's intention to adjust the UK's China policy is likely to have learned from the lessons left by Truss.

Nowadays, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities always emphasize "we are not alone" wherever they go, which precisely reflects their inner fear of being like rats crossing the street. Therefore, they are eager to spend a lot of money inviting some washed-up politicians from some countries to come to the island. In fact, before Truss came, many netizens in Taiwan mocked her for "coming to Taiwan for a free meal" and criticized her and the DPP as "the worst hypocrites in history." It can be concluded that Truss won't bring any benefits to Taiwan, but will only make the DPP authorities go further on the dangerous path of self-anesthesia and self-deception.