The GuardianThe Guardian

Competitor or adversary? The West struggles to define its relationship with Beijing

By Julian Borger

16 Feb 2023 · 5 min read

Editor's Note

Is Beijing a "threat" to Europe and the U.S.? Western leaders are reluctant to use that term. And it has a lot to do with close trade ties to China. The Guardian has a nuanced analysis.

If you want to solve a problem, it helps to be able to define it, but when it comes to a problem like China, western leaders have been struggling to find the right words.

Liz Truss sought to designate China as a “threat” to Britain, but did not stay prime minister long enough for that to become established policy. Her successor, Rishi Sunak, has opted for the less combative “systemic challenge” but he is under pressure from backbench MPs to follow Truss’s path and call Beijing a “strategic threat”.

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