‘China is the largest threat we face’, says Liz Truss
Liz Truss has demanded Rishi Sunak withdraw his invitation to China to attend next week’s AI summit at Bletchley Park.
At his keynote AI speech this morning, Rishi Sunak rebuffed China hawks in the Tory Party and said “no serious strategy for AI” could exist without the involvement of China.
This afternoon his predecessor hit back, saying she had been “deeply disturbed” to learn about the invitation.
In a letter to Mr Sunak, Liz Truss says it is wrong to extend the invitation to “the same Chinese state that has used and abused technology to aid its oppression of millions and attacks on freedom and democracy”.
While the PM says China must be involved in global discussions around regulating the technology, Ms Truss argues that the Communist regime in Beijing “has a fundamentally different attitude to the West about AI”.
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She warns Beijing instead sees it “as a means of state control and a tool for national security”.
Ms Truss points out that Mr Sunak’s own deputy Prime Minister agreed with these concerns when, as Culture Secretary in 2020, Oliver Dowden made the decision to remove all Huawei equipment from the UK’s 5G networks.
She said: “That was the correct call then and should have informed decisions about invitations to the Bletchley Park summit.”
She also argues that “no reasonable person” would expect China to abide “by anything agreed at this kind of summit, given their cavalier attitude to international law”.
The former PM concludes with a demand that Mr Sunak reconsider his invitation to the Chinese state.
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Ms Truss has frequently clashed with China, not least since leaving office after she travelled to Taiwan to deliver a speech on the island’s independence.
Answering journalists’ questions after his AI speech this morning, Mr Sunak acknowledged: “I can’t say with 100 percent certainty that China will be there.”
However he argued the invitation was “very consistent” with the UK’s foreign policy to have China present.
He added: “I know there are some who will say they should have been excluded but there can be no serious strategy for AI without at least trying to engage all of the world’s leading AI powers.
“That might not have been the easy thing to do but it was the right thing to do.”
The PM’s official spokesman added that he remains “confident” No. 10 has invited the “right group of countries… and businesses”.
Mr Sunak told the public this morning that AI could represent a threat to Britain, allowing terrorists to develop biological and chemical weapons, however also represents an opportunity for the economy.
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