Lawmakers of eight countries join hands to counter China's challenge

World | 5 Jun 2020 3:48 pm

Senior legislators from eight countries have launched an alliance to drive for a tougher international stance on China, the UK's Times reports.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the Conservative former cabinet minister, and Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws, QC, a Labour peer and human rights barrister, will be the UK leaders of the new Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (Ipac).

They have joined cross-party politicians from the US, Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Norway and Sweden, as well as members of the European parliament, to lobby their respective national governments on China.

The alliance is founded on the belief that in recent years China has not been held to the same standards as other countries.

The group said it aims to “construct appropriate and coordinated responses, and to help craft a proactive and strategic approach on issues related to the People’s Republic of China.”

U.S. Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democrat Bob Menendez, former Japanese defense minister Gen Nakatani, and European Parliament foreign affairs committee member Miriam Lexmann  are all co-chairs of the newly launched group.

“China, under the rule of Chinese Communist Party, represents a global challenge,” Rubio, a frequent critic of Beijing and supporter of U.S. legislation targeting China over its actions in Hong Kong, said in a video message on Twitter.

Beijing has repeatedly stressed that the situation in Hong Kong is an internal matter, while saying China’s broader economic and diplomatic expansion poses no threat to the world.

“We urge a small number of politicians to respect facts, respect the basic rules of international relations, abandon a Cold War mentality, stop interfering in domestic affairs and making political moves for selfish interests,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular news briefing in Beijing Friday.

The alliance said China’s economic rise is putting the global, rules-based order under pressure and that countries that have tried to stand up to Beijing have mostly done so alone -- and “often at great cost.” The list of participating nations includes the U.S., Germany, U.K., Japan, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Norway, as well as members of the European parliament.

“The time has come for democratic countries to unite in a common defense of our shared values,” Smith, the U.K. lawmaker, said on Twitter.-The Times/Bloomberg




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