British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. (Reuters)
Post-Brexit Britain aims to strengthen relations with nations beyond Europe
LONDON: British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss traveled to Malaysia on Sunday as part of a week-long visit to Southeast Asia aimed at deepening economic and security ties in the region, her office said.
Truss will also visit Thailand and Indonesia, chosen to reflect their “growing economic and diplomatic heft,” as post-Brexit Britain looks to strengthen relations with nations and regions beyond Europe.
“I want to position Britain where the future growth is and to think about who our major partners will be in 2050 and beyond,” Truss said in a statement.
“Southeast Asia will be the engine of the global economy and I want Britain to be part of that, upgrading our economic and security relations with the region to reflect its growing importance.”
The Foreign Office said Truss would look to build closer ties on infrastructure investment into the region.
She will meet with the leaders and foreign ministers in Malaysia and Thailand, with topics for discussion including defense cooperation and trade, as well as deeper digital and tech investment and security collaboration.
Truss will also hold talks on foreign policy issues such as Myanmar and Afghanistan with her Indonesian counterpart, and seek closer ties on counterterrorism and cybersecurity.
Separately, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government rejected fresh accusations of corruption on Sunday after a newspaper investigation found major donors to his Conservative Party were offered seats in parliament’s upper chamber.
The government has been embroiled in a corruption row over the past week, with Johnson forced to abandoned plans pushed through parliament to protect one of his lawmakers who was found to have broken lobbying rules.
The Sunday Times reported that all but one of the 16 Conservative treasurers over the last two decades had donated more than £3 million ($4.05 million) to the party and then been offered a seat in the House of Lords.
The role of Conservative treasurer has become the most ennobled job in Britain, the newspaper said, ahead leaders of the country’s institutions and charitable organizations and even former prime ministers.
“Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party is corrupt, dodgy, sleazy and on the take,” opposition Labour Party deputy leader Angela Rayner said on Twitter.