Liz Truss will today take a swipe at Emmanuel Macron after he made a high-profile trip to China over the Easter weekend.

The former prime minister will take a thinly-veiled dig at the French President by hitting out at Western leaders who show ‘weakness’ to Beijing.

Mr Macron made a three-day state visit to China last week during which he received a red carpet welcome from the country’s leader Xi Jinping.

He was accompanied on his trip by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

But the French President arrived back in France to a storm of criticism from other European capitals.

It came after he suggested on the trip that a potential conflict between the US and China over Taiwan was not an issue for Europe.

Liz Truss will take a thinly-veiled dig at the French President by hitting out at Western leaders who show ‘weakness’ to Beijing

Emmanuel Macron made a high-profile trip to China over the Easter weekend to meet with Xi Jinping

The French President’s three-day state visit to China saw him receive a red carpet welcome from President Xi

Ms Truss will demand Western nations take a tough line on China – including over Taiwan – when she delivers the Margaret Thatcher Freedom Lecture at a think tank in Washington DC this afternoon.

She will tell the Heritage Foundation: ‘People who hate freedom have been gaining ground.

‘We know that proportionately fewer people live in democracies today than when Mrs Thatcher left office. And that our opponents have felt they can act with impunity.

‘We’ve seen Vladimir Putin launching an unprovoked attack on a free and democratic neighbour.

‘We see the Chinese building up their armaments and their arsenal and menacing the free and democratic Taiwan.

‘Too many in the West have appeased and accommodated these regimes.’

Ms Truss will warn Western nations against cosying up to China in an attempt to use Beijing’s influence with Russia to bring an end to the Ukraine war.

‘Putin and Xi have made it clear they are allies against Western capitalism,’ she will add.

‘That is why Western leaders visiting President Xi to ask for his support in ending the war is a mistake. And it is a sign of weakness.

‘Instead our energies should go into taking more measures to support Taiwan.

‘We need to make sure Taiwan is able to defend itself. We need to put economic pressure on China before it is too late.’

It is not the first time that Ms Truss will have delivered a public dig towards Mr Macron.

During last year’s Tory leadership contest, the then foreign secretary refused to state whether Mr Macron was a ‘friend or foe’ of Britain and claimed the ‘jury’s out’ on the French President.

She later described Mr Macron as a ‘friend’ when the pair met in Prague after she became prime minister, shortly before her disastrous premiership collapsed amid economic chaos.

In remarks that sparked criticism from across the globe this week, Mr Macron called for Europe to be a ‘third pole’ in global affairs between Washington DC and Beijing and not become a ‘vassal’.

‘Do we have an interest in speeding up on the subject of Taiwan?,’ Mr Macron told reporters on his plane. 

‘No. The worst of things would be to think that we Europeans must be followers on this subject and adapt ourselves to an American rhythm and a Chinese overreaction.’

Mr Macron’s comments were widely condemned by Taiwan, US senators and fellow EU politicians.

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