LONDON – Britain can remain a world power despite the emergence of new economic titans like China, but only if it sorts out its economic problems, Prime Minister David Cameron says.
In a major foreign policy speech at the Lord Mayor's Banquet in London on Monday, Cameron will reject the idea that the rise of new economic powers means Britain is "shuffling apologetically off the world stage."
"What I have seen in my first six months as prime minister is a Britain at the center of all the big discussions," Cameron will say, according to extracts released in advance by his office. "So I reject the thesis of decline."
Britain has the world's sixth-largest national economy, after the United States, Japan, China, Germany and France, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Cameron plans to say that Britain has "a powerful combination of assets," including the world's fourth-largest military budget, a "vibrant and tolerant society" and an outward-looking economy.
Cameron says reducing national debt is a key priority, because "economic weakness at home translates into political weakness abroad."
His government has promised to slash 81 billion pounds ($128 billion) from public expenditure over the next four years to rein in the debt. The plan is meeting opposition from students, public sector workers and others who will be hit by the cuts.
In the speech, Cameron will argue that economic strength will restore respect and national self confidence.
"So the faster we can get our domestic house in order, the more substantial and credible our international impact is going to be," he said in extracts.