China-U.S. Relations at Pivotal Point

The United States has reached a pivotal point with the Chinese Communist regime in Beijing.  Under the Obama-Biden administration, Chinese aggression towards its neighbors went virtually unchallenged.  its growing attempts to peddle influence within the United States, particularly in the field of education, continued at an extensive level.  its ongoing economic theft of western trade secrets was not effectively countered. U.S. workers, particularly those in blue-collar jobs, saw their employment ripped away.

The Trump Administration has made countering China’s growing danger a hallmark policy. David Stilwell, the State Department’s Assistant Secretary of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, testified recently before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee. He stressed that allowing China to join the World Trade Organization and facilitating its entry into regular global commerce failed to reduce the regime’s hostile nature and aggression.

Stilwell stated that “It is now clear to us, and to more and more countries around the world, that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) under General Secretary Xi Jinping is not seeking to join the free and open international order we and our allies and partners have fought and died to defend for generations.  Instead, PRC foreign and security policy seeks to disrupt and reshape the international environment around the narrow self-centered interests and authoritarian values of a single beneficiary, the Chinese Communist Party.”  He cited Secretary of State Pompeo, who noted that  “It is no longer realistic to ignore the fundamental differences between our two systems and the impact that…the differences in those systems have on American national security…Today, we are finally realizing the degree to which the Communist Party is truly hostile to the United States and our values.”  Stilwell emphasized that “The CCP is now using any and all means to undermine the international rules-based order and project power across the world, especially in the Indo-Pacific region.  All nations should worry how this outcome would negatively affect the global community and the values we share.”

The testimony included examples of China’s aggression. “A few months ago, as the world was coming to grips with the reality of the global pandemic, one of China’s leading virologists warned that the coronavirus was ‘just the tip of the iceberg.’  She was speaking as an epidemiologist and urging a global response to prevent future outbreaks, but that analogy is a useful way to think about CCP aggression and malign activities globally. For each visible example of CCP malign activity worldwide, there are many more lurking beneath the surface… the CCP … is… an aggressive, autocratic, ambitious, paranoid, hostile threat to free and open societies and the free and open international order.”

The extensive list of Beijing’s aggressive behavior can no longer be ignored. It includes, Stilwell revealed, assaults on foreign companies and governments; manipulation of international organizations; silencing of critics abroad; buying, stealing, or forcing the transfer of technology to further its military and economic ambitions; and spreading disinformation.

The problem is growing. Stilwell pointed out that just recently, China has engaged in a border dispute with India; made aggressive moves in the South China Sea and around Taiwan and the Senkakus; accelerated a push to wipe out Mongolian and Tibetan culture and language in China; and continued a campaign of repression and forced labor in Xinjiang, and shut down freedom in Hong Kong in violation of international accords.

the current White House has engaged in substantial moves to counter Beijing’s assaults, including clamping down on the CCP’s influence-peddling activities in the United States, moving forcefully against its spies, reinforcing American military strength in the region, and enacting economic moves the stop the hemorrhaging of U.S. jobs and industries to China.

Frank Vernuccio serves as editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy and Government.

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