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We Must Not Take Our Eye Off China

We Must Not Take Our Eye Off China

By Congressman Mike Simpson

Washington, D.C. – “Though media attention has understandably been focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in recent months, China’s global destabilizing efforts have continued in the shadows.  China’s goals of trade and military dominance are a threat to the United States, and we should not neglect our policies of countering China’s aggressive and reckless trade, health, human rights, and military practices. In the absence of a strong United States, China will only continue to strengthen its influence over other nations and its efforts to destabilize the current world order. 

“China has demonstrated its interest in territorial expansion in the South China Sea and particularly through its confrontational relationship with Taiwan and its southeast Asian neighbors.  China claims most of the South China Sea, which overlaps with territorial claims of several other sovereign Asian-Pacific nations.  The People’s Liberations Army (PLA) Navy frequently attempts to project power in the South China Sea and especially in the Taiwan Strait.  China’s grand strategy, known as the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” seeks to “match or surpass U.S. global influence and power,” according to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.[1]  As a nuclear-armed state, China’s aggressive military expansion is a threat to global security.  

“I am also deeply concerned about the continuing trade imbalances between the U.S. and China.  Currently, China exports to the United States almost three times the value of goods that the United States exports to China.  While the Trump Administration made significant strides in correcting this imbalance, the total goods trade deficit in 2021 stood at more than $350 billion.[2]  Meanwhile, China has forged ahead with its “Belt and Road Initiative,” which seeks to expand China’s global commercial ties and influence through predatory lending practices in other countries.  China exhibits unfair trade practices at home and abroad by pulling the strings of China’s economy and attempting to export its rules and standards globally, hampering free trade and putting U.S. companies at a disadvantage.

“During the Trump Administration, the Republican-led Congress put pressure on China to end their unfair trade practices.  The United States applied tariffs on imports from China and banned several Chinese firms that are associated with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).  In the 117th Congress, I supported the CHIPS for America Act, which was included in the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.  This bill includes a number of provisions that seek to reverse years of China’s hostile semiconductor-related trade practices and are aimed at bringing semiconductor fabrication—the chips that power cell phones, computers, and cars—back to the United States to preserve the supply chain and protect intellectual property. 

“China’s dubious handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated just how dangerous China’s disregard for global public health can be, as the Chinese government failed to adequately contain and report on the spread of the virus.  While the exact origins of the virus remain unclear due to the CCP’s lack of transparency, Republicans in Congress have continued to urge the National Institute of Health to support an independent, scientific investigation into the origins of the SARS-COV-2 virus and the possible role of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in its spread.  Understanding the origins of the SARS-COV-2 will play a crucial role in preventing or mitigating the next pandemic, and we must keep the pressure on the CCP to allow an investigation.  We must also continue to remove Chinese manufacturing from our critical supply chain through legislation such as Title III of the CARES Act, which passed Congress with my support in 2020.

“Like many other Members of Congress, I support efforts to send a strong message to China on issues of concern.  Their actions affect many facets of the economy and global security.  In the 117th Congress, I will continue to ensure that China is held accountable for its anti-democratic and egregious foreign and domestic policies.”