The China Challenge According to Biden’s National Security Team

Image: U.S. Naval Institute

Editorial Note: Over the past month, some of President Biden’s national security cabinet nominees have appeared before congressional panels, beginning the confirmation process that will allow the new administration to start their work. Several of Biden’s cabinet picks are making history as the first woman or person of color to serve in their role. Many have decades of experience in their field and served in the Obama administration. Importantly, the topic of U.S.-China relations was a common thread throughout many of the nominees’ opening statements and questions posed by the Senate committees. Below are the excerpts that pertain to China from all confirmation hearings of Biden’s national security team to date. 

Edited by Kathryn Putz

AVRIL HAINES – CONFIRMED AS DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ON JANUARY 20TH, 2021

Opening Statement 

“For instance, we should provide the necessary intelligence to support long-term bipartisan efforts to out-compete China—gaining and sharing insight into China’s intentions and capabilities, while also supporting more immediate efforts to counter Beijing’s unfair, illegal, aggressive and coercive actions, as well as its human rights violations, whenever we can.”

Click HERE to access the full statement.

Senate Intelligence Committee Questions 

In your opinion, how has the IC performed in adjusting its policies, resource allocations, planning, training, and programs to address these threats? How will you further adjust? 

“It is clear that U.S. national security faces a number of key threats in the coming years. Those include more traditional state-actor threats posed by China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia, as well as evolving and critical transnational threats, including climate change, cyber attacks, terrorism, pandemics, global organized crime and corruption, disinformation campaigns, and more. If confirmed, I look forward to reviewing the current analysis of the great professionals of the Intelligence Community to understand today’s most urgent priorities, to assess how the IC is performing in relation to those priorities, and to determine where adjustments are warranted.”

How do you view the threat from China, and where would China fall in terms of your priorities if confirmed as DNI? 

“China has been growing more authoritarian at home and more assertive abroad, and is challenging our security, prosperity, and values in significant ways. If confirmed, I would ensure that the collection and analysis of information relating to the full scope of China’s activities is a top priority for the entire Intelligence Community.”

How would you allocate staff and budget resources to support the effort to counter Chinese influence, both globally and inside the United States? 

“If confirmed, I will ensure that the Intelligence Community has the resources necessary to inform efforts to counter China’s influence, both globally and inside the United States. I look forward to working with Congress on this challenge.”

What would you do to prevent discrimination against Asian Americans, and ensure that community is an ally in the fight against Chinese espionage? 

“If confirmed, I will make it a priority to prevent and counter discrimination against Asian Americans in the Intelligence Community. I will engage Asian Americans in the IC workforce and civil society to work toward transparency, gain mutual understanding and trust, and engage in inclusive dialogue.”

Click HERE to access the full transcript of policy questions. 

LLOYD AUSTIN – CONFIRMED AS SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ON JANUARY 22ND, 2021

Opening Statement

“Globally, I understand that Asia must be the focus of our effort. And I see China, in particular, as a pacing challenge for the department.”

Click HERE to access the full statement. 

Senate Armed Services Committee Questions

What do you consider to be the most significant challenges you will face if confirmed as Secretary of Defense and what are your plans to address each challenge?

“…Globally, I believe the most significant challenge I will face will be to ensure the Department of Defense’s continued efforts to prepare and strengthen the U.S. military for a dynamic, future security landscape driven by accelerating competitions with China and with Russia — with China as our pacing threat in most areas– while still ensuring our ability to deter today’s range of threats. DoD, in concert with our interagency and international partners and allies, will play a crucial role in deterring Chinese and Russian aggression, while still contending with threats emanating from Iran and North Korea and countering terrorism.”

The 2018 NDS outlines that the United States faces a rising China, an aggressive Russia, and the continued threat from rogue regimes and global terrorism. In your view, does the 2018 NDS accurately assess the current strategic environment? What do you perceive as the areas of greatest risk?

“I believe the 2018 NDS correctly identifies strategic competitions with China and with Russia as the primary challenges animating the global security environment; however, I believe that because of its ascent and the scope and scale of its military modernization, China is the top priority. I am also concerned about transnational threats as the security landscape evolves (e.g., amid COVID-19) and believe that our defense strategy must adapt accordingly. As required by law, if confirmed I will review the NDS and where necessary revise or update it in the 2022 National Defense Strategy. The continued erosion of U.S. military advantage vis-à-vis China and Russia, in key strategic areas, remains the most significant risk the Department must address. If left unchecked, this continued erosion could fundamentally challenge our ability to achieve U.S. national security objectives – and limit DoD’s ability to underpin other U.S. instruments of power.”

What is your assessment of the military threat posed by the People’s Republic of China? 

“I assess that the rapid development and operational focus of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) constitutes a significant and long-term security threat to the United States and to our allies and partners. This threat is an outgrowth of nearly two decades of intense efforts by China to modernize and reform the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and other forces into an increasingly capable joint force able to conduct the full range of military operations across every warfighting domain. In addition to a significant buildup and modernization of its strategic forces, the PLA is advancing its capabilities and concepts for conducting information, cyber, space, and counterspace operations. China has also made it clear that it expects the PLA to be a global military actor that is able to secure China’s growing overseas interests and advance other PRC objectives abroad. These changes are coupled with the PRC’s aggressive and at times coercive activities 7 aimed at advancing its military influence through forging closer ties with foreign militaries, attaining overseas military bases, and expanding the PLA’s presence worldwide.”

Secretary Mattis said that the 2018 National Defense Strategy “establishes my intent to pursue urgent change at significant scale.” Do you share Secretary Mattis’ intent for the NDS? In your opinion, where has DOD succeeded in executing the NDS, where has DOD fallen short, and what should be done to exploit successes and correct deficiencies?

“…I believe the Department has taken important steps in beginning to realign Joint Force capabilities and posture to ensure its competitive military edge against China and Russia, including in key strategic regions – but there is yet more work to be done. I believe we need to accelerate the pace and scope of this change, and make tough choices where fiscal, doctrinal, temporal, or other limitations pose trade-offs to implementing the strategy.”

What is your assessment of the strategic objectives of Russia and China in Africa? In what areas, if any, do these oppose U.S. and partner objectives?

“Over the past five years, Russia has increased its engagement with African nations to bolster global power projection, access raw materials, expand arms sales, and undermine Western influence. Russia views investment in Africa as part of its global influence strategy. China’s strategic objectives in Africa include securing access to economic resources, opening new markets, and gaining operational military experience through 25 peacekeeping and counter-piracy operations, while portraying it as a responsible global actor. I am also concerned about China and Russia’s overseas military basing ambitions and the PLA’s expanding global military presence. The PRC has a well-established air and naval base in Djibouti, which they continue to expand, and is also looking for other African basing locations including along the Atlantic coast. China also uses multilateral forums and international organizations like the Belt and Road Forum to generate new opportunities to strengthen its political influence, promote strategic messaging that portrays it as a responsible global actor, advance its development interests, and limit outside interference in and criticism of its initiatives. 

Given Africa’s diverse political, economic, social, and security landscape, it is difficult to generalize how Russia and China “oppose partner objectives.” However, we have seen how heavy-handed Russian private military companies’ operations in Mozambique, Central African Republic, and Libya have exacerbated local tensions and alienated members of the public. These actions undermine our efforts in African countries to promote civilian control of the armed forces, transparency, and accountability.”

What is your assessment of the efficacy of the current U.S. strategy to compete against Russia and China and to be the security partner of choice in Africa? What changes, if any, would you recommend in this strategy, if confirmed?

“The current U.S. strategy focuses on African partnerships – building capacity, working toward shared objectives, operating transparently, and promoting institutions and good governance for sustainable security – while highlighting and exposing the dangers associated with dealing with China and Russia. DoD’s competitive security edge lies primarily in (1) the superior quality of the equipment, training, education, and other security assistance we provide; and (2) our support to counterterrorism operations. In the face of motivated and capable competitors, we must work to enhance our ability not only to compete, but to win. This means continuing our whole-of-government commitment to stay engaged and develop partnerships and address mutual security concerns in Africa, which will critically involve other agencies strengthening their non-military tools. 

The Department has made notable progress implementing the National Defense Strategy to advance our lines of effort to compete with Russia and China in Africa. This includes enhancing our alliances and partnerships in Africa through efforts like the signing of the 10-year Roadmaps for Defense Cooperation with Morocco and Tunisia. If confirmed, I look forward to reviewing and advancing our strategies to protect and secure U.S. interests in Africa.”

What threat does increased Chinese and Russian involvement in the Middle East pose to U.S. operations and interests and to what extent does a continuous U.S. presence counter their involvement? In your view, what other policy tools might be useful in this regard?

“China and Russia seek to expand their influence in the Middle East and are increasingly using defense sales to try to drive a wedge between us and our long-time partners. Russia, in particular, seeks to reshape Middle East security structures and expand its regional influence by exploiting vacuums of governance and creating frozen conflicts to increase Russian leverage and influence, unconstrained by respect for international rules and norms. Chinese economic activity and technology transfers—coupled with a corresponding but as yet smaller expansion of its military footprint and collection capabilities—is growing Chinese influence across the region. The Chinese seek to apply their economic power to exploit weakened or failing economies in the Middle East. These actions put U.S. influence—military, diplomatic, and economic—at risk. If confirmed, I will review our force presence to ensure it is properly balanced to address the broad range of challenges in the Middle East – including from China and Russia – with global requirements and the health of the joint force.”

The London Declaration issued by NATO Heads of State in December 2019 recognized that “China’s growing influence and international policies present both opportunities and challenges that we need to address together as an Alliance.” 43 Do you share security concerns about China’s growing influence in the European area, and if so, what role do you see for NATO in addressing these concerns? 

“Yes, China’s growing influence and international policies present challenges in the European area that NATO needs to address. The Alliance acknowledged China’s growing influence in 2019 and finalized a comprehensive report on China in December 2020, which are important steps in understanding and addressing the implications of China’s rise. The next step will be the inclusion of China in the Alliance’s forthcoming strategic concept. Among other things, NATO’s role should include intelligence sharing on the risks posed by China, political and economic coordination (including with the EU), and continuing to help increase the resilience of Member States, including their critical infrastructure and secure communications.”

The FY 2021 NDAA authorized $2.2 billion for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI) to support the stability and security of the region and deter further Chinese aggression. Is the current U.S. force posture in the Indo-Pacific region sufficient to support the NDS? How would you propose to restructure U.S. security posture in the IndoPacific to counter Chinese aggression, if confirmed? Please explain your answer. 

“There’s no question that we need a more resilient and distributed force posture in the Indo-Pacific in response to China’s counter-intervention capabilities and approaches, supported by new operational concepts. If confirmed, I’ll review our posture in the IndoPacific including our presence, capabilities, logistics, exercises, infrastructure, and capacity building and cooperation with allies and partners.”

In your view, will PDI be a useful tool to improve U.S. posture in the Indo-Pacific? In your opinion, how could PDI help gauge progress in improving the adequacy of the U.S. posture as it relates to deterring Chinese aggression?

“Yes, I believe PDI will be a useful tool. If confirmed, I look forward to working with Congress to ensure its effective implementation. 44 I believe PDI will help to focus attention on the progress the United States is making to establish a more distributed and resilient posture that deters China’s aggression and reassures our allies and partners.”

The size, diversity, and capabilities of China’s cruise, ballistic, and hypervelocity missile forces create significant asymmetry in the current balance of forces in the IndoPacific theater. How would you assess the threat to U.S. forces, bases, and mission success from Chinese missile forces? How would you evaluate our ability to address such threats? In your assessment, what U.S. investments, concepts of operations, and posture shifts are required to address this threat? 

“China’s military modernization–including in cruise, ballistic, and hypersonic missiles– coupled with its aggressive and coercive actions, presents an increasingly urgent challenge to our vital interests in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world. We will need to continue to strengthen our force posture in the region, making it more resilient, including through investments in capabilities and new operational concepts. The Biden administration will view China as our most serious global competitor and, from a defense perspective, the pacing threat in most areas. If confirmed, I will further focus the Department on China, including the growing missile threat. I will begin by taking stock of the broad range of activities and investments the department has made in recent years, include investments to maintain our technological advantage and the development of new concepts and capabilities to counter China across the spectrum of conflict; updates to U.S. force posture in the region, including through the Pacific Deterrence Initiative; and efforts to strengthen our alliances and partnerships. I’ll seek to understand how my predecessors have risen to the China challenge and then chart a course for the Department’s next steps.”

What is your assessment of the current military balance across the Taiwan Strait? If confirmed, what would you do to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self defense capability? If confirmed, I will carefully review the current military balance across the Taiwan Strait. 

“President-elect Biden has said many times that U.S. support for Taiwan must remain strong, principled, and bipartisan, in line with longstanding American commitments to the Three Communiqués, the Taiwan Relations Act, and the Six Assurances. We will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues, consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people of Taiwan. If confirmed, I will also ensure the United States meets our commitment to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability. Doing so increases stability both across the Taiwan Strait and within the region. At the same time, we will further buttress peace and stability by developing new concepts and capabilities to strengthen our own deterrent in the region. Bipartisan support for Taiwan in Congress is critical, and I look forward to working with Members on this crucial issue.

President-elect Biden has said many times that U.S. support for Taiwan must remain strong, principled, and bipartisan, in line with longstanding American commitments to the Three Communiqués, the Taiwan Relations Act, and the Six Assurances. We will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues, consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people of Taiwan. If confirmed, I will ensure the United States meets our commitment to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability. Doing so increases stability both across the Taiwan Strait and within the region. At the same time, we will further buttress peace and stability by developing new concepts and capabilities to strengthen our own deterrent in the region. Bipartisan support for Taiwan in Congress is critical, and I look forward to working with Members on this crucial issue.”

Should the United States revisit or change its “one China” policy, in your view? 

“President-elect Biden has said many times that U.S. support for Taiwan must remain strong, principled, and bipartisan, in line with longstanding American commitments to the Three Communiqués, the Taiwan Relations Act, and the Six Assurances.”

In your assessment, how should the United States adapt to this shifting maritime balance in the Indo-Pacific? 

“China’s military modernization, coupled with its aggressive and coercive actions, presents an increasingly urgent challenge to our vital interests in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world. The Biden administration will view China as our most serious global competitor and, from a defense perspective, the pacing threat in most areas. If confirmed, I will further focus the Department on China and work to identify and prioritize those programs most critical to maintaining a favorable maritime balance in the Indo-Pacific. That will include investing to maintain our technological advantage and developing new concepts and capabilities to counter China across the spectrum of conflict; updating U.S. force posture in the region, including through the Pacific Deterrence Initiative; and strengthening our alliances and partnerships.”

In your view, what will “great power competition” look like in space and to what extent do you view China’s and Russia’s activities related to the space domain as a threat or challenge to U.S. national security interests? 

“Space is already an arena of great power competition. Chinese and Russian space activities present serious and growing threats to U.S. national security interests. Chinese and Russian military doctrines also indicate that they view space as critical to modern warfare and consider the use of counter space capabilities as both a means of reducing U.S. military effectiveness and for winning future wars. Addressing these challenges in the space domain is central to “great power competition” more generally. While Russia is a key adversary, China is the pacing threat. Given the importance of space in affecting our economic competitiveness, it is essential to continue developing best practices, standards, and international norms of behavior in space. Development of global norms of behavior in space will also deter threatening behavior, and uphold the rights of all nations to use space responsibly and peacefully.”

How will the “defend forward, shape the day-to-day competition, and prepare for war” concepts deter and disrupt Russia and China in cyberspace? 

“China and Russia are conducting persistent malicious cyber campaigns to erode U.S. military advantages, threaten our infrastructure, and reduce our economic prosperity. I believe the Department must effectively counter these campaigns by taking proactive action to: generate insights about the adversary’s cyber operations and capabilities; enable its interagency, industry, and international partners to create better defenses, and; acting, when necessary, to disrupt adversary cyber actors and halt malicious activities.”

What is your understanding of how Russia and China have expanded and/or modernized their nuclear force capabilities? In your view, do these capabilities pose an increasing threat to the United States and its allies?

“I am generally aware of public reporting that both China and Russia continue to invest in their nuclear weapons capabilities. If confirmed, I will undertake a deeper review both of US nuclear posture as part of the Administration’s formulation of our National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy and of the nuclear weapons capabilities of Russia and China. 68 Clearly, it is not in the US interest to see either Russia or China expand their nuclear arsenals. If confirmed, I will undertake a deeper review both of US nuclear posture as part of the Administration’s formulation of our National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy and of the nuclear weapons capabilities of Russia and China and the threat they pose to US interests.”

In your view, which are the most critical Army modernization priorities, particularly in the context of countering the rapidly increasing threat posed by China?

If confirmed, I will work with the Army and the other services to determine how the capabilities in the Army’s modernization portfolio can contribute to a joint warfighting concept through rigorous analysis and robust experimentation so that we field the right systems on the right timelines. Looking ahead, artificial intelligence and machine learning, a next-generation synthetic training environment, robotics, autonomy, and advanced network sensors will all play increasingly important roles, to include supporting the Army’s contributions to Joint All-Domain Command and Control.”

Click HERE to access the full transcript of policy questions. 

JANET YELLEN – CONFIRMED AS SECRETARY OF TREASURY ON JANUARY 25TH, 2021

Senate Finance Committee Questions

Given the global competition and incentives other countries currently offer, do you think the federal government has a responsibility to compete with these foreign countries, including China, to support reshoring manufacturing capabilities for critical industries to ensure supply chain security and create good-paying jobs here at home? 

“The Biden administration will engage in a whole-of-government approach to China that uses our available tools in a manner that is designed to achieve our economic, national security, and foreign policy goals. U.S. efforts to maintain its technological and innovation edge, including in sensitive “dual-use” technologies, must focus on reshoring critical supply chains. If confirmed, ensuring that the United States is able to compete in the global economy will be a top priority.”

With the China Phase One deal still underway and with built-in mechanisms for bilateral engagement, do you foresee being actively engaged in bilateral talks with China as your predecessor was ? 

“President Biden has said he will review all aspects of the Trump Administration’s trade policies toward China, including how completely Beijing has lived up to the terms of the Phase One Agreement. We are closely monitoring China’s adherence to all of its Phase One commitments, including both the purchase commitments and structural commitments. President Biden has said that he is not going to make any immediate moves on the current China tariffs. As part of his review, he is going to consult with allies to galvanize collective pressure. We need a different approach that actually brings meaningful pressure on China.”

What is your position on keeping the Section 301 tariffs on China in place? 

“President Biden has said that we will review the tariffs on China and consult with our allies and will not be making changes until we do both of these things. The Biden Administration will make use of the full array of tools to counter China’s abusive economic practices and hold Beijing accountable.”

The Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) within the Treasury Department administers economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals. Will you commit to have OFAC work with my staff to identify the ways in which current sanctions laws on North Korea and China, including the BRINK Act (P.L. No. 116-92) and the Hong Kong Autonomy Act (P.L. No. 116-149), can be more rigorously implemented? 

“Yes, I can commit to having OFAC personnel discuss with your staff the current sanctions on North Korea and China, including whether the current sanctions are effective and whether such sanctions should be strengthened and, if so, how to do so.”

What is your strategy to leverage U.S. influence and to combat China’s malign influence at these international financial institutions? 

“The Biden Administration will be willing to make use of the full array of tools to hold China accountable. Our approach to date has focused on a unilateral approach — and, as a result, could have been more effective. Going forward, we should strive to meet this important challenge by building a united front of U.S. allies and partners, including through multilateral institutions, to confront China’s abusive behaviors.”

China has increased its investments in Latin America as part of its Belt & Road Initiative. What is your strategy to utilize U.S. influence and leadership at the Inter-American Development Bank to provide an alternative to China’s predatory lending to our friends in Latin America? 

“Competition with China, in Latin America and elsewhere, is one of the central challenges of the 21st century–and we also need to compete with China’s economic statecraft. The Biden-Harris administration will craft an alternative vision that promotes democratic governance and transparency in our global health and development work. We will distinguish ourselves from China’s approach to development, including the Belt and Road Initiative, by ensuring that social and economic safeguards are built into the projects we support. We will focus on partnerships and on strengthening local capacity. In addition, we will work with allies and partners to advocate for the highest environmental, social, and labor standards to promote development investments that are both beneficial and sustainable over the long term.”

China is rapidly innovating in the digital asset and financial technology space, beginning a pilot of a central bank digital currency in late 2020. a. What are your plans to ensure the United States remains a cutting-edge leader in global financial services? b. What are some concrete steps you plan to take to promote responsible innovation at the Treasury, specifically at FinCEN, OFAC and the OCC? 

“I believe the United States must be a leader in the digital asset and financial technology areas. This requires us to develop a regulatory framework that fosters innovation and promising new technologies while addressing legitimate concerns about the use of such technologies to finance terrorism and engage in other malign activities that threaten U.S. national security and pose risks to the financial system. I look forward to working with other federal banking and securities agencies, the Federal Reserve, and Congress in developing and implementing such a framework.”

Do you support Chinese companies having access to US capital markets when these companies are neither as transparent as they should be or have known links to the Chinese military? 

“We need to address the challenges that China poses to our national security and economy. I agree that transparency and disclosure is critical to our capital markets. This is part of the reason why our capital markets remain the deepest and most liquid in the world. I look forward to working with regulators and my colleagues within the Biden Administration to ensure that companies listed in the U.S. follow the law.”

I read with interest some recent comments you made at the Asian Financial forum. I believe you commented in part that the agreement we will sign this week falls short in part because it leaves in place substantial tariffs. As a follow-on, I’d like to ask you the following: If it were the case that both China and the United States were suddenly to eliminate every bilateral tariff applicable to transactions in goods and services and we were to eliminate every non-tariff barrier to trade, would you expect the CCP to abandon: 

  1. Its pervasive practices of requiring IP transfers as an explicit or implicit contract term;
  2. Its systematic and strategic harvesting of digital data from parties that consume digital services as a condition of commercial relationships and contracts concluded with Chinese firms;
  3. Its domestic law that eliminates the legal barrier between “state-owned” and “private” firms domiciled in mainland China?

Doesn’t it follow that a narrow consideration of relative tariff levels or other barriers to trade that act as taxes on commercial exchanges cannot fully capture the economics of trade between the US and China?

“China is America’s most serious economic competitor. Strategic competition with China is a defining feature of the 21st century. China poses challenges to our security, prosperity, and values. China is engaged in conduct that hurts American workers, blunts our technological edge, and threatens our alliances and our influence in international organizations. Winning the economic competition with China requires us to make transformative investments at home in American workers, infrastructure, education, and innovation. We cannot maintain our edge over the long term unless we run faster at home. As President Biden has said, we need to be far more effective in galvanizing allies to join with us to push back on unfair Chinese practices that threaten U.S. values and interests. And we will be willing to make use of the full array of tools to counter China’s abusive economic practices and hold Beijing accountable. In all of these areas, we look forward to working with you and with others in Congress to take on the China challenge.”

Is the PRC a market economy? Has it fulfilled its commitments under accession protocols to the WTO?

“The economic dimension of U.S.-China competition is crucial. And we will take on the challenge of China’s abusive, unfair, and illegal practices. China is undercutting American companies by dumping products, erecting barriers, and giving illegal subsidies to corporations. It is stealing intellectual property and engaging in other practices to give it an unfair technological advantage, including forced technology transfer.”

Click HERE to access the full transcript of policy questions. 

ANTONY BLINKEN – CONFIRMED AS SECRETARY OF STATE ON JANUARY 26TH, 2021

Opening Statement 

“We’ll show up again, day-in, day-out whenever and wherever the safety and well-being of Americans is at stake. We’ll engage the world not as it was, but as it is. A world of rising nationalism, receding democracy, growing rivalry with China, Russia, and other authoritarian states, mounting threats to a stable and open international system, and a technological revolution that is reshaping every aspect of our lives, especially in cyberspace.”

“We can outcompete China – and remind the world that a government of the people, by the people, can deliver for its people.”

Click HERE to access the full statement.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Questions

Do you agree with outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s assessment on Tuesday that China was committing genocide against minority Muslims?

“That would be my judgment as well…the forcing of men, women and children into concentration camps; trying to, in effect, re-educate them to be adherents to the ideology of the Chinese Communist Party, all of that speaks to an effort to commit genocide.”

How will you respond in your first 30 days as Secretary of State?

“I think we should be looking at making sure that we are not importing products that are made with forced labor from Xinjiang …we need to make sure that we’re also not exporting technologies and tools that could be used to further their repression. That’s one place to start.”

Blinken said the United States under Biden, who takes office on Wednesday, would uphold its commitment to ensure that self-ruled Taiwan, which China sees as a wayward province, has the ability to defend itself.

He also said he would like to see Taiwan play a greater role around the world. Blinken said that in international organizations that do not require the status of a country, Taiwan should become a member, and in others that do, “there are others ways that they can participate.”

Blinken said he was in favor of greater engagement with Taiwan and referred to a move by Pompeo to relax restrictions on official dealings with Taipei. “I want to see that process through to conclusion if it hasn’t been completed, to make sure that we’re acting pursuant to the mandate in the (Taiwan Assurance) act that looks at creating more space for contacts.”

“China had under President Xi Jinping abandoned decades of hiding their hand and biding their time in terms of asserting their interests beyond China’s borders. I think that what we’ve seen in recent years, particularly since the rise of Xi Jinping as the leader, has been that the hiding and biding has gone away. They are much more assertive in making clear that they seek to become in effect the leading country in the world, the country that sets the norms, that sets the standards, and to put forward a model they hope other countries, and people will ascribe to.”

Blinken said it was the obligation of the United States “to demonstrate that the vision we have, the policies we pursue, and the way we do it, is much more effective in actually delivering for our people, as well as for people around the world, to make sure that our model is the one that carries the day.”

Click HERE to access the New York Times article on Blinken’s confirmation. 

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  • The U.S.-China Perception Monitor (中美印象) is an online publication that explores perception and misperception in U.S.-China relations through insightful commentaries, interviews with experts, and profiles on key figures in the bilateral relationship.