U.S. and European companies involved in joint ventures with state-owned Chinese firms may have accidentally made a deal with the devil. Firms have been asked to give Communist Party individuals significant control in corporate decision making per the Washington Post. China may not be as “open for business” as its advocates frequently claim.
In addition to economic power, China’s military strength and regional influence have grown astronomically over the past decade. President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE and his team recognize that Beijing’s increasing reach is becoming a threat to our national security, economic interests, and status as the world’s superpower. In response, the president is working to restore American hegemony in the region by building up our military presence, expanding relationships with key allies, and putting economic pressure on China. Americans can be assured that this president isn’t afraid to confront Beijing and defend our interests.
Restoring American leadership hasn’t been easy coming off the shortcomings of the previous administration. Preferring to take a hands-off approach, President Obama largely sat back and watched as Beijing continued to vastly expand its military force and influence in the region.
China worked overtime to enlarge its presence in the contested South China Sea where once empty waters now boast man-made airstrips, radar facilities, and other military fortifications. Despite UN sanctions, cash from Chinese businesses flowed to the authoritarian North Korean regime, keeping it afloat, and allowing it to continue terrorizing its citizenry. Worse, China obliterated our intelligence networks in the country, leading to the jailing and killing of more than a dozen CIA informants.
Thankfully, Trump has positioned the U.S. to take a more aggressive posture and combat China head-on.
To his credit, the president was confronting China even before he took office. “There are people who wish I wouldn’t refer to China as our enemy. But that’s exactly what they are,” noted the president in his 2015 book Crippled America. Additionally, Trump lambasted China on the campaign trail for unfair trade practices and Beijing’s comfort with businesses outsourcing factories and jobs at our expense.
Known China-hawks were nominated for key positions in the new administration’s Cabinet. During the testimony of soon-to-be Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - Supreme Court lets Texas abortion law stand Trump-era ban on travel to North Korea extended Want to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump MORE, Tillerson stated that he and the president would take aggressive action to stop China’s build-up of manmade islands in the South China Sea, and dramatically increase freedom of navigation patrols in the area. Chinese state-run media responded by advising Trump and Tillerson to prepare for a “military clash” if the U.S. dared to intrude in the area.
In the face of this aggressive rhetoric, the new administration had a choice: reassert America’s dominance on the world stage or cow to the demands of the Communist regime. Trump refused to give in to pressure, and freedom of navigation patrols has dramatically increased in response.
The president has also solidified relationships with key allies in the region seeking to curtail China’s influence. In particular, Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have developed a close relationship. “There has never been such a close relationship between two countries,” Trump noted during his visit last November to Japan. Strong kinship has led to agreements to better maritime cooperation and an emphasis on developing further U.S.-Japanese security ties with Australia and India to counter Chinese expansionism.
Restarting the American economy has also been a key counter-measure to China from this administration. Passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has brought billions of dollars back into the U.S. economy, and first-quarter GDP is projected above five percent. Massive deregulation has spurred job growth and helped the stock market rise to record levels.
Trump has also worked to enhance our allies’ military capabilities. THAAD missile inceptors have been installed in South Korea as a response to the Kim regime’s repeated provocations. Additionally, the administration approved a $1.4 billion arms sale of torpedoes, missiles, and technical expertise for advanced radar systems to the Taiwanese government.
To that end, the president is also holding China accountable to help put pressure on North Korea over its development of nuclear weapons. For too long, China has refused to wholeheartedly assist the international community in putting pressure on the Kim Regime to scale back its nuclear program and provocations of war. Chinese individuals and companies pursuing business ventures with North Korea were given a blind eye despite being in clear violation of international law.
Thankfully, the president has ramped up pressure on Beijing to comply with international agreements and implement measures against Kim of its own. Due to demands from Trump, Beijing ordered all banks to halt business and implement United Nations sanctions against the Kim regime.
This administration also isn’t afraid to expose Beijing on the world stage when it looks the other way. In August, Trump gave the go-ahead to slap sanctions on companies and individuals from China and Russia who were accused of violating sanctions. U.S. intelligence also publicly released photos of Chinese ships selling oil to North Korea — an embarrassment for Beijing.
Americans should be proud of the president and his administration for actions taken to counter China’s rise. The president is working overtime to curtail Beijing's ambitions through economic and military dominance. And this is just the beginning. Expect more action from the president and his team soon. It’s long past time to reinsert American power in dealing with China.
Alex Titus is a fellow at America First Policies, a nonprofit organization supporting key policy initiatives that will put America first.