U.S. Congress launches new China committee, warns of ‘existential struggle’ – National

The House Select Committee dedicated to countering China began its work Tuesday at a primetime hearing, with the panel’s chair urging lawmakers to act urgently, calling on lawmakers to “end the race between the United States and China.” framed as “an existential struggle over what life will be like. In the 21st century.” “

Some critics have expressed concern that the hearings could escalate tensions between the U.S. and China, but lawmakers tried to show unity, and the committee’s top Democrat said he was “a civilization.” He made it clear that he wanted lasting peace, not conflict.

Tensions between the United States and China have been building for years, with the two countries imposing retaliatory tariffs on a range of imports during the presidency of Donald Trump. ) pandemic, attacks on Taiwan, and recent flights of possible spy balloons over the United States have fueled lawmakers’ desire to do more to counter Beijing. The CCP’s new special commission is expected to be at the center of many of their efforts over the next two years.

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The chairman of the committee, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin), held a hearing with a call to action. He addressed the difficulty of finding common ground on China-focused legislation and said the Chinese government would be friends with lobbyists on Wall Street and Washington’s K Street who are ready to oppose the committee’s efforts. said to have found

“Time is not on our side. No,” said Gallagher. “We must act with a sense of urgency.”

Gallagher hopes the commission will finalize several bills over the next two years and issue a set of long-term policy recommendations. So far, Gallagher seems to have Democratic buy-in and support. The vote to create the commission was bipartisan, 365 to 65.

Opponents on the Democratic side mainly expressed concern that the commission could further escalate anti-Asian hate crimes. Stated.

Rep. Raja Krishnamooti (D-Ill.), a Democrat on the committee, said both Republicans and Democrats underestimate the Chinese Communist Party. He said the goal is to pursue economic and trade policies that undermine the U.S. economy.

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“We don’t want a war with (the People’s Republic of China), cold or hot,” Krishnamooti said. “We don’t want a clash of civilizations. But we want lasting peace, and for that we must deter aggression.”

The hearing was interrupted by two protesters, one of whom said, “This commission is about the sound of sabers, not about peace.” Both were taken away by the police.

Witnesses at Tuesday’s hearing included two former advisers to Trump: Matthew Potty, the deputy national security adviser who resigned shortly after the Jan. 6, 2021 riots at the U.S. Capitol. Nger. From February 2017 he served as National Security Advisor until April 2018. He is HR McMaster.

McMaster and Pottinger made a sweeping assessment of what they said was the challenge facing the United States from China. , to weakening China’s control over its supply chains, to strengthening Taiwan to make it impossible for Chinese forces to occupy it.

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Mr. Pottinger said the main emphasis of his testimony was to draw attention to how complacent America has become. “Before he can take the initiative, he must deal with the fact that national interests have been greatly eroded over the past quarter century,” he said.

Chinese human rights advocate Tong Yi emphasized human rights concerns at the hearing. She was arrested in the 1990s after serving as an interpreter for a major dissident who urged the United States to condition trade based on China’s human rights situation. He was detained for nine months before being sentenced to a year and a half and sent to a forced labor camp.

“In the United States, we have to face the fact that we have helped feed the Chinese Communist Party’s baby dragons until they grow to what they are today,” she said.

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Scott Paul, chairman of an alliance formed by some manufacturing companies and the National Steelworkers Union, said that “51 years of wishful thinking by American leaders” was a testament to the CCP’s “obvious and current imposition on the American people.” He testified that he was unable to change the dynamics that “represent danger to our workers, our innovation infrastructure, and our national security.” “

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The hearings come at a time of heightened competition and tensions between China and the United States. Both the United States, its allies, and China have strengthened their military positions in the Indo-Pacific in the event of a conflict over the autonomous Taiwan, which China claims is its territory.

Last summer, Chinese warships and military planes launched missiles over Taiwan after then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited a U.S. ally. rejected President Joe Biden’s declaration that he could not control his actions.

And three weeks ago, the Biden administration used F-22-launched Sidewinder missiles to end the journey of what the US claims to be a giant Chinese surveillance balloon across US territory.

Both incidents, especially the balloon, have captured the attention of the American public and politics, sparking debate about how to treat China at the center of American political discourse.

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“This is another sign of a negative slide, or downward spiral, in U.S.-China relations,” said Washington analyst Michael Swain, who specializes in China security studies, of the Gallagher committee. ‘ said. Swain said the hearings would add political pressure to take a tougher stance on Biden, who has repeatedly emphasized his desire for limited dialogue with China.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has teamed up with Democratic leader Rep. , said it was the result of not speaking with “one voice.” “

“Republicans and Democrats alike need to speak with one voice,” McCarthy said. I think the whole of America wants this.”

Gallagher said he believes the commission has at least 10 bills that it can approve bipartisanly. Still, members would seek endorsement from McCarthy before endorsing the bill, he said. One of the biggest challenges, he said, is that jurisdiction over China-related issues is spread across numerous committees, and members of those committees want a say.

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“I think we can play a constructive coordinating function among the committees and ensure that good ideas don’t disappear just because they’ve been referred to a committee rift or multiple committees.” says Gallagher.

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