Vice President Mike Pence gave a speech Thursday at the Hudson Institute in Washington that focused on the growing threats from China. He noted three specific areas of Chinese threat: propaganda, unfair trade practices, and militarization. Pence stated, “As we speak, Beijing is employing a whole-of-government approach, using political, economic and military tools, as well as propaganda, to advance its influence and benefit its interests in the United States.”
Regarding Chinese propaganda, Pence charged, “Beijing has mobilized covert actors, front groups and propaganda outlets to shift Americans’ perception of Chinese policies. … What the Russians are doing pales in comparison to what China is doing across this country.” Pence later noted, “In June, Beijing circulated a sensitive document, entitled ‘Propaganda and Censorship Notice,’ that laid out its strategy. It states that China must ‘strike accurately and carefully, splitting apart different domestic groups’ in the United States.” He further highlighted that, “by one estimate, more than 80 percent of U.S. counties targeted by China voted for President Trump in 2016. China wants to turn those voters against our administration.”
On China’s threat to fair trade, Pence noted, “To win the commanding heights of the 21st century economy, Beijing has directed its bureaucrats and businesses to obtain American intellectual property — the foundation of our economic leadership — by any means necessary.” Pence welcomed “fair and reciprocal” bilateral trade with China but warned that the U.S. will “levy even more tariffs” if Beijing refuses.
Finally, Pence called out China over its aggressive militarization of the South China Sea with its illegal construction of artificial islands, stating, “America had hoped that economic liberalization would bring China into greater partnership with us and with the world. Instead, China has chosen economic aggression, which has in turn emboldened its growing military.” Then noting an incident from earlier this week in which a Chinese naval vessel sailed within 50 yards the USS Decatur as it sailed through globally recognized international waters in the South China Sea, Pence declared, “Despite such reckless harassment, the United States Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows and our national interests demand. We will not be intimidated. We will not stand down.”
The Trump administration’s stance toward China has been appropriate for a communist nation that presents quite the geopolitical challenge to the U.S. Pence’s words are welcome.