China-Taiwan tensions at a point 'not seen in years' says expert
John Ratcliffe, the US Director of National Intelligence, wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal calling China under Xi Jinping “the greatest threat to America today”. Following his remarks, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence acting Chairman Marco Rubio and Vice Chairman Mark Warner have backed the official and agreed about the threat China poses to the US and the world at large. This year has seen tensions escalate between China and the US over various issues, such as the coronavirus pandemic and human rights violations to trade disputes and sanctions.
In a joint statement, Mr Rubio, a Florida Republican, and Mr Warner, a Virginia Democrat, threw their support behind the Director of National Intelligence’s China warnings.
Mr Ratcliffe said in his article that “China poses the greatest national security threat to the United States” and warned “the Chinese Communist Party will stop at nothing to exert its global dominance”.
He then claimed under Mr Xi’s leadership, China is “the greatest threat to democracy and freedom world-wide since World War II”.
Mr Ratcliffe then added “Beijing intends to dominate the US and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically” through a massive espionage plan to steal intellectual property from the US, replicate the technology, then edge those same firms out of the market – a strategy he called “rob, replicate and replace”.
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The US officials struck a similar tone in their joint statement, claiming Beijing’s influence and “infiltration of US society has been deliberate and insidious as they use every instrument of influence available to accelerate their rise at America’s expense”.
Mr Rubio and Mr Warner added: “This is our watershed moment and we must stand our ground.
“The United States must not and cannot accept Beijing’s quest to exert dominance, while dismissing international legal norms and committing egregious human rights abuses to further their goals.
“We have made considerable progress in rebalancing the US-China relationship and laying a clear marker for US policy going forward, and we will not stand idly by as the Chinese Communist Party attempts to undermine our economic and national security.”
Hua Chunying, China’s ministry of foreign affairs spokeswoman, has rubbished Mr Ratcliffe’s claims and called it “just a sensational headline”.
She added Mr Ratcliffe had no evidence for his claims, accused him of souring US and Chinese relations.
The spokeswoman added: “He just continued and repeated what is I think another concoction of lies.
“We hope that American politicians will respect the facts, stop making and selling fake news, stop fabricating and spreading political viruses and lies, and stop damaging Sino-US relations, otherwise it will only further damage the credibility of the United States.”
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Earlier this year China slammed sanctions on 11 US citizens, including Mr Rubio, for their role in measures against the country’s treatment of Uighur Muslims.
The US had earlier imposed sanctions against a government entity and four Chinese officials for their role in “serious human rights abuses targeting ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, which reportedly include mass arbitrary detention and severe physical abuse, among other serious abuses targeting Uighurs”.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at the time Washington would not “stand idly by as the Chinese Communist party carries out human rights abuses”.
Ms Hua said the US sanctions were a “serious interference in China’s internal affairs, severe violation of basic norms governing international relations, and grave harm to China-US relations”.
Other flashpoint of conflict between the US and China come from Beijing’s claims of “sovereignty” in the South China Sea.
Mr Pompeo said in July: “Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful, as is its campaign of bullying to control them.”
Since then, Washington has carried out military drills in the disputed waters with allied nations, fostered closer ties with Indo-Pacific nations and sold a total of $4.981 billion worth of weapons to Taiwan this year.
China has retaliated to the arms deal with sanctions on American arms manufacturers involved in the agreements, and officials have regularly accused Washington of having a “new Cold War” mentality.
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