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At Munich conference, US rallies the West against enemy number one: China

“We must prepare together for long-term strategic competition with China,” Biden said

US-Joe-biden-Reuters US President Joe Biden | Reuters

While speaking at the Munich Security Conference, addressing EU leaders, US President Joe Biden made it abundantly clear that the Trumpian brand of isolationary nationalism was dead and buried. “I know the past few years have strained and tested the transatlantic relationship,” Biden said. “The United States is determined to re-engage with Europe, to consult with you, to earn back our position of trusted leadership,” he said.

He spoke on a multitude of issues, from the need to salvage the Iran nuclear deal and reckoning with the damages dealt by the coronavirus pandemic. In particular, he pointed out the need to address economic and national security challenges posed by China, and identified cyberspace, artificial intelligence and biotechnology as areas of growing competition. “We must prepare together for long-term strategic competition with China,” Biden declared in the meeting.

The issue of China has been a special point of focus for the recently sworn-in Biden administration, and the US—with recent steps, including new legislations in the Congress—has been upping the ante against the Asian giant, dubbing it as an existential threat to the West.

Stiff competition with China ahead, says Biden

“You know, we must prepare together for long term strategic competition with China. How the United States, Europe, and Asia work together to secure the peace and defend our shared values and advance our prosperity across the Pacific will be among the most consequential efforts we undertake,” Biden said in his address. “Competition with China is going to be stiff. That is what I expect and that is what I welcome because I believe in the global system, Europe, and the United States together with our allies in the Indo-Pacific worked so hard to build over the last 70 years,” he said.

Biden said that they have to push back against the Chinese government's economic abuses and coercion that undercut the foundations of the international economic system. “Everyone must play by the same rules. US and European companies are required to publicly disclosed corporate governance structure—to corporate governance structures and abide by rules to deter corruption in monopolistic practices,” he said.

Chinese companies should be held to the same standard. “We must shape the rules that will govern the advance of technology and the norms of behaviour in cyberspace, artificial intelligence, biotechnology so that they are used to lift people up, not used to pin them down. We must stand up for the democratic values that make it possible for us to accomplish any of this, pushing back against those who would monopolise and normalise repression,” he said.

Legislations in the US Congress

Several top US Republican lawmakers have introduced more than a dozen bills in Congress to counter the growing Chinese influence in the country and to protect America's critical infrastructure. Separately, Senator Rick Scott reintroduced the Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act, sponsored by Congressman Guy Reschenthaler in the US House of Representatives, to protect Taiwan from Communist China's growing aggression. The Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act further reinforces the US-Taiwan relationship and strengthens Taiwan's ability to resist Communist China's aggressive policies and military actions. China views Taiwan as a rebel province that must be reunified with the mainland, even by force.

Congressman Mark Green, who introduced five bills, said that Communist China's rise in military and economic power is one of the greatest security the US faces today. China's leaders are now asserting dominance diplomatically, informationally, militarily, and economically.

The Secure Our Systems Against China's Tactics Act prevents China from purchasing vulnerable American defence companies. The China Technology Transfer Control Act stops China's military from acquiring sensitive technology and intellectual property. The China Debt Repayment resolution calls on China to repay $1.6 trillion in sovereign debt owed to the American people.

"It is past time we address the Chinese Communist Party's efforts to exert control in our economy, our educational institutions, and our military industrial base. From stealing sensitive intellectual property to preying on vulnerable American companies, China's communist leaders have pursued their ambitions at a steep cost to the American people, their own people, and the world," Green said.

"My bills take the swift action we need to protect America's critical infrastructure and bring our supply chains home. Our security and prosperity depend on it," Green said.

Congressman Jim Banks who introduced another five bills said that the greatest threat to American freedom and justice is the Chinese Communist Party. "China is our foremost military adversary, but it also seeks to infiltrate our economy, universities, digital infrastructure and intelligence agencies. Congress should be focused on safeguarding each of these American institutions from the Chinese regime," he said.

Stop Funding the PLA Act prevents US investments from flowing to China's military industrial base by requiring a Treasury Department-led effort to produce a list of PLA-linked companies in which American US individuals, entities, companies, banks and financial institutions cannot invest.

-Inputs from PTI

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