Vice President’s speech on U.S. policy toward China

On Oct 4, 2018, Vice President Mike Pence delivered a major speech on U.S. policy towards China at the Hudson Institute.

View the speech on YouTube;

Read the full text of the speech:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-vice-president-pence-administrations-policy-toward-china/

Highlights:

“The United States of America has adopted a new approach to China. We seek a relationship grounded in fairness, reciprocity, and respect for sovereignty, and we have taken strong and swift action to achieve that goal.

“Our vision of the future is built on the best parts of our past, when America and China reached out to one another in a spirit of openness and friendship.

“When our young nation went searching in the wake of the Revolutionary War for new markets for our exports, the Chinese people welcomed American traders laden with ginseng and fur.

“When China suffered through indignities and exploitations during her so-called “Century of Humiliation,” America refused to join in, and advocated the [so-called] “Open Door” policy, so that we could have freer trade with China, and preserve their sovereignty. [Note: Technically, the term “Open Door Policy” was only applicable before the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949; however, After Deng Xiaoping took office in 1978, the term referred to China’s policy of opening up to foreign business that wanted to invest in the country, setting into motion the economic transformation of modern China.]

“China’s estrangement from the United States ended in 1972, and, soon after, we re-established diplomatic relations and began to open our economies to one another, and American universities began training a new generation of Chinese engineers, business leaders, scholars, and officials.

“After the fall of the Soviet Union, we assumed that a free China was inevitable. Heady with optimism at the turn of the 21st Century, America agreed to give Beijing open access to our economy, and we brought China into the World Trade Organization.

“Previous administrations made this choice in the hope that freedom in China would expand in all of its forms -– not just economically, but politically, with a newfound respect for classical liberal principles, private property, personal liberty, religious freedom — the entire family of human rights. But that hope has gone unfulfilled.

“The dream of freedom remains distant for the Chinese people. And while Beijing still pays lip service to “reform and opening,” Deng Xiaoping’s famous policy now rings hollow.

“Over the past 17 years, China’s GDP has grown nine-fold; it’s become the second-largest economy in the world. Much of this success was driven by American investment in China. And the Chinese Communist Party has also used an arsenal of policies inconsistent with free and fair trade, including tariffs, quotas, currency manipulation, forced technology transfer, intellectual property theft, and industrial subsidies. These policies have built Beijing’s manufacturing base, at the expense of its competitors -– especially the United States of America.

“China’s actions have contributed to a U.S. trade deficit with China that last year ran to $375 billion –- nearly half of our global trade deficit. As President Trump said just this week, ‘We rebuilt China’ over the last 25 years.

“Now, through the ‘Made in China 2025‘ plan, the Communist Party has set its sights on controlling 90 percent of the world’s most advanced industries, including robotics, biotechnology, and artificial intelligence. 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.

“Beijing now requires many American businesses to hand over their trade secrets as the cost of doing business in China. It also coordinates and sponsors the acquisition of American firms to gain ownership of their creations. Worst of all, Chinese security agencies have masterminded the wholesale theft of American technology –- including cutting-edge military blueprints.

Beijing is also using its power like never before. Chinese ships routinely patrol around the Senkaku Islands, which are administered by Japan. And while China’s leader stood in the Rose Garden at the White House in 2015 and said that his country had, and I quote, ‘no intention to militarize’ the South China Sea, today, Beijing has deployed advanced anti-ship and anti-air missiles atop an archipelago of military bases constructed on artificial islands.

“China’s aggression was on display this week, when a Chinese naval vessel came within 45 yards of the USS Decatur as it conducted freedom-of-navigation operations in the South China Sea, forcing our ship to quickly maneuver to avoid collision. 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 and we will not stand down. (Applause.)

“America had hoped that economic liberalization would bring China into a greater partnership with us and with the world. Instead, China has chosen economic aggression, which has in turn emboldened its growing military.

“Nor, as we had hoped, has Beijing moved toward greater freedom for its own people. For a time, Beijing inched toward greater liberty and respect for human rights. But in recent years, China has taken a sharp U-turn toward control and oppression of its own people.

“The United States of America has been defending our interests with renewed American strength.

“We’ve been making the strongest military in the history of the world stronger still. Earlier this year, President Trump signed into law the largest increase in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan -– $716 billion to extend the strength of the American military to every domain.

“We’re modernizing our nuclear arsenal. We’re fielding and developing new cutting-edge fighters and bombers. We’re building a new generation of aircraft carriers and warships. We’re investing as never before in our armed forces. And this includes initiating the process to establish the United States Space Force to ensure our continued dominance in space, and we’ve taken action to authorize increased capability in the cyber world to build deterrence against our adversaries.

“We’re also implementing tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods, with the highest tariffs specifically targeting the advanced industries that Beijing is trying to capture and control. And as the President has also made clear, we will levy even more tariffs, with the possibility of substantially more than doubling that number, unless a fair and reciprocal deal is made. (Applause.)

“As President Trump has made clear, we don’t want China’s markets to suffer. In fact, we want them to thrive. But the United States wants Beijing to pursue trade policies that are free, fair, and reciprocal. And we will continue to stand and demand that they do. (Applause.)

“Sadly, China’s rulers, thus far, have refused to take that path.

“Our administration is going to continue to act decisively to protect America’s interests, American jobs, and American security.

“As we rebuild our military, we will continue to assert American interests across the Indo-Pacific.

“As we respond to China’s trade practices, we will continue to demand an economic relationship with China that is free, fair, and reciprocal. We will demand that Beijing break down its trade barriers, fulfill its obligations, fully open its economy — just as we have opened ours.

“We’ll continue to take action against Beijing until the theft of American intellectual property ends once and for all. And we will continue to stand strong until Beijing stops the predatory practice of forced technology transfer. We will protect the private property interests of American enterprise. (Applause.)

“As our National Security Strategy states: We should remember that ‘Competition does not always mean hostility,’ nor does it have to. The President has made clear, we want a constructive relationship with Beijing where our prosperity and security grow together, not apart. While Beijing has been moving further away from this vision, China’s rulers can still change course and return to the spirit of “reform and opening” that characterized the beginning of this relationship decades ago. The American people want nothing more; and the Chinese people deserve nothing less.

“The great Chinese storyteller Lu Xun often lamented that his country, and he wrote, “has either looked down at foreigners as brutes, or up to them as saints,” but never “as equals.” Today, America is reaching out our hand to China. And we hope that soon, Beijing will reach back with deeds, not words, and with renewed respect for America. But be assured: we will not relent until our relationship with China is grounded in fairness, reciprocity, and respect for our sovereignty.” (Applause.)

 

 

Additional Background Reading

The Hundred Year Marathon: by Michael Pillsbury,  Amazon Books.

Based on interviews with Chinese defectors and newly declassified, previously undisclosed national security documents, The Hundred-Year Marathon reveals China’s secret strategy to supplant the United States as the world’s dominant power, and to do so by 2049, the one-hundredth anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic. Michael Pillsbury, a fluent Mandarin speaker who has served in senior national security positions in the U.S. government since the days of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, draws on his decades of contact with the “hawks” in China’s military and intelligence agencies and translates their documents, speeches, and books to show how the teachings of traditional Chinese statecraft underpin their actions. He offers an inside look at how the Chinese really view America and its leaders – as barbarians who will be the architects of their own demise.

The China Dream: Great Power Thinking and Strategic Posture in the Post-American Era , Liu Mingfu. Amazon Books. “Examines the inherent conflict in U.S. China relations and the coming “duel of the century” for economic, military, and cultural dominance in the world. Written by a veteran Chinese military specialist, and scholar, it defines a national “grand goal” to restore China to its historical glory, and take the Unites States’ place as world leader. This is the definitive book for geopolitical understanding of what constitutes the “hawk” version of China’s national destiny debate and is critical for understanding China’s strategic goals in the 21st Century.”

“Liu Mingfu has written a subtle, sophisticated history of how he and many of his colleagues perceive American grand strategy since George Washington. Then, he proposes what China needs to do in the decades ahead so as not to “give the world to America.” He argues not only for a Chinese defense force equal to the American military, but make an appeal to Americans to give up our domineering “hegemony.” He prefers instead that we relax while a nation with 5,000 years of history leads the world with its superior virtue. American readers will be surprised to see how he recommends China follow many lessons from our history since 1776, but avoid our dark side. He praises the three greatest Chinese emperors of Qin, Han and Tang who combined a peaceful economic rise with a marital spirit and strong military forces.” Michael Pillsbury,Director of the Center for Chinese strategy Hudson Institute Washington DC

“In Liu’s view, no matter how much China commits itself to a ‘peaceful rise,’ conflict is inherent in U.S.–China relations. The relationship between China and the United Sates will be a ‘marathon contest’ and a ‘duel of the century.’” ―Henry Kissinger in On China

“Sino–American competition will be the defining game of the century, and for both sides, the process will be magnificent, the outcomes brilliant, and the effects lasting and far-reaching. […] America, tough but young, and China, a strong and ancient nation, separated by the vast distance of the Pacific Ocean, are playing the largest game of global power in human history. […] The outcome will certainly set the world down a path to a new age.” ―Liu Yazhou in the foreword

National Security Strategy (United States)

“The National Security Strategy (NSS) is a document prepared periodically by the executive branch of the government of the United States for Congress which outlines the major national security concerns of the United States and how the administration plans to deal with them. The legal foundation for the document is spelled out in the Goldwater-Nichols Act. The document is purposely general in content (contrast with the National Military Strategy, NMS) and its implementation relies on elaborating guidance provided in supporting documents (including the NMS).

“The stated intent of the Goldwater-Nichols legislation is broadly accepted as valid for effective political discourse on issues affecting the nation’s security–the Congress and the Executive need a common understanding of the strategic environment and the administration’s intent as a starting point for future dialogue. That said, however, it is understood that in the adversarial environment that prevails, this report can only provide a beginning point for the dialogue necessary to reach such a “common” understanding.[1] 

U.S. National Security Strategy, Dec 2017

“Success, however, bred complacency. A belief emerged, among many, that American power would be unchallenged and self–sustaining. The United States began to drift. We experienced a crisis of confidence and surrendered our advantages in key areas. As we took our political, economic, and military advantages for granted, other actors steadily implemented their long-term plans to challenge America and to advance agendas opposed to the United States, our allies, and our partners.

“We stood by while countries exploited the institutions we helped to build. They subsidized their industries, forced technology transfers, and distorted markets. These and other actions challenged America’s economic security. At home, excessive regulations and high taxes stifled growth and weakened free enterprise—history’s greatest antidote to poverty. Each time government encroached on the productive activities of private commerce, it threatened not only our prosperity but also the spirit of creation and innovation that has been key to our national greatness.[16]

About the author  ⁄ AmCham Vietnam

AmCham is an independent association of companies with the objective of promoting trade and investment between Vietnam and the U.S. With two chapters, one in Ho Chi Minh City and one in Hanoi, our membership of 700 companies and 1,500 representatives is unified by a commitment to promote trade and investment between Vietnam and the United States.

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