WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, today laid out what’s at stake strategically for the United States as it relates to Communist China ahead of his questioning of Nicholas Burns, President Joe Biden’s nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to China.
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Remarks as prepared for delivery:
Over the weekend, we learned China recently tested—for the first time—what’s known as a hypersonic glide vehicle. As the Financial Times reported: “China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile in August that circled the globe before speeding towards its target, demonstrating an advanced space capability that caught U.S. intelligence by surprise.”
If China deploys hypersonic glide vehicles, they would enable China to circumvent U.S. ballistic missile defenses and strike the U.S. homeland with little warning.
Ambassador Burns, this new military capability is worrisome. But I believe the even bigger alarm is the continued complacency about China that we still see in far too much of America’s national security establishment. We see this when China probes and menaces our democratic ally Taiwan, and the Administration responds with silence or presidential talk about a so-called “Taiwan Agreement” with China that doesn’t even exist.
Xi Jinping has made clear the Chinese Communist Party has a plan for China to dominate the world diplomatically, economically, technologically, and militarily. Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party want to achieve dominance and displace the United States by 2049—the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China—and they certainly are locking in every advantage that they can along the way.
President Trump awakened our Nation to the Chinese threat, and the Biden Administration inherited a very strong China strategy—one that I helped to craft and implement as U.S. Ambassador to Japan. As part of the China strategy, the Trump Administration also rightly determined that China is engaged in genocide and crimes against humanity with respect to Uyghurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang.
I worry that the Biden Administration will try to strike some sort of a naïve grand bargain on climate and other issues with China that effectively erases a strong China strategy. Such a naïve deal could significantly weaken our energy independence. Meanwhile, China would continue to burn more coal and emit more greenhouse gases than all of the developed world combined, with an unenforceable pledge to reduce their carbon footprint at an undetermined time in the future.
Ambassador Burns, that’s my view of what’s at stake strategically.