It’s undeniable the massive threat the Chinese Communist Party poses to the United States and our citizens. In recent weeks, I’ve addressed how China’s leaders — the Chinese Communist Party — have an established history of undermining American manufacturing, sabotaging critical trade deals, stealing American intellectual property, and now, causing the largest and deadliest global pandemic in more than a century. Still, perhaps no Chinese threat is more blatantly menacing than its military.
For more than a decade, the United States has tracked China’s trend of spending large sums of money on its military. Many have argued these long-term military investments and modernization of strategic forces make the country a large-scale rival of the United States.
The threat extends beyond the United States, however. On the global stage, China has proven itself to be a deceitful bully that steamrolls any nation that dare stand in its path to world domination.
One of the most predatory examples of the Chinese Communist Party using its wealth of resources for malevolence is the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). To developing nations, the lure of financial support and infrastructure development is enough to trap them into a deceptive deal. Through BRI, China offers to support vulnerable nations with some type of critical investment — for example, the construction of a new port.
This scenario sets up two possible outcomes: China expanding its wealth and access, or the deal defaulting in China’s favor, giving the Chinese Communist Party a strategic foothold in key locations around the world. This debt trap exploits ally nations of the United States, extends the long arm of the Chinese Communist Party, and therein endangers democracy.
Our country’s leaders must continue pushing back against BRI to strengthen and empower our allies and ensure China does not amass even more political and economic influence than it already holds.
One nation in particular lives in the large shadow cast by the looming Chinese Communist Party: Taiwan. Due in part to its proximity to China, Taiwan lives in a constant state of threat by its neighbor, which frequently flexes its military strength in displays of aggression toward Taiwan.
Last month, I joined several colleagues in pushing to clarify and strengthen the United States’ commitment to defend Taiwan in the event of an armed attack. We are leading the way to ensure several steps are taken to strengthen Taiwan’s defense against any attacks, as well as our country’s robust relationship with them.
Diplomatic relations between the United States and countries in this region are key to ensuring healthy trade across the globe. Not only is this critical to our country as a whole, it’s of particular importance to Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, where manufacturing and agriculture sectors account for a significant number of local jobs and a large chunk of our economy, and exports bring in billions of dollars annually.
When China provokes its neighbors and the United States’ allies, the impact is felt across the globe and right here in our home state of Ohio.
In this vein, tensions have been rising in the South China Sea, a critical passageway for trillions of dollars worth of annual international trade. The Chinese Communist Party claims sovereignty over a majority of the sea — a territory often referred to as the “nine-dash line” — though the United States and our allies in the region agree these territorial claims demonstrate a vast overreach by the Chinese Communist Party.
As China’s leaders have increased military action in the South China Sea, they have simultaneously restricted foreign nations’ presence and intelligence-gathering activities there. Without anyone standing up to them, the Chinese Communist Party will continue to act like a child trying to cover up its wrongdoing, which is exactly why the United States must stand up to the global bully once and for all.
Recently, one of my initiatives was adopted in a larger military legislation package: the South China Sea Freedom of Navigation Act. This legislation will allow the United States to more closely track China’s maritime actions in the South China Sea, establishing a continuous public record of the Chinese Communist Party’s international malice, and setting a precedent for any future actions taken by the United States.
The Chinese Communist Party has been given a pass for far too long. Given our well-documented record of their regime’s efforts to cause harm to the United States and our allies, we can no longer look the other way. Bullies only respond to strength, so it’s time the United States stands up to the unlawful actions of the Chinese Communist Party.
This piece is the third in a three-part series about Chinese aggression, written by Congressman Troy Balderson, who represents Ohio’s 12th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.