On Wednesday July 14th, former US vice-president Mike Pence urged maintaining pressure on China to President Joe Biden. Also, Pence criticised the Democratic administration for “already rolling over” for Beijing. This is Pence’s latest speech since leaving the White House in January under the former Trump administration.
Three main issues Biden administration should act on
Pence brought up three main issues among a long list of other matters for President Biden to act on. Firstly, he wants the de-listing of Chinese companies that flout American accounting standards. Secondly, to protect freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific region, Pence wants the US navy to be on immediate stand-by. Thirdly, he calls for the US President to demand China to openly reveal the origins of the coronavirus.
The Chinese government views America as an adversary, said Pence. “China may not yet be an evil empire, but it is working hard to become one”. Pence says it poses the greatest threat to American values, prosperity and security.
Pence is also critical of the Biden administration for actions taken in its initial days in office. These actions are in total opposition to the steps taken by the Trump administration. Firstly, the Biden administration re-joined the World Health Organisation from which the Trump administration abruptly left. Also, the Biden administration re-joined the Paris Agreement on climate change, which former president Trump withdrew from. The Trump administration criticised both organizations for favouring China.
Pence running for presidency
Pence said “Weakness arouses evil. China senses weakness in the new administration.” Recent weeks have seen Pence making a string of public appearances, while eyeing a run in the 2024 presidential elections.
In February, the former VP joined the Heritage Foundation, the Washington-based conservative think tank, as a distinguished visiting fellow. Pence made a speech there, addressing diplomats and foreign policy watchers on Wednesday.
The Biden administration is keeping most of the Trump administration’s hardline policies on China. The four main policies among others, are:
- Retaining a blacklist of certain Chinese companies and officials
- Maintaining tariffs on Chinese goods
- Keeping up criticism on China’s erosion of autonomy in Hong Kong
- Observing China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.
“Emerging Cold War”
Although acknowledging tariffs are still in place, Pence is calling for a further separation of American and Chinese economies in critical industries. He believes this should be done in light of the “emerging Cold War” between the two superpowers. Also, Pence is calling on the Biden administration to negotiate a trade agreement with Taiwan.
The Biden administration should end farm subsidies for land owned by Chinese investors said Pence. Also, he said Chinese investment in critical US infrastructure projects such as pipelines and power plants should be prohibited. There should be an increase in the number of Chinese companies not allowed to invest in America. Pence said the increase should be “by at least an order of magnitude”.
Pence raises matters of national security
Another issue Pence raised is the prohibition of issuing H1-B visas to Chinese nationals working in US technology companies. This is “to protect American intellectual property and national security. This is not because we don’t trust Chinese visa holders. We don’t trust the Chinese government.”
Beijing faces accusations of coercing its citizens to participate in industrial espionage, according to Pence.
Take firm action against China
The former VP is calling the US government to ban Confucius Institutes in US colleges and universities. These institutes are Chinese language and culture centers that China sets up in collaboration with other educational centers across the world.
Also, Pence demands that the 2022 Winter Olympics be moved out of China.
These two actions should move China to end its persecution of Uighur Muslims, and come clean on the origins of Covid-19.
The American Enterprise Institute is a public policy think tank dedicated to defend human dignity. Its senior fellow Zack Cooper commented on Pence’s speech to The Straits Times. Cooper said that the speech was a “signal of where the Trump administration was headed rhetorically on China. It is yet another sign that Republicans will keep China in their crosshairs over the next few months and years”.
However, Cooper doubts Pence’s speech will have much effect on the Biden administration’s position on China.
15th July 2021 23:00
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