President Donald Trump makes it clear in his new national security strategy that China is not a friend, lumping it in with several other global threats and challenges.
Trump has made a sincere effort to build a positive working relationship with China in an attempt to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis, as well as address trade disputes negatively affecting bilateral ties. Yet, the president’s new strategic plan repeatedly calls attention to the unpleasant realities of the relationship and identifies China as an aggressive challenger, a copy of the document reviewed by The Daily Caller News Foundation revealed.
“China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity,” the president’s new “America First” strategy asserts. “They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence.”
The Trump administration accuses China of practicing “economic aggression.”
“Every year, competitors such as China steal U.S. intellectual property valued at hundreds of billions of dollars,” Trump’s new strategy explains, adding that America must protect its innovation base. The administration launched an investigation earlier this year into the alleged theft of American intellectual property by China.
The president argues China is a “revisionist” power determined to build a world that is not in the best interests of the U.S. and its allies and international partners.
“China and Russia want to shape a world antithetical to U.S. values and interests,” the president’s national security strategy stresses. “China seeks to displace the United States in the Indo-Pacific region, expand the reaches of its state-driven economic model, and reorder the region in its favor.”
The Trump administration accuses China of engaging in coercive diplomacy, as well as fielding advanced military capabilities to limit American power. China also stands accused of flouting international law.
“Our adversaries will not fight us on our terms. We will raise our competitive game to meet that challenge, to protect American interests, and to advance our values,” the administration argues, noting the world does not operate in binary terms — peace and war, but rather it is an “arena of continuous competition.”
The president does not appear to be advocating for a traditional policy of containment, but the new national security strategy clearly state the U.S. will contest China’s efforts to unfairly advance its interests at the expense of other states and international actors.
Former President Barack Obama said in his 2015 National Security Strategy that “the United States welcomes the rise of a stable, peaceful, and prosperous China.” Such language is not present in Trump’s plan, which asserts that the U.S. will cooperate with competitors from a position of strength.
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