‘Adversary, Not Competitor’: House Armed Services Committee Sets Sights On Countering Communist China
Philip Lenczycki on February 7, 2023
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is the “most challenging national security threat” that the U.S. has faced in 30 years, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) said Tuesday.
The military of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is “starting to outpace us” and the U.S. no longer has “the luxury of time” to prepare against potential conflict with what has now become the country with the “largest army and navy in the world,” Republican Alabama Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told the committee. Several experts, including Admiral Harry Harris and Melanie Sisson, fellow at the Brookings Institution, also testified before the committee, and spoke to China’s increasingly belligerent behavior.
“If we fail to acknowledge that, and take immediate action to deter it, the next 30 years could be devastating for our nation,” Rogers told the committee.
Rogers identified a number of key sectors in which the U.S. must focus in order to remain competitive against China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), warning that China has “leapfrogged us on hypersonic technology” and is now “fielding what we are still developing.” HASC’s chairman also pointed to the PRC’s “advances in AI and quantum computing” as new technologies in which the U.S. urgently needs to stay ahead.
“The CCP is not building these new and advanced military capabilities for self-defense,” Rogers said.
Rogers also addressed China’s “advanced espionage efforts,” citing the Chinese spy ballon which the Biden administration shot down on Saturday after it had already traversed the continental U.S.
“Make no mistake, that balloon was intentionally launched as a calculated show of force,” Rogers told the committee.
The experts who testified before the committee also characterized the PLA as an existential threat which the U.S. government urgently needed to recognize as an opponent.
The PRC is an “adversary, not competitor,” Harris, former commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, told the committee.
Harris testified that the U.S. now enters “the decisive decade” in determining if the U.S. or the PRC will emerge as the dominant world power.
Seeking to gain regional dominance, the PRC has been using “illicit and illegal means” to “expand influence” and “intimidate its neighbors,” Sisson told the committee.
Yet, not every HSAC member anticipated military conflict with the PRC, including Democratic Washington Rep. Adam Smith, HSAC’s ranking member.
Although acknowledging that the PRC is the “greatest threat that we face to our national security objectives,” Smith told the committee that “war with China is not inevitable.”
Smith also said that it was a “dangerous mistake to think that we can defeat China” and urged the U.S. government to increase cooperation with allies and “partners across the globe” in order to counterbalance the PRC’s growing threat.
Smith further cautioned the committee to “separate the Chinese government from Chinese people” in order to avoid spurring anti-Asian hate in the U.S.
The Chinese Embassy did not respond immediately to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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