Washington: Influential US Senators have introduced a slew of resolutions in the Senate, condemning China’s rising actions to militarise the South China Sea and also to tackle Beijing’s economic practices that distort global markets and hurt the American businesses.
Introduced by Senators Rick Scott, Josh Hawley, Dan Sullivan, Thom Tillis and Roger Wicker on Wednesday, the first resolution applauded the American Navy and Coast Guard for their efforts to ensure freedom of navigation operations and send a clear message that the US will not tolerate Communist China’s extension of power in waters beyond its legitimate territorial sea boundaries.
The Communist Party of China, led by Chinese President Xi Jinping, continues to militarise the South China Sea and is eager to expand its territorial claims in the region, Scott said during the introduction of the resolution.
This aggressive and unlawful action cannot be tolerated. I’m proud to lead my colleagues today in a resolution to applaud the hardworking men and women of the US Navy and Coast Guard for working to defend our freedoms, and to send a clear message to General Secretary Xi that his aggression cannot continue, he said.
Sullivan alleged that in recent years, China has ramped up its aggressive actions against neighbouring peaceful nations both to expand its influence and subvert the rule of law in the South China Sea.
The alarming, belligerent behaviour of Xi Jinping cannot continue. This resolution commends the courageous Coast Guard and Navy service members who continue to promote international order in the region and sends a strong message to the Chinese Communist Party that hostility toward our allies will not be tolerated, he said.
According to Tillis, the brave men and women of US Armed Forces deployed in the Indo-Pacific play a critical role in protecting access to vital commercial corridors like the South China Sea.
China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea. Beijing has built up and militarised many of the islands and reefs it controls in the region.
Both maritime areas are stated to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources and are also vital to global trade.
China’s claims to sovereignty over the South China Sea are unfounded and threaten the international order. The US must hold Beijing accountable for its unauthorised expansions, and I applaud the US Navy and Coast Guard for working to maintain the balance of power in the Pacific region, Wicker said.
Similarly, a group of eight Republicans on Wednesday re-introduced the Strengthening Trade, Regional Alliances, Technology, and Economic and Geopolitical Initiatives Concerning China Act (STRATEGIC Act) to advance a comprehensive strategy for US competition with China.
Key provisions of the STRATEGIC Act are tackling China’s economic practices that distort global markets and hurt US businesses, especially Intellectual Property theft and mass government subsidisation and sponsorship of Chinese companies, and confronting tech competition by increasing technology collaboration with allies and partners.
It also seeks to safeguard institutions from malign and undue Chinese influence and strengthen US posture in the Indo-Pacific to protect its interests, allies, and partners.
The legislation was re-introduced by Senator Jim Risch, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, along with Senators Mitt Romney, Todd Young, Dan Sullivan, Mike Rounds, Roger Wicker, Marco Rubio, Bill Hagerty, and Rob Portman.
The Chinese Communist Party presents an unprecedented threat to not only US values and interests, but also to the free and open international system characterised by individual freedom and the rule of law something the United States has carefully built over seven decades, said Risch.
Any legislation that aims to confront this threat must address the full range of challenges posed by the CCP and marshal broad bipartisan support, he said.
That is why I am proud to re-introduce the first comprehensive legislative package on competition with the People’s Republic of China with several colleagues that have strong records on China, Risch continued.
Congresswoman Elise Stefanik reintroduced the Stop Higher Education Espionage and Theft (SHEET) Act. It will counter espionage and influence operations at American colleges and universities by allowing the designation and removal of hostile actors that are deemed a foreign intelligence threat to higher education by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
In the Senate, an identical bill was introduced by Senator Ted Cruz.
As I have repeatedly said, China is the single greatest geopolitical threat facing the United States and a profoundly malign influence in our universities, he said.
The SHEET Act advances US security by countering espionage and propaganda targeting American higher education. I remain committed to fundamentally reassessing the US-China relationship and holding China accountable for their widespread espionage, censorship, and human rights violations, Cruz said.
Congresswoman Stefanik recently cosponsored similar legislation, the End College Chinese Communist Partnerships Act, that would block taxpayer funds from going to American colleges and universities with Confucius Institute partnerships.