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Details of sweeping effort to counter China emerge in U.S. Senate

PoliticsApr 09, 2021 04:40AM ET
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By Patricia Zengerle and David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Leaders of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee introduced legislation on Thursday to boost the country's ability to push back against China's expanding global influence by promoting human rights, providing security aid and investing to combat disinformation.

The draft measure, titled the "Strategic Competition Act of 2021," mandates diplomatic and strategic initiatives to counteract Beijing, reflecting hard-line sentiment on dealings with China from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

The 280-page bill addresses economic competition with China, but also humanitarian and democratic values, such as imposing sanctions over the treatment of the minority Muslim Uighurs and supporting democracy in Hong Kong.

It stressed the need to "prioritize the military investments necessary to achieve United States political objectives in the Indo-Pacific." It called for spending to do so, saying Congress must ensure the federal budget is "properly aligned" with the strategic imperative to compete with China.

The bill recommends a total of $655 million in Foreign Military Financing funding for the region for fiscal 2022 through 2026, and a total of $450 million for the Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative and related programs for the same period.

It would expand the scope of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which scrutinizes financial transactions for potential national security risks. However, like many provisions of the bill, this clause could be changed as it moves through the committee and full Senate.

The draft legislation calls for an enhanced partnership with Taiwan, calling the self-ruled island "a vital part of the United States Indo-Pacific strategy" and saying there should be no restrictions on U.S. officials' interaction with Taiwanese counterparts. China considers Taiwan a breakaway province.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular news briefing on Friday that China "resolutely opposes" the bill and called for senators to do more to help the stable development of China-U.S. relations.

Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou expressed thanks for the Senate's show of support, adding it would pay close attention to the development of the legislation.

The bill also says Washington must encourage allies to do more about Beijing's "aggressive and assertive behavior," including working together on arms control.

Introduced by Senators Bob Menendez, the committee's Democratic chairman, and Jim Risch, its ranking Republican, the draft bill was released to committee members to allow a markup, a meeting during which the panel will discuss amendments and vote, on April 14.

"I am confident that this effort has the necessary support to be overwhelmingly approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee next week and the full Senate shortly thereafter," Menendez said in a statement.

Risch said in a statement he was also pleased the bill included a "strong and actionable" plan to counteract China's influence efforts at U.S. universities.

The measure is part of a fast-track effort announced in February by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to pass legislation to counter China.

"Congress is extremely focused on the various challenges that China poses to American interests and is trying to develop effective responses that are within its purview," said Center for Strategic and International Studies Asia expert Bonnie Glaser.

The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on April 14 on its bipartisan measure, the "Endless Frontier Act," to bolster the U.S. semiconductor industry.

Details of sweeping effort to counter China emerge in U.S. Senate
 

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Comments (10)
yan yan
yan yan Apr 08, 2021 4:37PM ET
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sounds like more about military budget than china, dont worry your kidsll pay for it
yan yan
yan yan Apr 08, 2021 4:37PM ET
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after they get their paycheck from chinese boss
David SheepofCCP
David SheepofCCP Apr 08, 2021 3:48PM ET
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I told you guys...we are the greatest. Our neighbors in the South China Sea just loves us after we claim their entire water ways.
Connecticut Yankee
A_Jaundiced_Eye Apr 08, 2021 3:32PM ET
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Stock market hasn't yet realized how serious this is.  Dems can't back down or will look weak before midterm elections.  China wants Taiwan's semiconductor industry.  When the situation worsens, and the market starts to realize it, LOOK OUT BELOW - Fed will have to close the markets. Just like U.S. sanctions on Japan in 1940; result was Pearl Harbor.
Tho Nguyen
Tho Nguyen Apr 08, 2021 1:12PM ET
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China needs to be more controlled. They are bullying and have no respect for other countries. Time to put them back in their place
Lincoln Lincoln
Lincoln Lincoln Apr 08, 2021 1:12PM ET
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USA should have bomb or nuclear bomb Vietnam flat. Your comment has wasted 300K PLA soldiers helping Vietnam. Ingrate !!!
Jaishankar Singh
Jaishankar Singh Apr 08, 2021 12:29PM ET
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China is a global threat, like they have tried with us (India), now they have realised that we are strong enough to teach them a better lesson.
Lincoln Lincoln
Lincoln Lincoln Apr 08, 2021 12:29PM ET
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Build more toilets first...!!!
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Apr 08, 2021 12:29PM ET
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didn't China just kicked your *******again in the Himalayas a few months back?
Star Boi
Star Boi Apr 08, 2021 12:29PM ET
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Tre Hsi  No, they just tried to covertly divert a water way into China and failed. Its called theft and they were caught. Biased are we?
Casador Del Oso
Casador Del Oso Apr 08, 2021 12:27PM ET
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All talk...no action. Just like Joe.
Wayne Gillispie
Wayne Gillispie Apr 08, 2021 10:48AM ET
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Corporate America and Leaders...So, how is the 25 years of outsourcing our factory jobs overseas working out for you? I predicted this 20 years ago. We ran out of PPE. Now what factories that are left here are shutting down due to computer chip shortages. Greed, lack of INTEGRITY or ACCOUNTABILITY will always come back to ***one in the...
Nick Gulati
Nick Gulati Apr 08, 2021 10:46AM ET
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i thought only trump was tough on china
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Apr 08, 2021 10:46AM ET
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Trump was tough on China only when he wanted people to vote for him, otherwise he outsourced his merchandises from chinese factories like most other companies/billionaires
Vlad Lozovskiy
Vlad Lozovskiy Apr 08, 2021 9:59AM ET
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Forget it. At first they say people need not to study and don't work in USA, then they want to compete with China.  Good luck with that.  You can only compete with China on number of shemales.
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel Apr 08, 2021 9:16AM ET
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Biden will not fight his communist partner China because he also wants to destroy the USA
Bonney Lake
Bonney Lake Apr 08, 2021 9:16AM ET
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no more Fox news for you...
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Apr 08, 2021 9:16AM ET
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Biden are destroying USA by growing the economy and lowering unemployment and having stock markets hitting record highs, just like his previous democrat boss Kenyan Obama.....these socialists must be stop, bring back the Bush economies (Sr or Jr, take your pick) or Trump's trade wars!
 
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