China is engaged in provocative and coercive military and paramilitary activities in India and other neighbouring countries as it attempts to eliminate perceived threats to its interests and advance its strategic objectives globally, the White House said in a report on Thursday.
The criticism came a day after the United States said that the tension on the border between India and China in Ladakh and Sikkim was a reminder of the fact that Chinese aggression can be real, not merely rhetorical. America’s remarks were a reference to Indian and Chinese armies rushing in additional troops in areas around Pangong Tso and Galwan Valley in Ladakh.
In a report, ‘United States Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China’ submitted to the US Congress, the White House issued a broad-scale attack on Beijing’s “predatory” economic policies, military buildup, disinformation campaigns and human rights violations. It was submitted as a requirement to the National Defense Authorization Act 2019, a federal law which specifies the budget, expenditures and policies of the US Department of Defense for the fiscal year of 2019.
The 20-page report lays out various actions by Beijing that the Trump administration argued threaten American economic interests, security and values. It said that China also has been engaged in a military buildup, has engaged in cyber hacking and Beijing’s pledge to end predatory economic practices “is littered with broken and empty promises”.
“As China has grown in strength, so has the willingness and capacity of the Chinese Communist Party to employ intimidation and coercion in its attempts to eliminate perceived threats and advance its strategic objectives globally,” the report said. “Beijing contradicts its rhetoric and flouts its commitments to its neighbours by engaging in provocative and coercive military and paramilitary activities in the Yellow Sea, the East and South China Seas, the Taiwan Strait, and Sino-Indian border areas.”
Such actions belie Chinese leaders’ proclamation that they oppose the threat or use of force, they do not intervene in other countries’ internal affairs, or are are committed to resolving disputes through peaceful dialogue, it said.
According to the report, the Trump administration sees “no value” in engaging with Beijing for “symbolism and pageantry”. “When quiet diplomacy proves futile, the United States will increase public pressure” it said.
The establishment of US’ relations with China was done with the hope that it will spur fundamental economic and political opening in Beijing and lead to its emergence as a global stakeholder, with a more open society “More than 40 years later, it has become evident that this approach underestimated the will of the Chinese Communist Party to constrain the scope of economic and political reform in China,” the report said.
Beyond its repeated hard-hitting rhetoric against China over its handling of the coronavirus, the Trump administration said it is also is upset at how China continues to argue to the World Trade Organization that it is a “developing country,” even though it is the top importer of high-tech products and ranks second only to the US in terms of gross domestic product, defense spending and outward investment.