Remarks by Vice President Pence on the Administration’s Policy Toward China

Remarks by Vice President Pence on the Administration’s Policy Toward


Office of the Vice President


For Immediate Release October 4, 2018



The Hudson Institute

Washington, D.C.

11:07 A.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Ken, for that kind introduction. To
the Members of the Board of Trustees, to Dr. Michael Pillsbury, to our
distinguished guests, and to all of you who, true to your mission in this
place, “think about the future in unconventional ways” –- it is an honor to
be back at the Hudson Institute.

For more than a half a century, this Institute has dedicated itself to
“advancing global security, prosperity, and freedom.” And while Hudson’s
hometowns have changed over the years, one thing has been constant: You
have always advanced that vital truth, that American leadership lights the

And today, speaking of leadership, allow me to begin by bringing greetings
from a great champion of American leadership at home and abroad –- I bring
greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America,
President Donald Trump. (Applause.)

From early in this administration, President Trump has made our
relationship with China and President Xi a priority. On April 6th of last
year, President Trump welcomed President Xi to Mar-a-Lago. On November 8th
of last year, President Trump traveled to Beijing, where China’s leader
welcomed him warmly.

Over the course of the past two years, our President has forged a strong
personal relationship with the President of the People’s Republic of China,
and they’ve worked closely on issues of common interest, most importantly
the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

But I come before you today because the American people deserve to know
that, as we speak, Beijing is employing a whole-of-government approach,
using political, economic, and military tools, as well as propaganda, to
advance its influence and benefit its interests in the United States.

China is also applying this power in more proactive ways than ever before,
to exert influence and interfere in the domestic policy and politics of
this country.

Under President Trump’s leadership, the United States has taken decisive
action to respond to China with American action, applying the principles
and the policies long advocated in these halls.

In our National Security Strategy that the President Trump released last
December, he described a new era of “great power competition.” Foreign
nations have begun to, as we wrote, “reassert their influence regionally
and globally,” and they are “contesting [America’s] geopolitical advantages
and trying [in essence] to change the international order in their favor.”

In this strategy, President Trump made clear that the United States of
America has adopted a new approach to China. We seek a relationship
grounded in fairness, reciprocity, and respect for sovereignty, and we have
taken strong and swift action to achieve that goal.

As the President said last year on his visit to China, in his words, “we
have an opportunity to strengthen the relationship between our two
countries and improve the lives of our citizens.” Our vision of the future
is built on the best parts of our past, when America and China reached out
to one another in a spirit of openness and friendship.

When our young nation went searching in the wake of the Revolutionary War
for new markets for our exports, the Chinese people welcomed American
traders laden with ginseng and fur.

When China suffered through indignities and exploitations during her
so-called “Century of Humiliation,” America refused to join in, and
advocated the “Open Door” policy, so that we could have freer trade with
China, and preserve their sovereignty.

When American missionaries brought the good news to China’s shores, they
were moved by the rich culture of an ancient and vibrant people. And not
only did they spread their faith, but those same missionaries founded some
of China’s first and finest universities.

When the Second World War arose, we stood together as allies in the fight
against imperialism. And in that war’s aftermath, America ensured that
China became a charter member of the United Nations, and a great shaper of
the post-war world.

But soon after it took power in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party began to
pursue authoritarian expansionism. It is remarkable to think that only
five years after our nations had fought together, we fought each other in
the mountains and valleys of the Korean Peninsula. My own father saw
combat on that frontier of freedom.

But not even the brutal Korean War could diminish our mutual desire to
restore the ties that for so long had bound our peoples together. China’s
estrangement from the United States ended in 1972, and, soon after, we
re-established diplomatic relations and began to open our economies to one
another, and American universities began training a new generation of
Chinese engineers, business leaders, scholars, and officials.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, we assumed that a free China was
inevitable. Heady with optimism at the turn of the 21st Century, America
agreed to give Beijing open access to our economy, and we brought China
into the World Trade Organization.

Previous administrations made this choice in the hope that freedom in China
would expand in all of its forms -– not just economically, but politically,
with a newfound respect for classical liberal principles, private property,
personal liberty, religious freedom — the entire family of human rights.
But that hope has gone unfulfilled.

The dream of freedom remains distant for the Chinese people. And while
Beijing still pays lip service to “reform and opening,” Deng Xiaoping’s
famous policy now rings hollow.

Over the past 17 years, China’s GDP has grown nine-fold; it’s become the
second-largest economy in the world. Much of this success was driven by
American investment in China. And the Chinese Communist Party has also
used an arsenal of policies inconsistent with free and fair trade,
including tariffs, quotas, currency manipulation, forced technology
transfer, intellectual property theft, and industrial subsidies that are
handed out like candy to foreign investment. These policies have built
Beijing’s manufacturing base, at the expense of its competitors -–
especially the United States of America.

China’s actions have contributed to a trade deficit with the United States
that last year ran to $375 billion –- nearly half of our global trade
deficit. As President Trump said just this week, in his words, “We rebuilt
China” over the last 25 years.

Now, through the “Made in China 2025” plan, the Communist Party has set its
sights on controlling 90 percent of the world’s most advanced industries,
including robotics, biotechnology, and artificial intelligence. To win the
commanding heights of the 21st century economy, Beijing has directed its
bureaucrats and businesses to obtain American intellectual property –- the
foundation of our economic leadership -– by any means necessary.

Beijing now requires many American businesses to hand over their trade
secrets as the cost of doing business in China. It also coordinates and
sponsors the acquisition of American firms to gain ownership of their
creations. Worst of all, Chinese security agencies have masterminded the
wholesale theft of American technology –- including cutting-edge military
blueprints. And using that stolen technology, the Chinese Communist Party
is turning plowshares into swords on a massive scale.

China now spends as much on its military as the rest of Asia combined, and
Beijing has prioritized capabilities to erode America’s military advantages
on land, at sea, in the air, and in space. China wants nothing less than
to push the United States of America from the Western Pacific and attempt
to prevent us from coming to the aid of our allies. But they will fail.

Beijing is also using its power like never before. Chinese ships routinely
patrol around the Senkaku Islands, which are administered by Japan. And
while China’s leader stood in the Rose Garden at the White House in 2015
and said that his country had, and I quote, “no intention to militarize”
the South China Sea, today, Beijing has deployed advanced anti-ship and
anti-air missiles atop an archipelago of military bases constructed on
artificial islands.

China’s aggression was on display this week, when a Chinese naval vessel
came within 45 yards of the USS Decatur as it conducted
freedom-of-navigation operations in the South China Sea, forcing our ship
to quickly maneuver to avoid collision. Despite such reckless harassment,
the United States Navy will continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever
international law allows and our national interests demand. We will not be
intimidated and we will not stand down. (Applause.)

America had hoped that economic liberalization would bring China into a
greater partnership with us and with the world. Instead, China has chosen
economic aggression, which has in turn emboldened its growing military.

Nor, as we had hoped, has Beijing moved toward greater freedom for its own
people. For a time, Beijing inched toward greater liberty and respect for
human rights. But in recent years, China has taken a sharp U-turn toward
control and oppression of its own people.

Today, China has built an unparalleled surveillance state, and it’s growing
more expansive and intrusive – often with the help of U.S. technology.
What they call the “Great Firewall of China” likewise grows higher,
drastically restricting the free flow of information to the Chinese

And by 2020, China’s rulers aim to implement an Orwellian system premised
on controlling virtually every facet of human life — the so-called “Social
Credit Score.” In the words of that program’s official blueprint, it will
“allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven, while making it
hard for the discredited to take a single step.”

And when it comes to religious freedom, a new wave of persecution is
crashing down on Chinese Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims.

Last month, Beijing shut down one of China’s largest underground churches.
Across the country, authorities are tearing down crosses, burning bibles,
and imprisoning believers. And Beijing has now reached a deal with the
Vatican that gives the avowedly atheist Communist Party a direct role in
appointing Catholic bishops. For China’s Christians, these are desperate

Beijing is also cracking down on Buddhism. Over the past decade, more than
150 Tibetan Buddhist monks have lit themselves on fire to protest China’s
repression of their beliefs and their culture. And in Xinjiang, the
Communist Party has imprisoned as many as one million Muslim Uyghurs in
government camps where they endure around-the-clock brainwashing.
Survivors of the camps have described their experiences as a deliberate
attempt by Beijing to strangle Uyghur culture and stamp out the Muslim

As history attests though, a country that oppresses its own people rarely
stops there. And Beijing also aims to extend its reach across the wider
world. As Hudson’s own Dr. Michael Pillsbury has written, “China has
opposed the actions and goals of the U.S. government. Indeed, China is
building its own relationships with America’s allies and enemies that
contradict any peaceful or productive intentions of Beijing.”

In fact, China uses so-called “debt diplomacy” to expand its influence.
Today, that country is offering hundreds of billions of dollars in
infrastructure loans to governments from Asia to Africa to Europe and even
Latin America. Yet the terms of those loans are opaque at best, and the
benefits invariably flow overwhelmingly to Beijing.

Just ask Sri Lanka, which took on massive debt to let Chinese state
companies build a port of questionable commercial value. Two years ago,
that country could no longer afford its payments, so Beijing pressured Sri
Lanka to deliver the new port directly into Chinese hands. It may soon
become a forward military base for China’s growing blue-water navy.

Within our own hemisphere, Beijing has extended a lifeline to the corrupt
and incompetent Maduro regime in Venezuela that’s been oppressing its own
people. They pledged $5 billion in questionable loans to be repaid with
oil. China is also that country’s single largest creditor, saddling the
Venezuelan people with more than $50 billion in debt, even as their
democracy vanishes. Beijing is also impacting some nations’ politics by
providing direct support to parties and candidates who promise to
accommodate China’s strategic objectives.

And since last year alone, the Chinese Communist Party has convinced three
Latin American nations to sever ties with Taipei and recognize Beijing.
These actions threaten the stability of the Taiwan Strait, and the United
States of America condemns these actions. And while our administration
will continue to respect our One China Policy, as reflected in the three
joint communiqués and the Taiwan Relations Act, America will always believe
that Taiwan’s embrace of democracy shows a better path for all the Chinese
people. (Applause.)

Now these are only a few of the ways that China has sought to advance its
strategic interests across the world, with growing intensity and
sophistication. Yet previous administrations all but ignored China’s
actions. And in many cases, they abetted them. But those days are over.

Under President Trump’s leadership, the United States of America has been
defending our interests with renewed American strength.

We’ve been making the strongest military in the history of the world
stronger still. Earlier this year, President Trump signed into law the
largest increase in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan -–
$716 billion to extend the strength of the American military to every

We’re modernizing our nuclear arsenal. We’re fielding and developing new
cutting-edge fighters and bombers. We’re building a new generation of
aircraft carriers and warships. We’re investing as never before in our
armed forces. And this includes initiating the process to establish the
United States Space Force to ensure our continued dominance in space, and
we’ve taken action to authorize increased capability in the cyber world to
build deterrence against our adversaries.

At President Trump’s direction, we’re also implementing tariffs on $250
billion in Chinese goods, with the highest tariffs specifically targeting
the advanced industries that Beijing is trying to capture and control. And
as the President has also made clear, we will levy even more tariffs, with
the possibility of substantially more than doubling that number, unless a
fair and reciprocal deal is made. (Applause.)

These actions — exercises in American strength — have had a major
impact. China’s largest stock exchange fell by 25 percent in the first
nine months of this year, in large part because our administration has been
standing strong against Beijing’s trade practices.

As President Trump has made clear, we don’t want China’s markets to
suffer. In fact, we want them to thrive. But the United States wants
Beijing to pursue trade policies that are free, fair, and reciprocal. And
we will continue to stand and demand that they do. (Applause.)

Sadly, China’s rulers, thus far, have refused to take that path. The
American people deserve to know: In response to the strong stand that
President Trump has taken, Beijing is pursuing a comprehensive and
coordinated campaign to undermine support for the President, our agenda,
and our nation’s most cherished ideals.

I want to tell you today what we know about China’s actions here at home —
some of which we’ve gleaned from intelligence assessments, some of which
are publicly available. But all of which are fact.

As I said before, as we speak, Beijing is employing a whole-of-government
approach to advance its influence and benefit its interests. It’s
employing this power in more proactive and coercive ways to interfere in
the domestic policies of this country and to interfere in the politics of
the United States.

The Chinese Communist Party is rewarding or coercing American businesses,
movie studios, universities, think tanks, scholars, journalists, and local,
state, and federal officials.

And worst of all, China has initiated an unprecedented effort to influence
American public opinion, the 2018 elections, and the environment leading
into the 2020 presidential elections. To put it bluntly, President Trump’s
leadership is working; and China wants a different American President.

There can be no doubt: China is meddling in America’s democracy. As
President Trump said just last week, we have, in his words, “found that
China has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming [midterm]

Our intelligence community says that “China is targeting U.S. state and
local governments and officials to exploit any divisions between federal
and local levels on policy. It’s using wedge issues, like trade tariffs,
to advance Beijing’s political influence.”

In June, Beijing itself circulated a sensitive document, entitled
“Propaganda and Censorship Notice.” It laid out its strategy. It stated
that China must, in their words, “strike accurately and carefully,
splitting apart different domestic groups” in the United States of America.

To that end, Beijing has mobilized covert actors, front groups, and
propaganda outlets to shift Americans’ perception of Chinese policy. As a
senior career member of our intelligence community told me just this week,
what the Russians are doing pales in comparison to what China is doing
across this country. And the American people deserve to know it.

Senior Chinese officials have also tried to influence business leaders to
encourage them to condemn our trade actions, leveraging their desire to
maintain their operations in China. In one recent example, China
threatened to deny a business license for a major U.S. corporation if they
refused to speak out against our administration’s policies.

And when it comes to influencing the midterms, you need only look at
Beijing’s tariffs in response to ours. The tariffs imposed by China to
date specifically targeted industries and states that would play an
important role in the 2018 election. By one estimate, more than 80 percent
of U.S. counties targeted by China voted for President Trump and I in 2016;
now China wants to turn these voters against our administration.

And China is also directly appealing to the American voters. Last week,
the Chinese government paid to have a multipage supplement inserted into
the Des Moines Register –- the paper of record of the home state of our
Ambassador to China, and a pivotal state in 2018 and 2020. The supplement,
designed to look like the news articles, cast our trade policies as
reckless and harmful to Iowans.

Fortunately, Americans aren’t buying it. For example, American farmers are
standing with this President and are seeing real results from the strong
stands that he’s taken, including this week’s U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement,
where we’ve substantially opened North American markets to U.S. products.
The USMCA is a great win for American farmers and American manufacturers.

But China’s actions aren’t focused solely on influencing our policies and
politics. Beijing is also taking steps to exploit its economic leverage,
and the allure of their large marketplace, to advance its influence over
American businesses.

Beijing now requires American joint ventures that operate in China to
establish what they call “party organizations” within their company, giving
the Communist Party a voice –- and perhaps a veto -– in hiring and
investment decisions.

Chinese authorities have also threatened U.S. companies that depict Taiwan
as a distinct geographic entity, or that stray from Chinese policy on
Tibet. Beijing compelled Delta Airlines to publicly apologize for not
calling Taiwan a “province of China” on its website. And it pressured
Marriott to fire a U.S. employee who merely liked a tweet about Tibet.

And Beijing routinely demands that Hollywood portray China in a strictly
positive light. It punishes studios and producers that don’t. Beijing’s
censors are quick to edit or outlaw movies that criticize China, even in
minor ways. For the movie, “World War Z,” they had to cut the script’s
mention of a virus because it originated in China. The movie, “Red Dawn”
was digitally edited to make the villains North Korean, not Chinese.

But beyond business and entertainment, the Chinese Communist Party is also
spending billions of dollars on propaganda outlets in the United States
and, frankly, around the world.

China Radio International now broadcasts Beijing-friendly programs on over
30 U.S. outlets, many in major American cities. The China Global
Television Network reaches more than 75 million Americans, and it gets its
marching orders directly from its Communist Party masters. As China’s top
leader put it during a visit to the network’s headquarters, and I quote,
“The media run by the Party and the government are propaganda fronts and
must have the Party as their surname.”

It’s for those reasons and that reality that, last month, the Department of
Justice ordered that network to register as a foreign agent.

The Communist Party has also threatened and detained the Chinese family
members of American journalists who pry too deep. And it’s blocked the
websites of U.S. media organizations and made it harder for our journalists
to get visas. This happened after the New York Times published
investigative reports about the wealth of some of China’s leaders.

But the media isn’t the only place where the Chinese Communist Party seeks
to foster a culture of censorship. The same is true across academia.

I mean, look no further than the Chinese Students and Scholars Association,
of which there are more than 150 branches across America’s campuses. These
groups help organize social events for some of the more than 430,000
Chinese nationals studying in the United States. They also alert Chinese
consulates and embassies when Chinese students, and American schools, stray
from the Communist Party line.

At the University of Maryland, a Chinese student recently spoke at her
graduation of what she called, and I quote, the “fresh air of free speech”
in America. The Communist Party’s official newspaper swiftly chastised
her. She became the victim of a firestorm of criticism on China’s
tightly-controlled social media, and her family back home was harassed. As
for the university itself, its exchange program with China — one of the
nation’s most extensive — suddenly turned from a flood to a trickle.

China exerts academic pressure in other ways, as well. Beijing provides
generous funding to universities, think tanks, and scholars, with the
understanding that they will avoid ideas that the Communist Party finds
dangerous or offensive. China experts in particular know that their visas
will be delayed or denied if their research contradicts Beijing’s talking

And even scholars and groups who avoid Chinese funding are targeted by that
country, as the Hudson Institute found out firsthand. After you offered to
host a speaker Beijing didn’t like, your website suffered a major
cyberattack, originating from Shanghai. The Hudson Institute knows better
than most that the Chinese Communist Party is trying to undermine academic
freedom and the freedom of speech in America today.

These and other actions, taken as a whole, constitute an intensifying
effort to shift American public opinion and policy away from the “America
First” leadership of President Donald Trump.

But our message to China’s rulers is this: This President will not back
down. (Applause.) The American people will not be swayed. And we will
continue to stand strong for our security and our economy, even as we hope
for improved relations with Beijing.

Our administration is going to continue to act decisively to protect
America’s interests, American jobs, and American security.

As we rebuild our military, we will continue to assert American interests
across the Indo-Pacific.

As we respond to China’s trade practices, we will continue to demand an
economic relationship with China that is free, fair, and reciprocal. We
will demand that Beijing break down its trade barriers, fulfill its
obligations, fully open its economy — just as we have opened ours.

We’ll continue to take action against Beijing until the theft of American
intellectual property ends once and for all. And we will continue to stand
strong until Beijing stops the predatory practice of forced technology
transfer. We will protect the private property interests of American
enterprise. (Applause.)

And to advance our vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, we’re building
new and stronger bonds with nations that share our values across the
region, from India to Samoa. Our relationships will flow from a spirit of
respect built on partnership, not domination.

We’re forging new trade deals on a bilateral basis, just as last week
President Trump signed an improved trade deal with South Korea. And we
will soon begin historic negotiations for a bilateral free-trade deal with
Japan. (Applause.)

I’m also pleased to report that we’re streamlining international
development and finance programs. We’ll be giving foreign nations a just
and transparent alternative to China’s debt-trap diplomacy. In fact, this
week, President Trump will sign the BUILD Act into law.

Next month, it will be my privilege to represent the United States in
Singapore and Papua New Guinea, at ASEAN and APEC. There, we will unveil
new measures and programs to support a free and open Indo-Pacific. And on
behalf of the President, I will deliver the message that America’s
commitment to the Indo-Pacific has never been stronger. (Applause.)

Closer to home, to protect our interests, we’ve recently strengthened CFIUS
— the Committee on Foreign Investment — heightening our scrutiny of
Chinese investment in America to protect our national security from
Beijing’s predatory actions.

And when it comes to Beijing’s malign influence and interference in
American politics and policy, we will continue to expose it, no matter the
form it takes. We will work with leaders at every level of society to
defend our national interests and most cherished ideals. The American
people will play the decisive role — and, in fact, they already are.

As we gather here, a new consensus is rising across America. More business
leaders are thinking beyond the next quarter, and thinking twice before
diving into the Chinese market if it means turning over their intellectual
property or abetting Beijing’s oppression. But more must follow suit. For
example, Google should immediately end development of the “Dragonfly” app
that will strengthen Communist Party censorship and compromise the privacy
of Chinese customers. (Applause.)

It’s also great to see more journalists reporting the truth without fear or
favor, digging deep to find where China is interfering in our society, and
why. And we hope that American and global news organizations will continue
to join this effort on an increasing basis.

More scholars are also speaking out forcefully and defending academic
freedom, and more universities and think tanks are mustering the courage to
turn away Beijing’s easy money, recognizing that every dollar comes with a
corresponding demand. And we’re confident that their ranks will grow.

And across the nation, the American people are growing in vigilance, with a
newfound appreciation for our administration’s actions and the President’s
leadership to reset America’s economic and strategic relationship with
China. Americans stand strong behind a President that’s putting America

And under President Trump’s leadership, I can assure you, America will stay
the course. China should know that the American people and their elected
officials in both parties are resolved.

As our National Security Strategy states: We should remember that
“Competition does not always mean hostility,” nor does it have to. The
President has made clear, we want a constructive relationship with Beijing
where our prosperity and security grow together, not apart. While Beijing
has been moving further away from this vision, China’s rulers can still
change course and return to the spirit of reform and opening that
characterize the beginning of this relationship decades ago. The American
people want nothing more; and the Chinese people deserve nothing less.

The great Chinese storyteller Lu Xun often lamented that his country, and
he wrote, “has either looked down at foreigners as brutes, or up to them as
saints,” but never “as equals.” Today, America is reaching out our hand to
China. And we hope that soon, Beijing will reach back with deeds, not
words, and with renewed respect for America. But be assured: we will not
relent until our relationship with China is grounded in fairness,
reciprocity, and respect for our sovereignty. (Applause.)

There is an ancient Chinese proverb that reads, “Men see only the present,
but heaven sees the future.” As we go forward, let us pursue a future of
peace and prosperity with resolve and faith. Faith in President Trump’s
leadership and vision, and the relationship that he has forged with China’s
president. Faith in the enduring friendship between the American people
and the Chinese people. And Faith that heaven sees the future — and by
God’s grace, America and China will meet that future together.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

END 11:47 A.M. EDT