Republican presidential candidate, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, speaks at the American Enterprise Institute on June 27, 2023 in Washington, DC. Haley’s comments focused on the future of US-China relations and her views on foreign policy.
Drew Angerer | fake images
Business America should be ready to stop treating China as an economic competitor and start viewing it as a national security threat, Nikki Haley, a Republican presidential candidate and former ambassador to the United Nations, said Monday.
“I think China is an enemy. I think we have to take them incredibly seriously. And the problem is you can look at dollars and cents or you can look at a threat to the United States,” Haley said on CNBC.squawk box.”
“Businesses and people have said for too long: ‘We’ll deal with China tomorrow.’ But China is dealing with us today. We have to address this,” she added.
Haley said that “every business needs to have a Plan B” in case China decides to “pull the rug out for us.” She called Beijing “the biggest threat we’ve had since Pearl Harbor.”
The former South Carolina governor also criticized Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who recently said that the United States’ relationship with China does not have to be a “The winner takes it all” contest.
“Even saying that means you don’t understand China,” Haley said of Yellen.
Haley’s latest comments build on the aggressive position she laid out in a Wall Street Journal last month. opinion piecein which he vowed to pressure US companies “to get out of China as completely as possible.”
He also urged companies to forge stronger ties with US allies such as India, Japan and South Korea to become less dependent on China.
Haley pointed to a series of actions taken by China’s communist leaders in recent years that she says pose a multi-layered security and economic threat to the United States. They include the purchase of hundreds of thousands of acres of US farmland, purchasing the nation’s largest pork producer, floating spy balloons over the United States, broadcasting propaganda at universities, lobbying Congress through “front companies,” rapidly building a massive naval fleet, stealing American intellectual property, and developing new weapons.
The Chinese embassy in Washington, DC, did not immediately comment on Haley’s comments. Chinese government officials frequently insist that Beijing is simply seeking a mutually beneficial “win-win” relationship with the United States. But US diplomats privately joke that “win-win” here means China wins twice.
Haley also suggested that China’s role in the US fentanyl crisis raises questions about the future of the bilateral trade relationship.
A lot of precursor chemicals that make up fentanyl originate in China before being illegally diverted to Mexico, where they are processed by cartels to create the deadly synthetic opioid. The Department of Justice has said Fentanyl overdoses are the leading cause of death among Americans ages 18-49.
Firefighters help an overdose victim on July 14, 2017 in Rockford, Illinois.
“I think if it means we end normal trade relations, you go to China and say, ‘We’ll end normal trade relations until you stop killing Americans,'” he said.
Haley’s red flag on China comes as he seeks to distinguish himself in the Republican presidential primaries, which have so far been dominated by former President Donald Trump.
Only one of Trump’s competitors, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, has consistently garnered double-digit support in national primary race polls. The rest of the field, including Haley, have struggled to gain ground with voters.
Haley took aim at DeSantis over his ongoing feud with Disney, which stemmed from the entertainment giant’s opposition to a controversial classroom bill in Florida. While he disagrees with Disney’s position, “I also don’t think governors should spend taxpayer money suing companies.”
Still, it’s hard to predict how forcefully criticizing China will help set Haley, or any candidate, apart from the rest in the 2024 election cycle.
This is largely because polls consistently show that an aggressive stance toward Beijing is one of the few policy positions that enjoys broad support among Democrats and Republicans.
As President Joe Biden mounts a re-election campaign, his administration is taking a hard line against China that bears strong resemblance to Republicans like Haley.
FBI Director Christopher Wray testified this month that no other country poses a “more comprehensive threat to our ideas, our innovation [and] our economic security.
When asked about the status of the Republican primary, Haley described it as a marathon, “not a sprint.”
He also said that he would support Trump if he is the eventual Republican nominee. “I’m not going to have a female president, Kamala Harris,” he said, referring to the view held by many Republican voters that Biden, who turned 80 last year, is too old to be president.