“The choice is not between the United States and China—the choice is what type of world you want to live in.”
WASHINGTON – Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) joined MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to discuss Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow to meet with Vladimir Putin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s upcoming hearing this afternoon to review the FY24 State Department budget request, and the importance of resourcing the State Department to adequately address the scope, scale, and urgency of the challenges posed by China. Menendez also reacted to North Korea’s firing of multiple cruise missiles into the Sea of Japan as part of a recent barrage of test-firings of weapons by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
On Xi’s meetings with Putin: “Putin’s continuing to mortgage Russia’s future, and he has become Xi’s junior partner. But he’s doing so out of necessity….In every respect, China is getting the better part of this deal except that it is clearly killing its reputation internationally. Xi is no peacemaker.”
On expectations for Secretary Blinken’s testimony and the importance of resourcing the State Department: “China has more embassies and diplomatic personnel around the globe... that means that Chinese diplomats are out there influencing countries… and trying to get countries to align with China on questions we care about in terms of peace and security. So, we need to resource the State Department. I have urged the Biden administration to do so….We cannot have the United States of America outcompeted in the diplomatic field around the world when we need countries to align with us. The choice is not between the United States and China—the choice is what type of world you want to live in. If you want to live in China's world, you will be told how you can make your money, you will be told who you can love, you can be told how many children you have, and you will be minded by the state. I don't think most people in the world want to get that choice.”
On North Korea’s launch of cruise missiles: “Kim Jong-un wants attention…. Up to now, we have not succumbed to that. China is the one entity clearly propping up Kim Jong-un in North Korea. China should care about North Korea’s actions as well, but for so long as we have this type of competition, it will be difficult to get China to play. That means that the rest of the international community has to ratchet up the challenges that North Korea has so it does not continue to act this way.”
Comments edited lightly for clarity.