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Ahead of NATO Summit, Risch Releases Report Outlining Next Steps to Defend the Transatlantic Alliance from Chinese Aggression

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released a report entitled Next Steps to Defend the Transatlantic Alliance from Chinese Aggression. It examines the threat China poses to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and China’s manipulation of subnational actors like state and local governments to undermine national government policy. This report builds on Risch’s November 2020 report that laid out a number of key areas where the United States should collaborate with European allies on the challenges posed by China.

“It is imperative both sides of the Atlantic commit to work more closely together to confront China’s behavior. My report examines two significant problems that require this kind of collaboration – the threat China poses to NATO and China’s use of subnational engagement to undermine national security,” said Risch. “In order to be successful, all partners must be dedicated and set aside politically expedient but unconstructive spats that distract from the greater shared challenge. I am optimistic we can do it.”

An executive summary of the report can be found here.

Full text of the report can be found here.

Key recommendations from the report include:

Better prepare NATO to counter the strategic threat from China:

  • Using the 2022 Strategic Concept as a starting point, develop contingency planning for Chinese state interference and its potential support or involvement in a war in Europe.
  • Require member nations to set standards for research security, strategic investments, and procurement in defense-relevant sectors, including infrastructure, to ensure NATO can defend itself.
  • Develop specific guidelines that make clear to Ukraine what kinds of Chinese investments would make its NATO membership impossible.
  • Improve institutional knowledge of China, the Chinese Communist Party, its strategic culture, and the operational capacity of the People’s Liberation Army.

Combat Chinese influence at the subnational level:

  • Increase collaboration between national and local governments on countering threats of malign influence and interference from China. National governments should also advance transparency measures to better monitor Chinese engagements conducted at the subnational level.
  • Hold conversations through multilateral institutions like the European Union and other regional and international fora about how to properly support and protect subnational participation in foreign relations.
  • Demand reciprocity and set guardrails for legitimate exchange in subnational relationships with China. Use them to demonstrate the merits of U.S. and European systems that value civil liberties and human rights.