BOISE, Idaho – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, participated in a moderated discussion with U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) at the Halifax International Security Forum over the weekend where he focused on competition with China.
On bipartisan efforts to address competition with China in Congress:
“Everybody here reads in the media about the toxic atmosphere in the United States Senate, and certainly we are in real disagreement on some very important domestic spending issues. When it comes to foreign relations, nothing could be further from the truth,” said Risch. “I work very closely with Senator Coons and Senator Shaheen, who’s here and is also on the committee.”
“I think you’ve got to view [competition with China] like the laundry – it’s never done,” continued Risch. “This is a 21 st century problem that will go on long after we’re gone. People need to roll up their sleeves and commit to doing this for the long term. The only way it gets done is if we all stick together on this.”
“I wrote a report, as Chris [Coons] suggested, a year ago now,” Risch said. “It’s a good China 101 [primer] for anybody who doesn’t understand them, about the kinds of things that need to be done. And primary there was the United States and Europe have got to come together to push back.”
On whether China will change its behavior:
“If you deal with [China] on a day-to-day or month-to-month or week-to-week basis as a lot of us have over the years, there has been a significant change in the Chinese attitude towards the rest of us,” said Risch. “They’ve gotten so big, they’ve gotten so powerful. They know it, they know what’s happening out there.”
“Those that don’t believe in an autocratic form of government, those of us that believe in democracy, and those that believe that a governing body should only be there if there’s consent of the governed – China doesn’t believe in any of that stuff. They’ve stolen every idea that America has to get to where they have today.”
“Anybody who thinks that withholding sending diplomats to the Olympics is going to cause [China] to start doing inward thinking about where they are, I think is dreaming. I think there’s going to have to be substantially more than that,” Risch concluded.
Risch’s full conversation with Coons can be viewed on the Halifax International Security Forum website here.