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Risch Discusses China, Iran, Rise of Autocracies at Halifax International Security Forum

BOISE, Idaho – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, this weekend participated in a moderated discussion on today’s top international security issues at the Halifax International Security Forum.

JER and McCaul Halifax Chat

(Photo courtesy of Halifax International Security Forum)

On China:

“China is the big story in foreign relations – has been for a decade or more. As we look forward, regardless of what happens in Ukraine, China is going to be there. Of course, China is watching [the war] and how this plays out is going to make a difference. But China is going to be our competitor, economically, militarily, culturally, over the rest of this decade.”

“I don’t think what happened in Hong Kong was a shock to anybody. That’s the way China operates. As we go forward, we’re going to have to deal with these things. I don’t know that [China wants] to decouple. I think what they want to do is exploit.”

On Iran:

“What should we do about Iran? Look, there’s no secret with me. I fought with the Obama Administration and I’ve been fighting with the Biden Administration. Why in the world would you be sitting at the table negotiating with people like [the Iranian regime]?”

“The Iranians have a list as long as your arm of the bad things that they do. What we ought to do right now is walk away from negotiations. And secondly, crank up the sanctions that we have and really enforce them. We’ve got all the reason to do it now. Watch what’s going on in the streets – they’ve got the death penalty that they’ve put on people that are protesting. These are the people you want to negotiate with? I mean, it’s just nonsense.”

On the rise of autocracies:

“The world today is countries breaking into – are they democracies or are they autocracies? The autocracies seem to be hanging together. You have Russia, and of course they’ve teamed up with China, teamed up with Iran. On our side are the democracies. We’re all trying to operate within a world that is under a new order in recent decades. I think that’s a challenge for us.”

These remarks have been lightly edited for clarity. Risch’s full conversation will be available on the Halifax International Security Forum website here