BOISE, Idaho – U.S. Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, participated in a moderated discussion at the Halifax International Security Forum over the weekend where he focused on China’s growing economic and political influence across the globe and the need for the United States and its allies to work together to develop a cohesive strategy to compete with China.
Risch began by raising the issue of intellectual property theft as a significant problem with China for the United States, particularly in his home state of Idaho. In 2017, a Chinese company stole proprietary technology from Idaho-based Micron Technology, and then patented that technology in China and sued Micron.
“Intellectual property is the currency of the 21st century… The Chinese are one of the few on the planet that have not adopted international norms, rule of law, and enforcement of rule of law that allows for people who create this IP to be protected and for it to be licensed or sold,” said Risch. “This is a big problem. We’ve got to insist – the world has to insist, not America – the world has to insist [on China adopting international norms].”
Risch went on to discuss the problem of U.S. allies allowing Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications company, to compete to build their 5G networks, and encouraged these allies to choose a different option.
“What I have told every country that visits me and asks [whether it’s safe to choose Huawei], I say sit down in a SCIF with people who have the appropriate clearance and listen to what your national security people, what your intelligence people have to say,” said Risch. “Walk out of that room and ask yourself, yeah it’s cheaper but do we really want to be hooked into a [Chinese company] that is controlled absolutely, totally controlled by the Communist Party and has access to every bit of information that Huawei has access to?”
“People have to understand that China is an authoritarian country, that they don’t have companies that can operate by themselves,” he continued. “If you’re hooked up to Huawei, they have access to it. Stay away from Huawei.”
Risch’s full conversation can be viewed on the Halifax International Security Forum website here.
(Photos courtesy of Halifax International Security Forum)