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Column: Will Trump block China’s bullying?


Donald Trump’s phone call with the president of Taiwan shattered the tired political wisdom by the Washington establishment regarding China and Taiwan.

It sent a powerful message to Beijing that major change is coming in America’s foreign policy vis-à-vis China.

Trump’s conversation with the Taiwanese president was startling but not naive. His exchange with President Tsai Ing-wen paved the way for new and hopeful ties between Washington and key allies.

Realities can be stubborn friends or enemies, and the facts surrounding the U.S. relationship with China highlight that this has been a one-way relationship for many years, particularly for the last eight. It is time for America to respond more firmly to China’s aggressive and unproductive behavior.

The evidence is beyond dispute. China has proven time and again that it is an untrustworthy partner for the United States.

Despite acquiring permanent, normal trade relation status, China continues currency manipulation and other unacceptable behaviors. Just recently the U.S. charged China with violating tariff quota agreements on corn, wheat and rice as well as a lack of transparency.

Chinese state-sponsored and owned companies maintain aggressive cyberattacks against the U.S.

Millions of Americans’ most personal and sensitive financial information are now in the hands of the Chinese.

Economic espionage attempting to steal trade secrets of U.S. companies persists. China does not suitably protect intellectual property. Who knows how they’ll use that sensitive information in the future?

China defies international laws and norms with its aggressive expansionist agenda in the South China Sea. It builds up islands, and then claims territorial rights. China in the last weeks has claimed to have militarized the Spratly Islands.

On Dec. 15, a Chinese naval vessel seized a U.S. Navy underwater drone operating in international waters in the South China Sea.

Perhaps most significantly, Beijing has done nothing to control the renegade state of North Korea.

Today, North Korea is no longer developing nuclear weapons — it has them. It has ballistic missile technology. Realistically within a few years, if nothing changes, North Korea will have miniaturized its nuclear warheads to fit onto a ballistic missile that will have the capacity to hit America’s west coast.

China has the most leverage over North Korea and has failed to assist in stopping its growing nuclear capability.

Our friends and allies in Asia are seriously concerned by what is happening in the region. They recognize that the current U.S. strategy toward China and North Korea is in shambles and are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to partner with the U.S. to develop a new long-term approach to bring security and economic prosperity to the region.

Americans whose personal data has been stolen by the Chinese, and American workers who have lost their jobs to unfair competition from the Chinese are thankful for Donald Trump’s strong new response.

He is leading America to take the initiative to develop strategic policies that will address China’s inappropriate behavior and hold them accountable. Another effect of Donald Trump’s approach will be improved ties between the U.S. and countries in the region like Japan, South Korea and Indonesia, among others.

They’ve been yearning for an America that will lead and work with them in a collaborative way to deal more effectively with the emerging threats emanating from China. Sure, it was just one small phone call by the next president of the United States. But it was also one giant wake-up call to the Chinese, showing them that there will be new expectations for the U.S./Chinese relationship.

Donald Trump is here to ensure that the U.S. remains a steady and reliable ally for our friends in the Asia-Pacific region while preserving peace and security. We will no longer allow belligerent and destabilizing actions by China to go unchallenged. America is back!

Pete Hoekstra is the former chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee and author of “Architects of Disaster: The Destruction of Libya.”