Prof. ST Hsieh
Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum
January 11, 2023
Bipartisan lawmakers from the US House of Representatives have voted to set up a new GOP-led select committee to address Beijing’s “multifaceted threats,” right after Republican Kevin McCarthy secured the Speak Person at the House on January 6th. The new panel, which is called House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between the US and the Communist Party of China, has a strong ideological overtone.
According to CNBC, the committee will be investigative instead of legislative. And it will also be given jurisdiction to call witnesses and hold public hearings. McCarthy said the committee’s mission will “investigate and submit policy recommendations on the status of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) economic, technological, and security progress and its competition with the US.
But it is conceivable that to stand out among the various China-related committees and offices in Washington, and to underline its presence and “unique value,” the committee will try every means to make trouble out of nothing, magnify small matters and seek every opportunity to create noise in China-US relations.
Asked for comment at a briefing on Wednesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin politely said he hoped those involved would look at China and Sino-U.S. relations “objectively and rationally, from the perspective of U.S. self-interest and the common interests of China and the United States,” and work with China to promote mutual respect and cooperation.
Experts believe that with the GOP in control of the House, the risk of conflict between the US and China is growing. For the Biden administration, it also means a narrowed policy space.
In the face of huge political, economic, cultural, and social divisions in the US, China is almost the only topic that can unite the US politicians. By setting a new committee, the Republicans have used their House majority to dominate an agenda to show they are ahead of the Democrats.
The committee is likely to conduct hearings on China-related issues or dispatching lawmakers to the Taiwan region. They may also seek out anti-China figures in every corner to create a huge anti-Communism public opinion field similar to the 1950s in the US. That would be extremely destabilizing.
President Biden must act as a China policy regulator; it will at least mean that there are channels of communication between China and the US that will keep the relationship from getting worse: from cold war to real war.
UPDATE 1-New U.S. House creates committee focused on competing with China
Patricia Zengerle Wed, January 11, 2023 at 8:34 AM PST
WASHINGTON, Jan 10 (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to create a select committee on China, using one of its first votes since Republicans took control to stress members’ desire to counter Beijing’s growing international influence.
The House voted 365 to 65 in favor of a resolution establishing the Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, which will investigate the issue and make policy recommendations.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy insisted the panel would not be partisan.
GOP pick to lead House China committee vows to win ‘new Cold War’
WASHINGTON — The House on Tuesday voted 365-65 to establish a special committee on China, and the lawmaker Republicans tapped to lead the bipartisan panel has vowed that Congress will use it to “win the new Cold War.”
Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin —has laid out an agenda for the China committee that includes several key defense priorities.
Gallagher told Defense News that while the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees as well as the Appropriations Committee’s defense panel would take the lead on defense-related issues, the China committee would serve as “an incubator or accelerator for [Chinese Communist Party]-related legislation.”
He said that will entail hearings and reports aimed at outlining the” repercussions on global financial markets if China attacked Taiwan” and “stitching together those pieces in a way they’re currently not stitched together.”
In addition to Taiwan, Gallagher intends to use the committee to address Beijing’s military modernization efforts and the U.S. defense-industrial base’s dependence on China.
“As China uses its growing economy to modernize its military, we must also develop new weapons and stockpiles to project power, preserve our global influence, and protect our forces, including in space and cyberspace,” Gallagher wrote on Sunday in a Fox News op-ed that framed Sino-U.S. competition as a 21st century Cold War.