Young Says Now is the Time to Confront Xi Because of His Leadership Missteps in Recent Years

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) appeared yesterday morning before a breakfast meeting of The Ripon Society, delivering remarks about the importance of confronting Chinese Communist Party Leader Xi Jinping sooner rather than later, and why he believes the next few years may be “the most dangerous time.”

“Over the next few years is the most dangerous time,” Young stated.  “It’s the most dangerous time in part because of what I perceive to be the psychology of Xi Jinping. His leadership is very quietly being questioned right now. He reigns all supreme, but he has not bowled a perfect game — as we like to say in Indiana.  His interventions in the property market and in the technology market did not work.  His Zero Covid policy has been an absolute disaster. The demographic projections are not coming to fruition. And it appears that India — not China — by years end may be the most populous country in the world.”

The Indiana lawmaker also recounted a conversation he recently had with former Defense Secretary Bob Gates, who made a similar observation, and a prediction, as well.

“He said, ‘You know, I think the communists are really concerned right now,” Young recalled.  “They’re concerned because they have poked the bear. The United States is starting to get its act together, and Congress is starting to get serious again, at least as it relates to this issue.  The Chinese are smart. They know that’s the case, and they know that there’s some urgency … If we can get the next few years right, if we can just make sure we’re headed in the right direction, there’s going to be no stopping us.’”

Young, who just returned from his first-ever visit to Taiwan and Japan, then proceeded to outline two areas where, he said, Congress must remain focused with regard to China over the next several years.  The first area is implementing The CHIPS and Science Act, which Young helped author and was signed into law last summer.

“We have a national security imperative,” he stated matter-of-factly.  “We cannot fall behind China in certain discreet areas of technological innovation. Our system is better — our system of broad and deep capital markets and freewheeling entrepreneurs and visionaries who can go out there and identify market demand. But there are some parts of our system that need public investment in areas for which there is not — at least not yet — market demand.”

According to Young, the United States cannot go at it alone in meeting this imperative and making these investments.  Rather, it needs to work with our allies around the globe – something, he noted, the bill was designed to help achieve.

“Few people know about the State Department dimension of The CHIPS and Science Act,” he observed.  “It’s really important.  In fact, it’s so important that of all the different pieces of legislation that have worked their way through Congress, you will hear Tony Blinken talk about CHIPS and Science more than any other. He has all kinds of diplomats and other government leaders from around the world who constantly approach him and ask, ‘how can we be part of that?  How can we be part of the research, the developments, the shoring up of supply chains? How can we be part of this network of participants that are looking to harden ourselves against Chinese intervention?’”

“We’ve given the State Department and our diplomats an International Technology Security and Innovation Fund for this very purpose — to train them and equip them to convene and go around the world and figure out how we can mutually collaborate on issues of what I will broadly define as ‘tech diplomacy.’ Semiconductor supply chains, tech security, export controls — this is sort of the project-based learning of our diplomatic corps right now.”

It is also the sort of project, he added, that will determine who controls the parameters of the digital economy – and, in turn, the global economy — in the 21st century.

“We need to work with others — the best minds in the world — to get this right,” Young declared.  “Last week, I raised this Fund with Secretary Blinken during a Foreign Relations Committee hearing. He affirmed that it’s not only a first order priority for him, but he is working daily with Secretary Raimondo, who’s been the most visible leader in this space, to ensure that the Commerce Department, with its funding authorities, with its oversight over the export controls, is working hand in glove with their diplomats.

“The 21st century economy is going to be driven by who has access to these next generation capabilities. Depending on how you’re counting them, this is the fifth industrial revolution. It’s the harnessing of these technologies. But first, you have to be able to develop the best ones. Who’s going to play that central role in developing and supplying people with those technologies? If it’s China, then we’re locking ourselves into a mercantilist, communist ideology. The technologies of the future cannot have the biases of the Chinese Communist Party — anti-Uyghur, anti-privacy built — into them. Moreover, if you control the parameters of the digital economy, then you can foreclose people from participating, you can limit their participation, and you can shape the terms of their participation.  So this is foundational.”

Beyond The CHIPS and Science Act, Young said the other aspect of U.S.-China relations that needs particular attention in the years ahead is the effort of the Chinese Communist Party to “economically coerce” other nations.

“They are weaponizing economic interdependence,” Young said of the CCP.  “You know, people like me celebrate economic interdependence and the linkages between nations.  We thought it would lead to peace and harmony. And there is that incentive.  But there’s also a countervailing force that the Chinese have really revealed to us, and that is using economic coercion as a cudgel.”

Young went on to cite examples of this coercion – from restricting the number of Chinese tourists who can visit Taiwan to limiting imports of Australian wine — where the CCP has imposed economic penalties on another country in response to a policy or initiative that may conflict with Chinese interests or concerns.  To address this challenge, he noted that he and Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) have reintroduced legislation to challenge and counter the CCP’s actions in this regard.

Called the Countering Economic Coercion Act, the bipartisan legislation would provide the President with specific tools to offer rapid and effective economic support to foreign partners targeted by economic coercion, including authority to:

  • Decrease duties or modify quotas on imports from the foreign partner to make up for lost exports to other nations due to coercive actions;
  • Expedite export licensing decisions and regulatory processes to facilitate trade;
  • Seek appropriations to support foreign aid, export financing, and sovereign loan guarantees; and,
  • Waive certain policy requirements to facilitate export financing.

“It gives the President certain authorities that he or she don’t currently have,” Young said of the bill.  “If you’re a small island nation in the Pacific and you’re being economically coerced by the Chinese Communist Party and you need help today, the President can say … ‘We’re going to invite your exports into the United States. We’re going to eliminate or significantly lower certain tariff or non-tariff barriers. If there are any regulations that are complicating your efforts to export into our country, we’re going to either waive those or alter those to accommodate you.  And while we’re at it, we’re going to try and facilitate more exports into your country of any key items needed by your consumers.’”

“If the United States does this and then aligns our policy as we’re in the process of doing with the Japanese, with the Australians, with the Europeans and so many others, then we can have almost an economic NATO.”

“It would give nations a clear alternative to China and Chinese coercion moving forward.”

To view the remarks of Sen. Young before yesterday’s breakfast, please click the link below:

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.