The United States is preparing to take additional actions against China, the White House has said, but what those presidential measures would be was not made clear.
Relations between Washington and Beijing have spiralled downward since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. US President Donald Trump has questioned the Asian powerhouse’s handing of COVID-19.
The two countries have also sparred over China imposing a new national security law in Hong Kong, restrictions on American journalists, treatment of Uyghurs Muslims and security measures in Tibet.
“I’m not going to get ahead of the president on what our actions on China will be, but you will be hearing about some upcoming actions that pertain to China. So, I can confirm that,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters on Wednesday.
McEnany was responding to a question on recent statements made by top administration officials, including White House Chief of Staff, National Security Advisor and Secretary of States, hinting the president could take additional measures against China in the coming days.
US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien on Wednesday had told reporters that China had annexed Hong Kong, referring to the new security law in the former British colony.
“I think you’re going to see a significant rollout of measures with respect to China over the coming days and weeks. There’s no president that’s ever stood up to China the way President Donald Trump has. He was the first president to put a massive tariff on the Chinese to stop the trade imbalance,” he said.
O’Brien said that he gave a speech in Arizona two weeks ago on the Communist Party of China and the threat that it poses to the United States.
FBI Director Christopher Wray gave a speech a day earlier about the massive theft of Chinese intellectual property.
Referring to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s comments made last week, O’Brien said the president is looking very closely at TikTok, WeChat and some of other applications that the Chinese government is allegedly using to obtain personal and private data of Americans.
“We are looking very closely at the apps,” O’Brien said, adding the president has already said that Hong Kong will no longer be treated as a separate entity, that it will be treated as part of China.
“So there will be a number of regulations and a number of actions that take place to implement the president’s vision,” he said.
He described the Chinese actions on Hong Kong as one of the biggest stories of the decade.
“We have Hong Kong that’s basically been annexed by the People’s Republic of China, by the Communist Party of China, and they’re imposing their will on free and democratic people and not only are they doing it in Hong Kong, but they’re using this Hong Kong law to try and impose their will extra-territorially,” he said.
“They’ll use the law, but they also use their economic leverage. So, when the general manager of the Houston Rockets tweeted in support of the peaceful protestors in Hong Kong, the Chinese Communist Party said that they’re not going to broadcast Rockets games in China, and they made the NBA kowtow to China because–simply because an American citizen supported free peaceful protests in Hong Kong,” he said.
“So, what the Chinese Communist Party is doing isn’t just in Hong Kong. It’s affecting all of you. It’s affecting how we operate in the United States and we can”t let that happen,” O’Brien told reporters.
In a tweet, Congressman Matt Gaetz said the US needs to be more resilient, diligent, and aware of the fact that China is an enemy.
“And we shouldn’t be aiding the enemy by using the US dollar to prop up their companies and their operations in the United States,” he said.