Says US must step up against ‘Chinese aggression’
Nikki Haley, a former US ambassador to the UN, has called for stronger bonds with countries like India, Japan and Australia which can help ward off the growing influence of Communist China which is the “greatest threat” to American security and prosperity by far.
The Indian-origin former governor of North Carolina, who is now running for the Republican presidential nomination, also vowed to bring about a “sea change” in US policy towards China if she is elected President in 2024.
“Communist China is the greatest threat to American security and prosperity by far,” Haley declared during her speech at the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank in Washington, DC, on Tuesday.
“It is the most dangerous foreign threat we’ve faced since the Second World War,” the 51-year-old leader, who is contesting against former president Donald Trump, said.
She also criticised Trump’s friendliness toward China’s President Xi Jinping, whom the former president has spoken of in fond terms. “In his zeal to befriend President Xi, Trump congratulated the Communist Party on its 70th anniversary of conquering China. That sent the wrong message to the world. Chinese Communism must be condemned, never congratulated,” Haley said. Haley went on to slam Trump’s successor, President Joe Biden, on his administration’s interactions with China. Haley has served for two years as Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations.
Chief among Haley’s solutions to “Chinese aggression” was strengthening the nation’s domestic, economic, and military might.
“As president, my top priority will be strengthening America’s economy and America’s military,” she said. “We will protect America’s prosperity and homeland from Chinese aggression.”
Haley warned about China’s ever-growing “police state” and the Chinese military, which she said, “has become even stronger.”
“We will tackle Chinese meddling in our society and its manipulation of our economy,” she said. “And we will hold the Communist Party accountable while putting it on the global defensive. This is a sea change in American policy. It’s grounded in the reality that our leaders have failed to admit.”
Haley would restrict American universities, which are among the largest beneficiaries of Chinese cash, from receiving federal contracts if they work with China’s ruling Communist Party.
“We should ban all propaganda centres and eliminate federal funding for universities that take Chinese money,” Haley said. “Universities must choose China or America. It shouldn’t be a hard decision.”
Haley cited a lack of military recruitment among the Army, Navy, and Air Force as one reason America is falling behind China.
“It’s time to face a hard truth. Our military strength is not where it should be. It must be transformed to meet today’s and tomorrow’s challenges,” said Haley.
“A stronger military is the linchpin to our national security and to preventing wars,” she added.
Haley called for America to grow closer to allies who can help ward off China’s influence. “We must also rally more nations to our side. We should deepen our military ties with Japan, South Korea, and Australia, and forge stronger bonds with India and the Philippines,” Haley said.
Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden state visit to the US at the invitation of President Joe Biden last week, Haley said India is an ally that shares US’ democratic values and the friendship between the two nations is personal.
“The US-India friendship is personal. India is an ally that shares our democratic values. We have so much in common, from business and cultural ties to mutual security interests. It’s critical that we continue to grow our partnership. I wish Prime Minister Modi a successful visit to Washington,” Haley said in a statement.
Haley, who is polling in the single digits, has started to take more direct aim at the Republican primary’s leading candidates in recent weeks.
Born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa to immigrant Punjabi Sikh parents, Haley is the third Indian-American to run for US presidency in three consecutive election cycles.