December 18, 2017

Trump to Declare China ‘Strategic Competitor’ in Security Speech

Featuring Richard Fontaine

Source: Bloomberg

Journalist Toluse Olorunnipa

President Donald Trump will declare China a strategic competitor to the U.S. in a speech that lays out an official national security strategy heavily influenced by his views on trade and economic relations, senior administration officials said.

The language, as described by the officials, appears softer than the label used by National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, who last week accused China of “economic aggression.” Still, Monday’s announcement will outline potential economic actions that could target China, officials said, signaling a shift from the more conciliatory approach Trump has taken with Chinese President Xi Jinping since being elected a year ago.

“We are in economic competition with China,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on the “Fox News Sunday” program. “This isn’t about trade wars. This is about reciprocal fair trade. And if we have to protect American workers and put on tariffs or other things, where they don’t have fair trade with us, the president will do that.”

The national security strategy, a document mandated by Congress, describes the Trump administration’s approach to a range of global challenges including North Korea’s nuclear program, international terrorism, Russian aggression and China’s rising influence.

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  • Richard Fontaine

    Chief Executive Officer

    Richard Fontaine is the Chief Executive Officer of CNAS. He served as President of CNAS from 2012–19 and as Senior Fellow from 2009–12. Prior to CNAS, he was foreign policy ad...