This morning, Republican presidential candidate and former UN Ambassador under Donald Trump, Nikki Haley brandished China as the United States’ “biggest enemy” as she spoke at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington DC.
Outlining her policy on China, the former ambassador expounded on her views which she began to articulate in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published yesterday.
In the op-ed, Haley took aim at former President Trump and at President Biden for how they have dealt with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
“Trump even congratulated the Communist Party on its 70th anniversary of conquering China. He should have condemned it,” she wrote.
At the AEI event today she reiterated this point, saying “we don’t congratulate communism…we condemn it.” Haley went on to talk about the power of language when dealing with China, perhaps a signal that the Republican nominee is ready to directly confront her former boss for his missteps in dealing with China.
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In her op-ed, Haley unsurprisingly bolstered her credentials as a staunch supporter of Taiwan. She wrote, “…we should give Taiwan everything it needs to defend itself and ward off a Chinese invasion.”
This morning, a reporter from the Financial Times asked Haley to elaborate on her Taiwan stance. He asked whether she would intervene militarily if China decided to invade the small island nation.
Haley equivocated and said the reporter was asking the “wrong question.” She went on to say that she advocates building up Taiwanese military capabilities now before a supposed invasion would take place.
“Let’s make China really see what would happen if they decided to invade,” Haley emphatically stated. “And the best way to do that is to show them what Ukraine is going to do to Russia. Let’s finish it in Ukraine and win that territory back, and I promise you, China is not going to want to go against that alliance.”
Haley said that when fighting for a “friend,” the US should give them all the ammunition needed to “finish the job.”
Haley though did not go as far as to say that she rejects the One-China Policy and supports complete Taiwanese independence. Her justification is that “the Taiwanese themselves haven’t said they want to be independent.”
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Haley brandished her hawkish credentials when she was asked about the recently-reported Chinese spy base in Cuba. “You can’t have our biggest enemy on our doorstep,” she said of the spy base.
Haley went on to say that her biggest concern about the base would be if China would send military troops there. She said she would view that as a huge provocation by China.
Despite not mentioning human rights in her Wall Street Journal piece, Haley didn’t hold back when criticizing the CCP for its well-documented human rights violations, especially as it relates to its crimes against the Uyghur people.
“Over a million Muslim Uyghurs sitting in China….they are making them change their name, change their religion, sexual abuse, I mean [it’s] genocide,” Haley said. “We promised never again to look away from genocide and it’s happening right now in China.”
Current polling by FiveThirtyEight has Haley at four percent, around two percentage points behind former Vice President Mike Pence, but around one percentage point ahead of other nominees like Tim Scott and Vivek Ramaswamy.
The first Republican Presidential Primary debate is set to take place on August 23rd, but it is still yet to be determined if the leading contender, former President Donald Trump, will join.
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