A screen grab shows opening slides of a DOD video examining the Chinese military.

A screen grab shows opening slides of a DOD video examining the Chinese military. (Kyle Davis/Army University Press)

Congressman August Pfluger and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn say the People's Republic of China is a serious threat to the United States on multiple fronts and the American government and military must effectively counter those threats.

Rep. Pfluger, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement and Intelligence in Washington, D.C., told the Odessa American Tuesday that he had been worried about China since he took office in 2021.

He is a graduate of the Air Force Academy who was a fighter pilot in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"Despite years of attempts by the United States to develop a productive, fair and honest relationship with the People's Republic of China, America has been met with dishonesty and aggression," said Pfluger, a San Angelo Republican who represents Ector and Midland counties in the 11th Congressional District.

"The PRC government, run by the Chinese Communist Party, has deceived and manipulated the world at every turn, committing espionage in our homeland and working to overturn the global rules-based order," Pfluger said. "We are now locked in a peer competition with the PRC in which their government is actively seeking to install themselves at the top of the global world order, all the while degrading our nation's power militarily, diplomatically and economically.

"In recent months the CCP has escalated this competition and threatened the security of the entire Indo-Pacific region. It takes a unified response from all of us in Congress and the Executive Branch to put an end to this aggression."

Pfluger said he had introduced legislation to combat Chinese influence in American academia, strengthen the nation's ability to access critical minerals, ensure that it has the proper tools to respond to cyber-attacks and hold CCP human rights abusers accountable for atrocities.

"In addition I have held hearings on the threats posed by the CCP at the House Committee on Homeland Security and have had classified briefings with my colleagues in the Congressional Mach 1 Caucus on the PRC's airpower capabilities," he said.

"The threats posed by the CCP are some of the most significant security challenges that our nation has faced since the end of the Cold War."

Pfluger vowed "to continue to use my platform to raise awareness on these threats, among others, and ensure that America can properly defend ourselves and our interests."

Cornyn, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said Chinese President Xi Jinping "has made no secret of his desire to invade Taiwan.

"The Chinese Communist Party falsely asserts that Taiwan is part of its territory and President Xi has said he wants to be ready to invade by 2027, just four years from now," Cornyn said in a March 8 Newsweek op-ed article to which the OA was referred.

"Given everything we've learned from the war in Ukraine, there are three key steps that we need to take to prepare. One, the U.S. and its allies must remain committed to victory in Ukraine through strategic investments with thorough oversight. A Russian defeat is the only way to prevent this conflict from spilling across borders in Europe and keep NATO troops out of the picture.

"It also shows President Xi that the West is operating in lockstep in defense of democracy," Cornyn said. "Two, we must strengthen our defense industrial base to protect our own military readiness and that of our allies. During World War II President Franklin D. Roosevelt transformed the United States into the 'arsenal of democracy.' That arsenal must remain fully stocked.

"And three, we must reduce our reliance on China for semiconductors and other technologies that are crucial to our advanced weapons systems and so much more. Europe paid the price for its longstanding dependence on Russian energy. We could soon find ourselves in a similar position if China invades Taiwan.

"Now that we've addressed the chip shortage through my CHIPS for America Act, we must keep Western investment from fueling the Chinese military and economy by increasing outbound investment transparency."

Cornyn said Ukraine and Taiwan "are thousands of miles from our shores, but that doesn't mean they aren't our problem.

"A myopic view of these threats may be superficially appealing, but it fails to confront the current threat landscape," he said. "This is not about protecting 'them' or 'us.' The United States has the greatest military in the world. It is fully capable of safeguarding our own national security and promoting democracy around the globe.

"What's at stake today isn't the fate of one or two nations, it's the future of democracy itself. Our own security and economic interests are on the line and we have history as our teacher.

"If we aren't ready, we will only have ourselves to blame."

(c)2023 the Odessa American (Odessa, Texas)

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