President Biden’s nominee to be the new US ambassador to China slammed Beijing in a confirmation hearing Wednesday and claimed the Asian country is the “greatest threat” facing the US.
“China’s the greatest threat to the security of our country. And the democratic world,” Nicholas Burns, a former ambassador to NATO, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The main topic of the hearing was Taiwan, and Burns called for more US support for the island. “The most important thing the US can do is to deepen our security cooperation, to expand our arms provisions to Taiwan,” he said. “Our responsibility is to make Taiwan a tough nut to crack.”
Burns said the US has an advantage over China because Washington has more allies than Beijing. “China is not an Olympian power,” Burns said. “They have enormous strengths — and very few friends. They have no real allies.”
Rallying allies against China is a key part of the Biden administration’s strategy against Beijing. “Think of the strategic advantage we have with our 29 allies in Canada, the Europeans and NATO, and our multiple treaty allies in the Indo-Pacific. It is our comparative advantage,” he said.
Beijing recently deployed a new ambassador to Washington who sounds much more diplomatic than Burns. Since taking his post in July, Ambassador Qin Gang has been critical of the US’s confrontational approach, but his overall message is one for better relations.