The United States of America is in touch with India and its other “trusted allies” to move manufacturing from China and create an alternative global supply chain.
In an exclusive conversation with India Today, US Congressman Ted Yoho, Lead Republican for the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation said the coronavirus pandemic has made the world realise the dependence on China and how that can have a crippling affect on the economy.
Engaging diplomats of like-minded nations, the US is drawing up a plan to move manufacturing of major products from China to India, including back home to further President Trump’s ‘America First’ policy.
Giving an example of how China withheld PPEs when the world needed them the most, Congressman Yoho said, “This is a danger of supply chains being there obviously and that’s why we have talked to your ambassadors about moving supply chains to India and other like-minded allies of ours that have the same philosophy in life.”
India has been working to strengthen the ‘Make In India’ platform in order to invite investments into India.
On May 12, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an address to the nation, “Time has taught us that we must make ‘local’ the mantra of our lives. Global brands that are there today were once local too. But when people there started supporting them, they became global. That is why from today, every Indian must become vocal for our local,”
Ted Yoho added that there was a need to put more economic pressure on China, in addition to cutting off the supply chain that Beijing is a critical part of be it rare earth metals or vitamins and minerals that go into livestock feed to the APIs.
“There is a rapid movement of removing these APIs and the manufacturing of that out of China to trusted allies like India, bring them back home domestically. All that is going to be economic pain on Xi Jinping and the communist party”, he said.
The US lawmaker has also suggested that the world should snap ties with China till they mend their way while speaking about their actions outside and within China, against their own people.
“I would recommend that all ties with China be cut-off until they start playing by the normal standards of the world. I don’t expect them to be like US or India but I expect them to be respectful and honour human rights”, he said.
Snap global supply chains from China, remove developing nation status
The Congressman elaborated that there is a strong move by the US to ensure that China not only be contained by losing its position as the ‘factory of the world’ but also that it should be treated like a ‘developed nation’ and not enjoy the benefits of ‘developing nation’ at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
“Their philosophy is that there cannot be two suns in the sky at one time. One has to be removed. They are looking at us as the superpower to get rid of. Their goal is global dominance: economically and in military. Why else would they be building five aircraft carriers, why have they increased their defence spending to 6.9 per cent…yet they hide behind ‘developing nation’ status at the WTO. We have got legislation to remove them from that,” the Congressman said.
“It is ridiculous that the second largest economy in the world has all those other attributes I just spelt out and they hide behind the developing nation status. They shouldn’t be favoured that way anymore,” he added.
The US is looking at severe sanctions against China for all actions that Beijing is taking regarding Taiwan, Hong Kong, assertiveness in the South China Sea, the arm twisting of WHO (World Health Organisation). The US is looking at sanctioning big banks of China that could have a huge adverse impact on their economic dealings.
“We have got mounting sanctions that are escalating. We have asked the treasury department of US to sanction the big banks of China, their construction bank and the banks of agriculture, because those are the ones funnelling the money to North Korea. What you are going to see is an escalation of that,” said the Congressman.
With regards to the coronavirus pandemic, the US also questioned WHO’s response in containing the pandemic, particularly its chief Dr Tedros’ role for not being transparent and fair to the rest of the world.
“China has taken advantage of the WHO and the way they do business… President Trump has taken such a strong stand and we support him to withhold funding until Dr Tedros steps down because he placated China. He withheld calling it a global pandemic for two weeks,” said Yoho.
The US is also very angry about the fact that despite all its efforts Taiwan’s ‘observer status’ could not be reinstated because of China.
He said, “We funded the most and then for China to put pressure on WHO and not allow Taiwan to be a part of the World Health Assembly, which is part of WHO, is ridiculous because Taiwan has been instrumental in previous outbreaks like SARS, MERS. They come to the table so often to correct this and China is intimidated by Taiwan. It’s lack of self confidence by China. They are afraid of free and open thinking.”
“We put in a legislation in the House that is real close to being signed into law to have Taiwan as part of the WHA…We also are introducing legislation to call for Taiwan to be recognised as a sovereign independent nation,” the US Congressman added.
While nobody wants war, Ted Yoho emphasised that China had to be contained because if the dependence on China continues then it gains economically which further strengthens it militarily.
“Are we going to get to a point where we cannot back up? I think that is coming, the chess pieces have been played. It is time for the world to relook at this and say China is going in this direction and it is the wrong direction for a peaceful world”, asked the US lawmaker.
To a question on how China has managed to open up so many fronts at a time when the world is reeling under the pressure of controlling a pandemic, Ted Yoho said, “It falls into the plan that Xi Jinping laid out in the 19th CCP Congress. It also falls into the 100-year plan of Mao Zedong that he laid out in 1949, to be the global world power. Don’t want to say they created the virus but we know it came from the Wuhan province. They didn’t act right away but yet they had Tedros say to WHO that they have it under control. They allowed five million people to leave that area yet claimed that nobody in their military has been sick.”
On the issue of Hong Kong, he was clear that Beijing will have to respect the agreement with between China and UK in 1997 that allowed Hong Kong to be an autonomous run region
Warning China with fresh sanctions, Ted Yoho said, “You are going to see sanctions going on on people of China that are pushing this… China is pushing in a direction that they shouldn’t. Everybody is in agreement that Hong Kong is part of China, it is a province of China. There is no debate about that but what is being subverted is the rule of law and the agreement that were made between those two countries in 1997.”
In addition, the foreign relations committee will be looking into the draft bill introduced by another Republican Congressman Scott Perry seeking independence for Tibet, a subject that is very sensitive and in many ways a redline for China.
“He has introduced the bill…we will probably co-sponsor that bill. It is China marching on people that are free thinking,” said Congressman Yoho.
India-China border tensions a bilateral issue
To a question on the offer made by President Trump to mediate between India and China on the ongoing border tensions, the lawmaker said it was up to the two countries to decide although he lauded Trump’s negotiating skills.
“What you see with President Trump is that he is so used to negotiations. He has offered his expertise in that. It is ultimately going to be between India and China. We are here to facilitate any way we can and I know President Trump feels the same way on that”, said Yoho.
However, he emphasised that China has been doing this with India for decades and India needs to push back.
“They keep pushing that. This is what China does: they push, push, push, until there is resistance and then they come back… They are testing their power. Until there is resistance, they are going to keep pushing forward,” the Congressman said.