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."
He additionally described China's tactics across the region and with US allies in Asia and across the world as follows:
He accused the Chinese government of being "an aggressor against India along their long Himalayan border, against Vietnam, the Philippines and others in the South China Sea, against Japan, in the East China Sea".
"Beijing has launched an intimidation campaign against Australia, and even more recently Lithuania," he said. "The PRC’s genocide in Xinjiang, its abuses in Tibet, its smothering of Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms and its bullying of Taiwan are unjust and must stop."
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.
China on Thursday “firmly rejected” US ambassador nominee Nicholas Burns’ tough comments on Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang, saying his remarks show a cold war and zero-sum mentality.— Hindustan Times (@htTweets) October 21, 2021
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.