March 12, 2021 11:39:04 am
A former top American diplomat on Thursday told lawmakers that the Chinese are on a march to prove their importance and are taking up the vacuum that the United States has created.
“What has happened here, we did not pay attention to what was going on. There’s no question. And kind of dismissed the fact of what the Chinese were doing. And we have been absent. And the Chinese are on a march to prove their importance and are taking up the vacuum that we created,” former secretary of state Madeline Albright told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“We need to understand that without just going back. But we do need to know that we haven’t been consistent,” she said.
Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, she said that there’s no question that China is America’s biggest problem.
“They are out there hustling in every single way. I have made very clear that with the Belt and Road policies that they are undertaking, the Chinese must be getting very fat because the belt keeps getting larger and larger,” Albright said.
“Some of it does have to do with the fact that we have been absent and they are filling a vacuum. So we need to make clear that we need to be back and really do need to make clear in so many ways that we are a leader in restoring and building democracy in other countries,” she said.
She said that they have to speak out very clearly about what the problems are with the Chinese behaviour and added that it is a complex relationship.
“One has to say that. They are an adversary–there’s no question–militarily–in terms of the kinds of things they are doing in the South and East China Sea and threatening Taiwan. They are a competitor in so many different ways in undermining various rules of technology and not stealing international-intellectual property and they are competing with us in so many ways,” Albright said.
She said there were issues on which the two countries needed to cooperate but the most important thing was to tell the truth and speak out when what they did in Hong Kong was unacceptable.
During her appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Albright said that there is problem with the democracies globally. “We have just shown the problems that we as the world’s oldest democracy have had. We see the problems in India which is the world’s largest democracy,” she said.
During the hearing, Senator Chris Van Hollen expressed concern over the situation in India, Hungry and Turkey about the access to Internet.
“If you look at Turkey, they’ve also, for example, shut down access to the Internet and social media over time. Right now, in India, the Modi government permanently blocked over 500 accounts of people who were dissenting against the Modi government’s handling of the farmer protests and threatened to lock up Twitter and Facebook employees that didn’t enforce this decision,” Hollen said.
“In fact, Twitter, as a result, blocked 500 accounts. So if you could just talk about how we deal with that in the context of this overall framing, because I couldn’t agree more with the comment that the Quad, for example, is a really important entity,” he said.
“We need to pursue that. So how do we pursue those interests and at the same time try and apply some consistency to these issues, like freedom of the Internet and dealing with governments that are using their powers to clamp down on dissent by shutting down dissent on the Internet,” he asked.
Albright said that she doesn’t want to keep doing the kind of thing that the US is thinking about as criticising what happened in the past.
“What has happened here, we did not pay attention to what was going on. There’s no question. And kind of dismissed the fact of what the Chinese were doing. And we have been absent. And the Chinese are on a march to prove their importance and are taking up the vacuum that we created,” she said.
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