Washington: US Vice President Mike Pence has said China is using "debt diplomacy" and "unfair" trade practices to expand its influence, and has been "put on notice".
The vice president was speaking at a global summit of American envoys on Wednesday. “China, as we've observed, is using debt diplomacy and unfair trade practices to expand its influence,” Pence said in his address to global chiefs of mission conference at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department.
He said "as I made clear on that visit to the region just a few short weeks ago, the United States will always stand for a free and open Indo-Pacific where all countries can enjoy freedom of navigation and open trade."
The conference was attended by US Ambassador to India Ken Juster among others. “The truth is, too often in recent years China has chosen a path of disregard of the laws and norms that have kept the world safe and prosperous for more than half a century and the days of the United States looking the other way are over. Perhaps most importantly, we've put China on notice,” the vice president said.
He said with President Donald Trump's direction "we've placed tariffs on USD250 billion of Chinese goods", with the highest tariff specifically targeting the advanced industries that Beijing is attempting to "capture and control, the high parts of the modern economy".
Pence said as the president's has made clear, the US is prepared to levy even more tariffs until China makes much needed structural changes and signs a trade deal that works, not only for their nation but for the US too.
“We remain hopeful that China will come to the table. Even as negotiations take place as we speak, that China will come to the table and finally enter into a fair and reciprocal trade relationship,” he said.
Pence told his envoys that the US also needs a better relationship with China to understand their relationship across the Indo-Pacific. “We've all seen the aggressive efforts in the South China Sea by China but the United States of America, as I said before and I say again, will continue to stand with nations across the region for a free and open Indo-Pacific and for freedom of navigation on the seven seas of the world,” he said.
“That strong stand is resulting in dialogue and in progress, not only with China but with nations around the world. And what's more, some of our greatest challenges, some of our most heinous enemies are in retreat,” Pence said.