WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Lawmakers in Washington are keeping a close eye on China and are warning it to back down. Democrats and Republicans say they are concerned Beijing’s recent actions could signal trouble ahead in Ukraine and Taiwan.
The State Department said it is working to deter Chinese involvement after intelligence officials said Beijing could be considering aiding Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. This comes as tensions in Taiwan continue to rise.
“We have never had a potential adversary like China,” Rep. Mark Warner, D-Va., said on Fox News.
On NBC’s Meet the Press and on Fox News Sunday, Democrats and Republicans said they’re concerned China is considering providing lethal aid to Russia.
“No question, (China) is a serious threat,” Rep. Him Himes, D-Conn., said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
“That would be an inexhaustible source of weapons if China and its production capacity supported Russia,” Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, said on Meet the Press.
Lawmakers are gauging if China will follow Putin’s lead and invade Taiwan next.
“Xi is watching the West stand up against Putin and is taking some lessons from that,” Warner said.
China claims the right to control Taiwan. CIA Director Bill Burns said they could force change as soon as 2027.
But last week, U.S. Undersecretary for Defense Policy Colin Kahl pushed back against that prediction.
“I just see no indications that Xi Jinping thinks his military is ready or that the PLA thinks they’re ready. I think he thinks he has put a date on the dart board for them to be ready. That doesn’t mean they have made the decision to do it,” Kahl said.
On Sunday China, which now has the largest military in the world, announced it would increase its defense spending for the 8th year in a row, although only by one tenth of a percent.
Given the stakes, lawmakers are razor focused on the issue. This week alone, they’ll hold multiple hearings to assess China’s threat to national security.