Tillerson: US-China friendly, adversarial
of Personnel Management and taking advantage of the US economically and in the South China Sea.
“We have to deal with what we see, not with what we hope,” Tillerson said.
But Tillerson emphasized “we need to see the positive dimensions in our relationship with China as well”.
“The economic well-being of our two nations is deeply intertwined. China has been a valuable ally in curtailing elements of radical Islam. We should not let disagreements over other issues exclude areas for productive partnership,” he said.
Asked about the Trump administration’s policy on Taiwan, Tillerson reiterated the US commitment to Taiwan, but said, “I don’t know that there is any plan to alter the one China position”.
He mentioned several times his “whole of China approach”, saying “we’ve got to deal with the whole of China actions and recognize we have these balancing forces in our relationship that need to be dealt with.”
Jonathan Pollack, a senior fellow at the John L. Thornton China Center of Brookings Institution, said Tillerson’s testimony was not a definitive indicator of future US foreign policy toward China.
“But his opening statement and some of his replies to Senatorial questions reveal a decidedly hard edge to his views of China,” he said.
“Though he acknowledges more positive developments in economic cooperation and in opposing international terrorism, his testimony makes no mention of US- China cooperation on the Iranian nuclear agreement or in the Paris climate accords. Such strongly worded complaints directed against China suggest that US-China relations could be entering a much more contentious phase as the Trump administration assumes power,” he said.
Zhiqun Zhu, professor of political science and international relations at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, said Tillerson’s statement was more moderate than he’d expected.
“He does not have a proRussia stance and his view of
We should not let disagreements over other issues exclude areas for productive partnership.”
US President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in Trump Tower, Manhattan on Wednesday. See story, page 2