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tv   Mark Esper Sen. Sullivan and Rep. Murphy Discuss U.S.- China Relations  CSPAN  May 15, 2021 12:51am-1:50am EDT

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>> i am a columnist with the "washington post". this panel would be about the china welcoming to the stage three very distinguished public servants who not only played a crucial role to ready the united states for the china challenge that career
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and personal stories. i myself into many years and then to stand up for the afflicted all over the world and that is what we were bringing forward as a country to the china challenge and to the world. and the question i am posing to each of you is very simply this. beginning 2021 during the biden ministration run a very different place that to change that strategy in ways that
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cannot be undone. but to be honest i would like to ask from each of you what you think the trump administration got right about china and you have to answer both. >> thank you and it's great to be back even if it is virtual want to do a shout out we all have john mccain stories. we have a bunch of them you witnessed a few with those. year after year to have the honor to travel with john mccain. and thrilled to be back here with with the secretary esper.
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so when i came to the senate with my second term and on the senate floor six years ago with that china challenge and to be honest not many were talking about the china challenge. with al qaeda and isis 100 years and timeout that and u.s. senate. obviously you couldn't get that speech anymore. the trump administration deserves a lot of the credit. and with the national security strategy by hr mcmaster and
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the national security advisor and that seeded into that these are very important very serious documents that reoriented the entire strategic approach with the world. >> to focus on the violent extremists. and that was the focus after 9/11. and rightfully so. but now this focus with china as the pacing threat is the result of a national security strategy with the trump administration. and they check all types of credit for that and the one thing that they missed about the documents but most documents was very bipartisan.
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and with the national defense authorization act was written and oriented around the national defense strategy. that is an important development. we have all seen in meetings. and then you talk about reciprocity. we don't always have it that we are developing country and united states as a developing country they still use that talking point. the trump administration did not allow them to use that talking point. there is some criticism of the trump administration with allies as an ally rich nation and the chinese are ally poor.
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i heard a great fraser have eligible customers. but actually think that criticism is a little overblown with regard to the trump administration. i think the biden administration and is off to a good start. and the area that i think that some people didn't do enough like japan or india starting to get stronger. even vietnam. so here is the one area i think they did not do enough and deserves criticism. one of our huge comparative advantages not just military or energy capabilities that our commitment as you said to democracy, democratic values. in the global competition in
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china we need to emphasize that that's what help is in the cold war with the soviet union. and then in my view that is very muted. it needs to be muted. that is a huge comparative advantage of people and hong kong people in beijing every person on the globe in my view whether chinese are american or hong kong or burma, we need to emphasize that more. but overall it is a strong record of the approach of the strategic outlook. >> thank you so much senator i should have mentioned and with the institute succeeding senator mccain in that role.
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had democrat from florida who just won her second reelection. what was good about the trump administration what was that about it? >> thank you josh in the mccain institute for inviting me this is my first appearance i hope i earned a repeat invite. introducing me as a democrat you may think i don't have anything positive to say about a republican policy administration but it is the opposite. i am so old-fashioned. i believe mike senator mccain dead. politics should stop at the waters edge. it is great to be on was secretary esper and senator sullivan that the trump administration deserves credit for the national security
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strategy that prioritizes with the biggest national security challenge and then loudly and aggressively to advocating to that conclusion this experiment that you are on last couple of decades to bring china into the fold as a means to induce the ccp is a more responsible member of the international community or transform themselves after democracy has failed. they enter the international global community as far as a curtain to advance their own interests at the expense of ours. they understood the international organizations we had in large part help build, require the level love
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unanimity those numbers that don't comply by the rules. so they word use a variety of extortion to create a situation to give all of the benefits to the international community without playing by the rules. and so while they correctly identify aid much of the problem the inconsistency to execute a strategy led to a situation hate and progress laying out in the front and
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the subcommittee on trade. everyone agrees china's trade practices are people and the things that they do wrong and violations they commit. how do you most effectively address that? a very first thing the trump administration did to unilaterally withdraw from the tpp we should have had a more open debate about that decision. but participating in that partnership in the region that would weaken china and i'm not someone that believes that alliances for the sake of the alliance we had that for strategic purposes in the asia-pacific region participation would have been
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an area so secondly the trump administration imposed aluminum and steel tariffs on our allies and at the same time to have a strong tariff policy. but the first set of terrorist on the allies to help us address the real problems with china. and while a lot of american companies are willing to endure the tariffs for some period of time, they didn't make any progress toward correcting the bad behavior around ip and other things. so to correctly identify to make too much progress to change the bad behavior. >> we didn't get that much.
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so we heard some praise and criticism it's appropriate now for that approach and federal capacities to be a former secretary doctor esper and is a distinguished fellow with the good the bad and the ugly. >> it's great to be back at the sedona forum. it's been a few years for me. it's a privilege to be here is a distinguished fellow. let me step back and frame this a little bit. and then to recognize the biden administration.
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there strategic objective the most preeminent power in this century. and with those international rules -based with friends and allies so we must win the peace first and foremost by the thing with our values but with a strong and capable military adequate assistance and invest in technology and we think the biden ministration is doing this as well. >> we need to provide that because if we don't nobody else well. it also means we have to set
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aside toxic partisanship and get our house in order because this will be a competition that last decades and whoever wins will end of dominating the 21st century. so with that, framing that, i am proud what the trump administration accomplished when it came down to china. it was a very important achievement we took a very clear i straightforward approach to recognize the true nature and ambition. i was on the floor of the senate and 2000 when we had most favored trade status at the wto one year later so to appreciate the sea change that has happened in 20 years with regard to the us government regarding china and to be where we should have been so many years ago.
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that success brings focus to that with a whole government approach with the national security strategy and for me the national defense strategy was the most important thing in a make that a top priority everything from the readiness for us to modernize the future with a weapon systems and other piece of equipment to focus the department of china to focus professional medic window - - and all these things so i'm very pleased to see what the deputy secretary said as well to treat china those are all very important things. and i will thread the needle from white congressman murphy said there is important
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progress with her allies and partners. secretary pompeo and i is the two plus two with india china's the most challenging relationship with united states in this century india presents the most opportunity. i think it's very important. glad to see president biden participated and then to win to speak with his counterpart. and then of course i've been very encouraged - - encouraged. and last but not least moving the approach looking at china. that's very important we can talk about the things we did domestically with checking the progress and the role of chinese companies in the united states. >> we could talk about that.
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>> to create unnecessary irritants with allies and partners that prevented us from realizing the full potential of how we could've gotten all the countries on board with those in europe much further along. i would put that down as a criticism but with a whole government approach i thought of course dod did a very good job. how do we employ all the other departments of the united states appropriately to do so? but i think we probably could have done more on a whole government approach so we finished a lot stronger than we started. i think if we kept the pace at
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the front we had at the end we could've move the ball even further. but i am very encouraged where the biden administration's right now. they are saying the right things and time will tell. i think china is testing them right now. i will pause right there. >> that's what would like to take the conversation next we had a few months to watch the biden administration but many of said we've seen continuity but at the same time is between competing interest with the biden administration that has yet to play out so another words they haven't made the tough decision. what do each of you think how the biden administration is handling the china challenge? and make each of you to give a
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grade of how you think they are handling this so far? >> i've been trying to work with the biden administration some of the issues congressman murphy and i think at the end of the day president xi's nightmare is a long-term strong bipartisan strategy that the united states and ask and i have made it clear to the incoming biden administration and i am willing to be a partner with that strategy make sense. so i would give the grade in incomplete because there is a whole host of issues that are up in the air. a couple that have done a good job. and some that i think are still out there. i was in alaska and met with the secretary of state and
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jake sullivan right after their meetings at the chinese in anchorage. i know secretary austin quite well actually introduced to matt's confirmation hearing many years ago serving together in the military. so i think the way they started this to make sure the meeting with the chinese on american soil the great state of alaska. but it really set up an important focus on our allies that meeting of the quad that never happened before. and that quad idea started with the george w. bush administration and then japan and korea and india by secretary of state and
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secretary of defense to go to india it's important to set the stage. jake sullivan likes to use the phrase take the chinese from situations of strength that the old phrase he used in the description how to deal with the soviet union i cannot agree more with him on that. allies are one area that is a situation of strength. we have much stronger alliances certainly than the chinese are other adversaries like russia or north korea working together on domestic legislation to make this more competitive with china is an important bipartisan opportunity.
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where the grade is incomplete the obama biden administration at 25 percent president xi and they said in 2016 we will not militarize the south china sea. but yet when they started to do that secretary said john kerry and others when you do freedom of navigation readiness plummeted we rebuilt that during the trump administration. the big issue, we are not there yet fully you cannot cut by 25 percent four years and thank you have a strong military. where will they be on the military? you have members of the democratic party chuck schumer, sanders who put bill on the floor.
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14 percent across-the-board. that's part of the democratic party. where is joe biden? and secretary austin be to put forth the military budget? so that's out there one final one a huge comparative advantage that the trump administration supplier to the pandemic we were the world's energy superpower to produce more natural gas or renewables in any and this is an enormous strategic vantage. as it relates to china and the energy policy curtailing the production making the russian
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and iranians very happy. there is a debate in the biden administration and the highest level of addition go if we know at her lead to disarm the energy independence and dominance, be the best thing putin and president xi would want us to do. the jury is still out. we have a lot of areas to work together. if john kerry leads the issues then it would not be something i would be supportive of. i will let them know that in public and private. >> and then dad analysis so
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what do you think how did they do in alaska? what did you get from your front row seat? >> i think as secretary esper said they are clearly being tested that were year diplomacy is on full display they should have been ready for that. but i have not been one to go out there to criticize the secretary or jake sullivan the way they dealt with that they could have been stronger honor values that the chinese call themselves a democracy. that is a joke. actually that's not true they were week to a knowledge we have challenges. there is no doubt with our own
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citizens but let the chinese getaway to mention black lives matter there is a moral equivalence but overall i think the fact and then to regroup on that. and these are tough issues. overall the orientation i got readouts. they were pressing hard the need to continue to do that. >> congresswoman and murphy how the biden ministration is doing what was your personal
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view how those are handled. >> before i came to congress and then to senators sullivan addressing how they did. the biden administration is undertaking the us policy to china and also to be informed by public opinion. we are not without agency and my hope is that we keep this in the anti- asian americans. and on trade more of the same.
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and then to focus on domestic issues for do much in the trade space. but our trading relationship is a key part to the economic recovery and on that terrorist issue whether she agrees in the beginning of all this are not now it is leverage my hope is that she uses it for a better outcome than the trump administration and with those trade practices. spent the defense budget it is good to hear senior officials
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that they are keeping threats. to resource your values or your goals. is now $31 billion and with the supporting allies so basically to appropriate to get into the nda a of 21 to play a huge part. my hope is the biden administration would continue that level of funding with a wide range of challenges. but we are dedicated to a strong national security and fiscal responsibility. and then all my members will have a say to where the
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defense budget is and how it comes out of the house in a narrowly held house the opinion will matter. and the alliances, whole of government the biden administration clearly had taken part former secretary of state george schultz was a republican that compared diplomacy to gardening. and we have to make those investments because this type of relationship takes constant maintenance. so if we continue that farmer analogy because a lot of people that do that work there
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are some morale issues so finally the biden administration is more willing and is not comfortable highlighting human rights. you can be strong and defend your values and that is seen as a weakness. that human rights and core democratic values to be the person who defines the term of
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this battle. we are in a conflict between china that is both a government system competition but if all of that conversation is part of the psychological operations to undermine and undercut the system of government as well as the economic system.
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but there is that distinction. so how do you think about these issues? and how we can deal with both of them with the chinese communist party what is undeniably a rising trend.
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>> so why it is happening in our society right now that we are dealing with in a democratic way and it is undeniable that is happening. it's also undeniable and has an impact not only on us here at home that is americans but also and an impact on our alliances and partners overseas. for example a letter from the ambassador vietnam expressing deep concern of the asian american violence they are seeing unfold. just as we see diplomatic response in the aftermath of january sex with the attack on democracy, the incidents that
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happen they are for people all across the world. and to say what we value in this country which is a strong democracy with free and fair elections and the transfer of power. and that's the height of what makes this country great. not only do you have to use your words to push back better has to be some action to acknowledge their issues and we need to make some changes.
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>> and on the china challenge people on the left and the right that we cannot do both. we being up our confrontation of the chinese government that necessarily fuels a hate and violence is that something we can manage? >> of course we can manage it. but with a platform to be more responsible with their rhetoric. if we talk about the ccp we distinguish them from the chinese people and then is true. by the ccp. and then in partnership and
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those with political expedience to conflate with asian americans and undermines the moral authority when it comes to addressing human rights violations that are happening. a real undermining of democracy happening in hong kong and moreover and then they are attacking their cells. and then to have politics with that divisive hate and rhetoric to be rewarded financial.
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that irresponsible rhetoric. feeling into the racism and then we have to be stronger. >> they understood the value especially public service. and then to do that with senator mccain directly. >> as a freshman member of congress i was elected 2016 and with senator mccain at the handout on - - hanoi hilton.
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and to the vietcong. and he endured five years in prison in shackles and answering questions and talked about the importance of veterans and people like senator sullivan not only in the senate and in the house but it is important to serve in congress but then he turned to me and said congratulations. you in so many other vietnamese americans have contributed so much to this country. it is that kind of dedication to those very american values that senator mccain embodied to make the country so great that gives me so much hope because i believe that inclination more americans
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with the understanding that we are a diverse nation to make contributions into acknowledge that in the way that senator mccain did. and that is purely american. and the help that we will get out of this rhetoric and then to confront our adversaries as a foreign adversary. >> so to give the biden administration a grade so also if you can show your
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perspective. >> he has at the 100 day mark yet. president biden said his policy would be competing with china global space it's very good to hear. to hear very good comments about the genocide that is occurring in western china. with the democracy in hong kong and then to speak with the interactions of allies those are good things but for the metric where you put your people time and money? and it said jump with the defense budget.
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>> that china had this year is investing six.8 percent is there budget growth previous years last for five years between seven and 8 percent annually and in 2000 double digits annually. they are at a breakneck pace to modernize the military. they want a modern military by 2049 they want world-class military with that there wages say they want to have better military presence. leadership is tough. it requires sacrifice. we cannot compete if they are investing in six.8 percent and we are investing 0 percent growth. because right now the parameters is a flat budget or 10 percent reduction. even a flat budget means you're losing two.5 percent through inflation. my view in my time in office
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as articulated by national defense strategy commission we should be investing between three and 5 percent annually for full growth each year. if we don't just make up for the years of sequestration in budget cuts but also make sure we can compete with china in the future it just takes money. the challenges coming off 20 years of being fixated with iraq and afghanistan. we have to modernize the military built in the reagan era that would take ten solid years of investment. measure we have the capacity. i think we need to build a bigger better navy. the future structure strategy talked about it with him and her unmanned the ship we even have the capacity right now to do that. have the largest shipbuilding
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capacity in the world. when you combine 40 percent capacity and combine that with the japanese you occupy 90 percent of the world shipbuilding capacity. wears united states? chinese build the three times number of ships in the water each year that we are. that is just one example it will take investment. by the way is not just investment in dod but state and foreign assistance and all those elements that is critical to winning this fight because it is the asymmetric advantage we have a team to strengthen them and in some cases outside that military realm to make good sense.
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so can we share covid vaccines? can we practice that type of diplomacy your development assistance? it is critical but those are the metrics over the coming months of people time and dollars and where are they put it is that commitment. going back to what i said originally the biggest challenge to solve is to get you partisanship and then between both parties how we get the fiscal house in order. because not enough defense spending is not enough discretionary spending and then look at the other side of the budget but those are big issues. we have to cf congress can take those on. >> the china challenge is not military challenge is technology and military and innovation. as you know so to take up the
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frontier bill that is now used as a vehicle for lots of other china related stuff. starts with $100 billion and then to run faster. and then to be caught up and partisan bickering and so how will congress perform? and then to come together to put forth a program on the innovation front or not quick. >> it's a good question. i made a prediction a few years ago the more this
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challenge comes to the american people and more i think it will drive bipartisan action to get her own house in order and to get their whole act together. but as secretary esper just mentioned on and infrastructure. i don't think we're there yet. in the important aspect the important first test with how we look at the's issues and truly come together. not to be too partisan and then they failed miserably. in 2020 so much of the focus
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is to get through the pandemic and have five different pieces of pandemic relief legislation the c.a.r.e.s. act is the most prominent of them all that a big important bill in december they are all very partisan. so the republicans controlled the senate and white house and then to make that bipartisan. and then to go by a partyline vote in the senate and the house. i hope we can do better on that's one - - on this. there are a lot of good ideas how to deal the chinese
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particularly with the comparative advantages. i'm not a one trick pony but those opportunities of technology and energy are off the charts. and then to unilaterally say we don't do the hydrocarbons or oil or gas the number one thing putin and president xi are cheering for. but again my broader point him positive outlook and that challenge seen is very real and that will come together on issues that really impact us. and getting read of red tape. and it's an important test. but we will get there.
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it may not be this bill. and with that us china relationship. but i would like to ask you how are they using their strategic interest and not just in the united states but all over the world with that the pharmacy and basically a very aggressive approach. what can we do to respond? and what other tools could they use to make sure the coronavirus pandemic to advancer interest against hours. >> i'm glad you asked the
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question i'm excited to read it because the build i just author tried to address this very issue. it's called preventing china so basically it requires the dni to prepare the assessment the ways we have seen the tpp to advance china's interest to undermine the interest of the united states. you mentioned we have seen the vaccines and equipment as a way to coerce these countries to support china and a variety of ways we have seen they use that global distraction tactic. where people are focused mystically on the pandemic and the economic crisis in suing
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but using that opportunity to be more aggressively pursuing some long-standing sovereignty objectives including with a guy in hong kong or taiwan or even countries like india. we know this activity hasn't been going on. it's clear and has exacerbated the relationship that we should have a clear assessment of all the ways to figure out how we can counter it. >> secretary i want to close out by covering something we need to talk about. >> and i had one point? >> i am critical with those
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missteps or potential missteps are the biden administration on the other hand with the leaders meeting. is the first one of its kind. very important. that major initiative with vaccine diplomacy in southeast asia and other areas. and i thought is the congresswoman murphy about. and that is a positive impact. and what george president on - - present george bush undertook. but that is something that goes to the question that you ask and a good start. >> .
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>> this will be the last question. and with the us partnership with taiwan. and increasingly we see aggressive tactics and intimidation and interference by the chinese government. and across-the-board of how worried we should be in the defense secretary what is going on their? and that encroachment upon the freedoms and those two areas of most concern when it comes to china in the south china sea we clearly how that it is
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part of china. it's an indisputable part and in 19974 hong kong? if they check that box years ago it is a matter of concerned i know they had pay con command. that i will say this much they need to increase their defense spending and we need to look at more ways to cooperate. and greater cooperation with taiwan how do we incorporate into planning with the allies
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with the australians and others. but now european allies have a presence in the indo pacific such as the brits in the french. so more broadly in that regard of the defense of taiwan but how do we deter chinese aggressive behavior to stick to the principles we are in no are part of that communiqué. i will jump an issue to say this about taiwan. there involvement now this is a country who did incredibly well with covid in terms of how to prevent high infection rates they at not a member of the who at the same time we see china try to infiltrate itself and all these international organizations who, intellectual property organization and others we need to be very cognizant.
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not just in the united states that any western country to leave that no space so this is a way china tries to undermine that work and then to undermine from within. so china has a grand plan on all parts. >> we are only beginning to scratch the surface and then to rise to this generational challenge but there is a lot that we can guarantee on our that bipartisan overlap
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perhaps they don't know but thank you to the senator and congresswoman and secretary for sharing their thoughts and perspectives. thank you to the audience for attending and we hope to see them next year. >> thank you. >> thank you


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