tv Asst. Secretary of State Testifies on Chinas Presence in Middle East CSPAN August 4, 2022 10:32am-11:44am EDT
with them. i love them. i think about the differences we could make with every single one of them. i think that's exactly have jay inslee felt about his plans on how to combat climate change, and he did have some really good ideas. i know for a fact that is exactly w how julian castro fel. and when joe biden called me and said it what to pick up, named one in particular, the bankruptcy, i want to pick that up, he said do you mind? mind? i'm over the moon. because it means that this process of running for office has something really good, out of it. it had to ideas that were going to roll forward. last week when the president said childcare during his address to the nation, man, i'm
not only on my feet, i am ready to go. indie book, i get it. primaries can be contentious, -- >> we will be this year for live coverage of a hearing on china's present in the middle east. assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs barbara leaf testifying here before senate foreign relations subcommittee. you are watching live coverage on c-span2. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
>> we aren't going to convene this subcommittee today to discuss china's role in the middle east. thank our witness for being a today as well as my colleagues. as much as it's possible in open setting my goal is to have a frank conversation so that we can appropriately factor china's middle east goals as we right size american goals. united states has been the dominant power of the middle east for decades. america's a deal with regional despot particularly the golf has long been a pretty straightforward one, providing security in exchange for the study provision of oil to the global economy. but for the past 20 years and several of the dynamics that underpin this arrangement have changed. first, back in 1980 the united states relied heavily on energy imports to power our economy. one-third of all oil we use in the united states came from the gulf. today the united states produces as much oil as a gets from
abroad at only 9% of these imports come from gulf countries. today the u.s. is not totally dependent on coal for fossil fuels, but china is. today more than 50% of china's oil comes from the gulf states. second, our allies in the gulf no longer honor the deal that was made decades ago even though we still have a big physical military presence in the gulf, bigger than ever before, and we keep giving gulf nations a pass on human rights coalition. too often our allies act in conflict with or security interest. recently for instant it took a high-profile trip from the american president to riyadh in order to sell the contents are supposed allies in the region to produce more oil to address spiraling global prices. and third, today china now needs of the middle east what we do. the value of saudi fossil fuel exports to china has grown from 1.5 billion in 2000, just about 20 years ago, the $43 billion
today. it's a secret why china is deepening its ties to the region. it's a china's economy not the u.s. economy that has become completely been on middle east oil. this hearing gives us the opportunity for china's role in middle east and help us craft a policy that enables us to counter china's influence in the areas that threatens u.s. interests. well finding ways to cooperate in limited areas where interests ally. there's no question that china's growing presence in belize presents a challenge to the united states, that we have to confront with such a large u.s. military footprint in the region we must assure the china does not get its hands on our most sensitive technology. frankly that's what i've oppose selling f-35s and drones to the uae. and while middle east oil doesn't matter to us as much as he used to, it still matters so we don't want china to get a monopoly on the middle east energy trade. china is also an attractive partner to dictators in the region who are looking for more
tools of repression and civilis that the chinese have perfected as a world leading human rights and democracy defended u.s. should push back on the spread of these tools of oppression. but at the same time a hope this hearing considers whether it's worthwhile to approach every middle east issue through a lens of u.s.-china competition. for example, china's recent sale of armed drones to saudi arabia does not mean that we should rush to provide those drones are cells that the saudis have a clear record of miss using such weapons yemen and we are right to distance ourselves from these abuses. chinese investment into the vanity projects shiny new cities for egypt president sisi and the saudi crown prince was questionable returns for investors. there's no compelling reason why the united states should be seeking to counter china's investment any projects with our own funny. there are limited areas where china at the u.s. share interest. we shouldn't ignore them. for example, both china and the
united states have shared interest in securing shipping lanes in the gulf. both benefit from iranian nuclear deal to avoid proliferation. and both the united states and china benefit from stability in the region. finally, we should recognize that while china's influence in the region is increasing, it has limits. the united states commitment to the region despite much hype to fears of abandonment continues as we were in the leading security partner for every country in the region. except of course for iran. we shouldn't be so insecure as to believe that our partners in the middle east think china can be taken seriously as an alternative to the united states. for example, while the united states preserves the security of the shipping link in the gulf as a global public good, it's hard to imagine china acting to preserve anything but its own shipments. let's face it, , if a war eruptd between the arab gulf countries at iran, the navy is not sailing to anyone's defense. recognizing these limitations to china's influence gives us real
leverage in the region and we need to use it to reset our relationship. for decades our approach to the middle east has been overly militarized at the expense of economic diversification and it inclusive political reform which leads me to my last and most important point. we should not de-prioritized political and economic reform priorities in middle east for the sake of competing with china. poor corrupt and unequal societies make for a combustible mix that can quickly cause superficially stable regimes to collapse quickly. in the long run the most stable countries are democracy and we should that i look for to the witnesses testimony today to learn more about how the state department is diagnosing the taking of the support issue and without a return to the recommended for opening remarks. >> thank you, mr. chairman for holding this your income and thank you assistant secretary leaf for being here today. i believe this topic is critical for us to examine this great power competition is not confined to one geographic
region. while we rightly seek to prioritize countering the chinese communist party, we must acknowledge that beijing is not just a challenge in the indo-pacific but also a challenge to our interests across the middle east and africa and beyond. america's role in the middle east is at a critical moment and our approach to our relationships with our partners will speak volumes to our allies and are adversaries alike. perception is vital and given some of the administration's policy missteps, one could come to an erroneous conclusion about america's role, intent and influent in a region where we have traditionally been the partner of choice. the withdraw from afghanistan, the somewhat nebulous indo-pacific strategy, at the iran policy that could disrupt the delicate balance of power, restrictive arm sales policies, the biden administration's related embrace of the abraham accords. it's not hard to see how our
adversaries are weaving these threads into a broader narrative of u.s. disengagement. as our perceived light waivers, china is aching to fanfares into a flame. we already know the region is key to beijing's economic ambitions. a substantial portion of its over land and maritime trade routes rely on regional access requiring not just stability but influence, no matter the cost. i gcc ministerial visit china in january show that the desire to even economic cooperation is mutual. regional governments want to diversify their economies and foreign minister wayne's efforts to continue talks of the free trade agreement represent an opportunity that is too good for article partners to pass up. militarily, we only need to look at the overtures aging is made
to anyone willing to listen including both partners and adversaries of the united states. since the end of the u.n. conventional arms embargo on iran, china has anyone willing partner who will flood the region with the chinese arms, including the proxies intend on the destruction of israel. these examples show how beijing has studied our example and is playing to what it perceives as our vulnerabilities. where america must hold herself and our partners to a higher moral standard, beijing instead distances itself with talks of mutual benefits and neutral engagement. this is the ccp party line when parting with countries at ideological odds with each other. where we mustn't tie u.s. foreign assistance to positive steps and health, human rights, food security and any other number of themes, beijing only opens its checkbook.
so while the ccp might claim that the countries of the middle east should be free from use influence, they are taking every possible means to exert their own influence and control. perhaps this may offer an opportunity as its interest in the region go, title not be able to maintain an image of distant objectivity. deepening engagement with ideologically oppose regional players will eventually drag china into a geopolitical quagmire. secretary leaf, i hope you can address these concerns today, and after some key questions today such as what will it take to win that competition? and what can congress do to support that goal? we want to help, all of us, when it comes to national security we can't afford to spend time playing politics. i believe we are at a crossroads in a relationship with the region. the steps we take now will determine if the administration's actions will permanently alter the
geopolitical landscape or reinforce what america has been a stalwart in dependable ally of choice to our allies there for over 70 years. i am pleased we are here to discuss such an important issue. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thanks, senator young. it is now my pleasure does the honorable barbara leaf, assistant secretary of state. she assumed that role in may 31 of this year after a long confirmation process. she has served as special assistant to the president senior director for the middle east and northern africa at the council, , served as ambassadoro the uae which is where i first met secretary leaf. ambassador lute, we welcome you to the committee. we ask that you limit your opening remarks about five minutes and the rest of your test will be submitted for the
record. >> chairman murphy, ranking member young, members of the subcommittee, thank you for this opportunity to share our assessment of the people's republic of china as activities in the middle east and north africa. but let me first convey on behalf of the secretary and department of state as a whole our deepest condolences on the tragic loss of congresswoman wallerstein and her staff members yesterday, , it was shocking and indeed our prayers and our thoughts are with the families and loved ones. as we assess china's influence in the region today, in those areas that matter most are of national security we retain a clear advantage and that is due to long legacy of a cross of administration just leadership on crucial issues of security, conflict resolution and engagement with partners over the decades and all the issues that matter most to the people of the region. the prc's economic ties with the region, , however, as you both noted reveal growing influence that requires our scrupulous
attention and action. in 2000, prc trade with the middle east and africa was about $15 billion. by 2020 what it had reached $284 billion. that jump was driven in no small part by china's voracious appetite for the regions energy as well as its quest for markets for its exports in the region and beyond. it remains in our national interest as leader of the global economy to ensure theion supply -- the energy supply regions world markets and that sea lanes remain open and secure. the prc has shown night i desire nor the capability to assume that role and, frankly, nor should we wanted to. my concern with this economic contractor lies in two critical areas and then there is a third set of issues on which we must remain vigilant. first is the prc's unfair or unsavory practices in attempting to leverage its investment and trade especially in critical areas of research and technology to increase its global edge
unfairly. that can means that the ivr or misuse of access to national telecoms networks and prc acquisition of strategic infrastructure, ports for example, may open new vulnerabilities for some states in the region. my second concern is a longer-term impact of the prc's steady accretion of economic ties and how beijing might use of relationships for political and even course of advantage. there's no question we're already seeing a more competitive environment in the region for the u.s. and this creates conditions where the prc can course touches on you and the vote and support for its positions on issues like taiwan, the uighurs and russia's brutal war in ukraine. third, and a part of what i'm china's current measure engagement in the region is relatively limited there is clear potential over the longer term for economic relations to morph and the direction of more robust defense relationships as the prc markets military hardware aggressively, and were
prc acquisition of strategic infrastructure goes, there is the potential almost a certainty for dual use or outright military presence. if -- this administration advancing aggressively and affirmative framework for america's engagement in the region. the escalating regional conflicts, enhancing our partnerships for collaborative work on issues that affect the whole region and promoting regional integration in economic, political and security terms, that includes israel. president biden made clear indicator with regional leaders in july we are here to stay. we are not going anywhere. we are certainly not going to leave a a vacuum in middle eat for russia or china or iran, for that matter to filter secretary blinken has underlined our approach to the challenges offered by the prc globally is to invest, align, and compete, invest in the foundations of our fashion align with partners and allies and harnesses assets compete with the prc, and that means in the middle east. as much is around the world.
so we are lined with partners concerning the critical threat posed by iran, on the need to work in, on challenges raising ranging from climate change, food and water insecurity, testing the forces of extremism, eating with fragile states, supporting refugees and resolving the still unresolved issue of a two-state solution for israelis and palestinians. we are engaging both bilaterally as well as the regional organizations and their new structures that we help create, that will build on the new relationship, expanding relationships between israel and arab states. that prc hasn't just been absent from this space that i just described here that some significant instances beijing is actively acted against the region security whether in its relations with iran or syria or its sales of advanced weaponry, uavs as an example that he is by nonstate actors against our gulf partners and others. so for all the recent challenges to use deep and decade-long
cooperation with regional partners remains an asset that no country so they now the prc can hope to match what we must remain engaged and continued to demonstrate the collaborative leadership through the region requires and desires. thank you very much and i'm happy to take your questions. >> thank you very much, ambassador. thank you for that candidate test with. i will start with a round of questions and then open it up to the committee. i want to talk a little bit more about china's relationship with iran and china's relationship with the goal. there is this collective freak out that happened in the gulf when the united states enters into diplomatic with iran, that it's all or nothing, you're either with us or you're against us. and yet china seems to be able to have it both ways. china is deepening its ties with iran and with the goal. iran doesn't shut its doors as
china gets more militarily involved in the gulf. is there a risk at some point that china is going to be asked by the gulf countries to fish or cut bait to choose sides, or alternatively, why does china get to sort of play both sides while the united states is told that we have to choose? >> so senator, i think i would differ with you on a couple of key tenets. it is true that if you go back eight, ten years at the dawn of the efforts to negotiate the jcpoa, the was a collective freak out, , no question, and notwithstanding regular efforts by the obama administration to read both partners into where will we hope to go on the eventual jcpoa. there was great anxiety. i would not say that anxiety is missing as such but it is, the
gulf countries are very focused on the regional dimension of what iran is doing, and this visit that i i just spoke of, spoke to buy the vice president is the punctuation point of a body of work for the past year and a half and will provide forward momentum on further such work that goes to assisting our partners with their self-defense, bolstering the resiliency and networking more deeply insecurity defense, intelligence terms. their ability to deal with the threats emerging from iran's provision of arms to proxies. it is an irony i am the first to say that those uavs that these proxies use our chinese. they are not provided by the state. the state is not attempt to stop the flow. i see the gulf states in terms of, they've taken a different
approach to iran. they themselves have channels with iran to manage those relationships. we have encouraged those diplomatic conversations. are they going to hold china to account recs i i look forwardo the day because frankly china is getting away with murder in some terms. >> second, let me present to you an argument that i find compelling but not persuasive but i think it's important for us to talk about. and that is at this, as china becomes more dependent on exports from the gulf, relative to u.s. dependency, some would suggest that china should in fact, pick up more of the tab for regional security and security of the gulf frankly may matter more to them that it matters to us and yet we pick up almost all that cost. they have bigger military presence today than they did it but it is still our guarantee in the region that matters.
so is there any constructive role that china can play with respect to regional security, ,r should we view this as a zero-sum game? any increase that china has with respect to military cooperation or partnership in the region is a lost u.s. national security interests? >> to be quite frank, as you said earlier i would not want to see china pick up the role that we've had for almost 80 years. and it is securing to the entire global economy. it's a big job. it's a big responsibility. i would rather iffy on u.s. shoulders than chinese shoulders because what that puts the dependency of our own asian partners at risk on, in terms of those energy supplies. there is a constructive role. china could play a constructive role vis-à-vis iran but they
don't. >> china could play a a constructive role. they aren't you just want td your argument persuasive but i think it's important to have the conversation. i'll have other questions for a second round but we have got members waiting to ask questions so i will turn over to senator young. >> thank you. china has cemented its still picking up on the chair demings -- chairman's bill mini questionably to iran and its relationship to china, china cemented itself as one of iran's most reliable allies. iran's foreign policy agenda is focus on strengthening an axis of resistance which means support from another power is vital. chinese producers have provided iran and economic lifeline as it attempt to circumvent u.s. sanctions. they provide a diplomatic cover for iran as it accelerates its nuclear programs and violates its obligations that iaea, and
they signed cooperation agreements of the seek to bring their countries closer together economically and militarily in coming years. failing to stand up to china will hamper our long-term efforts to prevent iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, and also for that. few questions along these lines. for starters can you update me and my colleagues on the current status of china's purchases of iranian crude oil? >> senator young, i don't have those precise figures. i will get them for you but what i can say to this issue we have just rolled out a third set of sanctions on entities is that a trafficking in these goods. we did so on august 1. we did a previous rent in july and you'll see an increasing tempo of the sanctions.
but obligate you those figures. >> thank you. as a relates to the sanctions what steps are being taken to ensure stricter compliance with the sanctions in preventing iran using china to circumvent pressure? >> this is an issue of work between the state department and department of the treasury, department of the treasury, ofac, and it is ongoing. there is quite a bit of work being done on an ongoing basis to illuminate the map and then to go after those targets. >> maybe we could get an update from ofac or state, whomever. could that be something you could help with or -- >> absolutely. >> okay, thank you. what is the chinese role been in negotiations towards a return to the jcpoa? does the china iran relationship
represent an obstacle towards the biden administration stated objective of a longer and stronger deal? >> so i would say that it has been, it has been constructed within the bounds of the p5+1 efforts. china has been clear that it would like to see iran and the u.s. resume compliance or compliance approach resumption of the jcpoa. i think my concern those as much to how china does not pressure iran at the appropriate points when we see kinetic activity, and where we see clear evidence that iran is providing lethal aid, resources, et cetera to proxies in the region that are extraordinarily destructive. but within the bounds of the p5+1 they have been relatively constructive. >> china and iran, they recently
announced a 25 year deal designed to deepen their strategic relationship. once the status of this deal? do we believe that increased cooperation between the countries poses an increased threat to american troops, or american allies in the middle east? >> so the deal was, the partnership, the strategic partnership arrangement was last year. i think many of the elements of it would necessarily not be, they would not be implement double, given the strictures of sanctions. but it certainly gives direction to china's prioritization of iran as one of five countries that it sees as key to its own influence in the region. there is no direct threat as such at this moment to u.s. forces, but it is definitely, it is definitely not not good for
the region. >> so are they contemplating weapons, codevelopment, intelligence sharing? if you could -- >> i don't think i have that information for the setting but i would be happy to come back to any classified setting to give you more of a read into that. >> okay. i will likely take you up on that. thank you so much, mr. chairman. >> senator shaheen. >> thank you. thank you for being here. ambassador, i want, today isn't the second anniversary of explosion at the port of beirut and lebanon has had many challenges over the last couple of years. ..
so what are we doing to try and counter fertile ground for china to make this trip in lebanon? >> senator, we are actively engaged on the ground and from washington with the government of lebanon working to shore up what a real prospect of state collapse and societal collapse. china is not in the mix at all in terms of significant humanitarian assistance or economic assistance. i would be happy to share some of the differences in the way
the u.s. and china approached the middle east because it's striking. we look at trade volume and for acquisition and it is striking but pretty one way benefit and i would say the same is true in lebanon, not much of a business environment. the pickings are slim and i'm not concerned about the china threat as i am of the threats of this fabric of society. our efforts in terms of getting the government to agree to a program which will release funds and sustainable funds to meet their budget and services, we are working on what we hope will be an energy bailout arrangement and what i would say is courts
notwithstanding, i don't see the threat to our interest in lebanon from china so much as the state itself. >> obviously i mentioned the port because so much of what we see china doing is trying to control the ports as part of the significant infrastructure in the middle east. how are we working with the finance corporation with imf and other agencies to give countries an alternative? >> infrastructure investment, as you say, we are doing matchmaking with partner government and also finding other perspectives, investors were countries approached by china and we have a number of
partners very engaged. i don't want to go into it in this setting but i can tell you this is not a wide open field and china is the only country these ports and play. they have acquired states and a dozen ports across the region but i would also say the other piece is we are in regular discussions with government about the risk factors, strategic infrastructure but of either in part or whole by even chinese private sector actors let alone state owned private sector because military civilian fusion and chinese laws that require chinese private sector and state owned enterprise to basically give access to their intelligence and military so we have lifted up for a number of countries and it's been
persuasive. >> i think helping us to better understand how we work in those areas is helpful because i remember a conversation senator murphy and i had with former prime minister several years ago when china was investing in the port and he said we went to the eu and they couldn't help us and we came to you and you wouldn't help us so the chinese offered help so i do think we've got to be clear that we have to provide help, countries have alternatives to what's offered by china. >> if you will allow me to finish responding, we see eye to eye with you on that and we are very engaged both in lighting up alternatives but illuminate risk factors in the issue of a number of countries around the world, that was the going in
proposition, why would you turn away free money? course not to love about an investor coming in? the other side of the investment has financing issues around the globe but there are sovereignty issues. nobody is signing up on the offer commercial. reporter: in part or whole sale, nobody is signing up for the pla to use that facility get this is what is becoming clearer as a risk for countries. the other thing we have going in the middle east is sovereignty neuralgia about this and it's af
colonial history but a strong thing and something we can work with. >> thank you, thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman, it's good to see you. this is an important topic and i tried to dig in and i'm going to submit some questions for the record but i want to use my time to discuss a couple of issues regarding americans detained in iran, an american lawyer recently detained in the uae and what you're doing to get to the full truth and accountability in the shooting death of an american journalist, part of your jurisdiction. i am satisfied the administration is doing everything he can to gain the release of the americans detained in iran. i have less confidence in this moment the administration is
doing everything it can to ensure due process in the case of him. he was tried and convicted with no notice of charges alleging money laundering. he was arrested in dubai en route to a family wedding. he's been sentenced to three years and then more. he's been denied bail and access to american lawyers so in the interest of time, i asked you for a couple of commitments. will you meet with his american lawyers before the tuesday hearing? they are willing to make themselves available at your convenience. >> yes, i think i just had, we just got that request yesterday and yes, i can do so. >> thank you. and could you keep myself and members of the committee posted on the progress in respect to
due process? >> absolutely. as you're probably aware, daniey minute keeping me briefed on this. absolutely. >> i appreciate and i had a conversation with brett over the national security council, you are former investors to the uae and you not a lot of players, i just think it's outrageous he's been denied due process and the rest of pretty much around the time the president was in the region, a slap in the face. let me go on to the killing of american journalist, shareen -- may 11. secretary lincoln repeatedly called for criminal investigation and accountability. president biden has said the same, a simple yes or no question, is that still the position of the biden administration? the need for independent credible investigation.
>> we have asked for a credible investigation. >> calling for independent investigation : a quote. >> i will have to come back to you on that because not my understanding of where our position was. >> i think you'll find a number of members disappointed if that is the case. june 23, 24 senators including senators murphy and shaheen and others wrote to the president asking for not only independent investigation but making it clear that would require u.s. involvement. just last week the appropriations bill released contains similar language calling upon the administration to have u.s. involvement. like 12, a group of subcommittee members including senators lahey, murphy, durbin and myself sent a follow-up letter, have you seen that?
>> i have not. >> i urge you to look at that. this is why a lot of us are concerned that this is not getting the attention it deserves. if you haven't seen it, we ask for information regarding the report by u.s. security coordinator, have you seen that. >> not in full, i've been briefed on it. i was out there, i've been out to seek with our folks several times and i have been briefed in detail and i followed the course of the security coordinator's work over the course of five some weeks so i am intimately involved, i have not seen the actual report and if i could just explain, i haven't seen the second letter because i just came back into the town over the weekend and i've been focused on this testimony. >> i appreciate that. if you could look at it because we ask for a response by last week so if you could get back to
us later today to tell us to expect a response on that we ask for significant amount of information regarding that report which stable the report and idf report together and reached some conclusion so that was not an independent report, i don't think anybody has said it is. if i could just also bring your attention to the fact the chairman of the full committee here have asked for senior-level classified briefing on the state of the investigation so i am concerned the administration is not giving this the attention it deserves. secretary says things like independent investigation which it did say and we call for accountability about an american journalist who was shot and killed, we have expressed our desire and determination to
protect journalists around the world especially in conflict zones and this is a journalist during full press regalia at the time she was shot and killed so there are a number of us that will not allow this to be swept under the rug and we are looking for answers. >> thank you, senator. i can tell you the secretary had a lengthy discussion with defense minister, i want to say it was a week ago and he has been pressing for accountability but i will be happy to come back to you on all of these issues. >> thank you. i would just say an independent report does not include a pa report an independent report does not include an f report. that's why this is american involvement in the investigation. thank you. >> thank you. let me just confirm that i share
senator ben hollins concerns about both getting the independent report also seeking accountability for her death in his concerns regarding the effort to secure due process so appreciate your commitment to both those matters. i want to open up for a second round, there may be a couple of members who come seeking recognition as well but i want to stay on uae for a moment. the abraham accords were a success, victory for stability in the region but didn't exist -- there were commitments made in coordination with those accords that should cause us concern. one of the commitments was the sale of 35's and roads to uae.
the trump of administration russian without doing due diligence and if they would have, they would have figured out the risk of appropriation of u.s. technology by china and i imagine that's why we seen suspension of that sale by the biden administration. i understand there's a limit to what you can say in open setting but i think it is important for us to understand a basic level of why there are concerns the choices uae has age. they chose china's 5g technology over 35 so maybe you could talk about the threat, compatibility of growth defense and u.s. systems.
if our allies continue to make decisions to more fully integrate themselves with chinese technology. >> i would say a couple things and i have to step carefully in this setting but you are right, there was a complex issues and not perspective sale sitting on the desk as it were when the administration came into office and was one of the first issues on which the administration had to grapple and frankly clearly the 5g issue was just one of a list of things that needed greater clarity and better agreement, clear agreement, detailed agreement on rules of the road for prospective sales given the cutting edge state-of-the-art technology risk
by number of things in the mask mixed in the terms of uae defense relationship with china so as i recall, 5g preexisted and not factored in appropriately into the consideration of the deal so it was one of the issues so i would say more broadly we take deadly seriously the issue of protecting our technology, our systems, our personnel and thus the issue of hallway and other interested vendors is an issue of discussion across the region and we have been pretty successful pushing people out of
the direction purchasing that technology in a number of cases. we've not had active discussions recently on the f35 but that will still be in the mix. there are a number of things, i'd be happy to come back and do this in a more detailed fashion in a classified setting. >> i would encourage my colleagues in the committee to get that classified brief regarding difficult decisions the administration has to make about technology, conflicts in the uae. one more question, and i want to talk about technology because part of this sale to uae is in cute guys but i want to back up and talk about broke technology, it's a nightmare and technology in the wrong hands. it's a competitive landscape in which there is technology but
the chinese have technology. often the argument to us, we need to sell this technology to countries because if we don't, the chinese will and there's no strings attached with the transfer of chinese technology. at least of the united states provides technology, will have some input. it's unsatisfying answer because often it's just about technology being not responsible but less tangible if united states is involved so we i ask this in the frame of the issue but you can backup more general and the project we are talking about, are there still reasons including human rights concerns we may not want to sell certain weapons systems into the middle east even if the chinese are an alternative? >> argosy qme is a bedrock
issues what has to be any system calibrated in that context. this tension you cite you are right and it can sometimes feel unsavory. the chinese have gotten more than the foot in the door because of their virtual monopoly on drone technology and spread it across the region helter-skelter. it is condition free. should we sell it to partners? under careful scripted clear rules of the road but it is a huge problem so yes, there are certain technologies we should not provide an it's a case by case situation. >> i'll just argue that we should be careful to lower our standards when it comes to the use of this technology simply
because the chinese have no standards. >> thank you, mr. chair and welcome, i had a good conversation with john, very componentry of your capabilities and your service. i know the conversation going on as i came in about wally. i share concerns about my colleagues about that institution and like it operated by the ccp my previous job spent a great deal of time working to get them out of the japanese telecom carriers and getting the japanese government to agree to have a clean network. it's a lot of hard work but terribly important. in the middle east, the chinese communist party continues to expand digital road with these companies expanding systems that connect china with the middle east and africa and beyond. i am concerned about the cables
they are laying with chinese systems that make them vulnerable exploitations and we have i think a very big concern with one that i'm sure you are aware of, the cable that connects pakistan in east africa together with europe. it is an undersea cable. it travels overland from china to pakistan and then runs from pakistan and the chinese pakistani port, the stretch at undersea in various points in east asia, egypt and asia before terminating in france. they are all over this cable and i'm very concerned about any ability to credit and disrupted and diverted for information allies might be using and i want your thoughts on how you perceive the threat and what you see the administration's option
to address it. >> not as well first on this particular technology dilemma or threat and i will get my self audit but i will say more broadly across the region we are all over this issue of interested vendors and information and communications and technologies. we have been working across the region to inform, illuminate, educate host governments on the risks to their sovereignty, security when they have interested vendors in their national network. they have basically given a backdoor to the chinese government so we have had successes and yes, there are clearly countries that have already bought in and i remember a couple of years ago same sort of fight, argumentation with the uk. the belief they had that they could firewall things to think
people have begun to understand this risk. it's an ongoing effort for us diplomatically. i will look into this issue of the piece cable and how we construct our approach on that but we have been very focused on it as concerns to the national telecom. >> one thing i would urge you to look into is the previous of ministrations work on the s&w six cable stretching from singapore, there's a tremendous amount of work that went into dealing with this exact concern on that undersea cable. i would highlight the ccp has articulated goals of controlling 60% of the fiber-optic cable by 2025. that's three years from now and they will control it with their own technology technologies we know we should be concerned about so i would appreciate your digging into this and have conversations about that and look at the example as a way the
administration might choose to deal with this. >> i will do so. >> let me turn next to the strategic operation agreement between iran and china signed in march of 2021. iran is increasingly turning isaac toward china in search of diplomatic economic and technological support in this agreement reportedly includes economic military and cybersecurity cooperations. according to new york times, the agreement calls for joint training and exercises for weapons development and intelligent sharing. all of this bites about what terrorism, drug and human trafficking or cross-border crimes. the cooperation between these two authoritarian regimes potentially could you china foothills. do you agree this long-term agreement to china poses a threat for the united states and our national security interest?
i like your thoughts on what we might do to counter that. >> most certainly this is a very unwelcome turn of events. it's not surprising entirely, the regime is itself isolated not just because of our sanctions, it's isolated because of its own actions and predatory destructive behavior within it area as well as a larger region. so it has numbers of the regime have long sort of floated with the idea that simply turning east would allow them to evade these problems so that's the logic of the engagement. for china of course, china takes an approach, it has such strategic partnership and obviously to the degree to which iran feels it has this anchor in a great power doesn't bode well.
it's an issue of concern and what we have to do is the hard to promote work, defense work and security cooperation with all of those neighbors but not just girls countries. this is the logic of the president's visit going to israel, meeting with gcc plus iraq, norton and egypt, demonstrating again u.s. leadership and affirmative collaborative leadership with these countries on a range of issues. it does illuminate starkly the way china goes about it business in the region and not to the region that's good. >> thank you. >> senator young. actually, senator -- >> thank you. i will be the and my question is
really off topic but i would be remiss if i didn't take this opportunity since you are before us to ask you about what's happening and iraq and the unrest there and what we are doing to help stabilize that situation. >> iraq is consuming issue of concern for us. we in the department of state of the national security council to promote defense are in constant engagement with iraqi leaders. i was on the phone yesterday with our ambassador in baghdad and in one sense, and sort of the invitation of various leaders for us to get in to the fray and sort things out and for us to put the thumb on the scale
in this standoff over government formation and that's not something we're going to do and at the same time we are leveraging relationships provide a good counsel and above all counseling these locks, part of the whole puzzle and you have a standoff in the framework, the coordinating framework. what we want to see above all is the resort to violence and there was a tricky 48 hour. there. we were messaging aggressively. i will go out there probably in september to do some more work but it's a set of issues of interest to us and we want to do the engagements that puts the responsibilities squarely on iraqi shoulders to manage and make decisions.
>> i certainly agree with that. this is obviously a country where america has a lot of treasure and a lot of people in this country who care deeply about what happens in iraq and i'm glad to hear we are engaged. this of ministrations populated with people who served in iraq. i did and retained a strong visceral connection to the country but also in national security, a keystone case country for the region. >> thank you, mr. chairman the next senator young. >> assistant secretary, i want to ask a few questions about china in the gulf region. last year there were reports publicized that chinese -- china was constructing military infrastructure in a port site in the uae, what is the status of that project for starters?
>> this is an issue i would love to come back to and across a private setting. what i will say is beijing has made clear it has a global, a plan for a global set of military installations. obviously this was the first such installation. we are keeping a close eye on this not only in the uae but elsewhere in this is the kind of issue where we are clear with our partners economic relationships are one thing, buying defense articles is another but they will quickly run up against bilateral defense relationship itself in a certain direction. >> well, good. it seems like a direct message and the one that needs to be sent. has the administration received assurances from uae authorities ordering china to permanently
hold the port -based construction? >> all i can say in this setting is we are making headway on our discussion. i will be happy to come back and inform you on the. >> sure. what about civilian chinese infrastructure projects in the uae and broader gulf region? you have concerns that those could be covered for chinese military and security services presence across the region? if you could speak to that. >> i do. in the sense as i said earlier, whether it is part or in whole purchase investment etc., it offers and inroad chinese law,
offer potentially used by chinese intelligence and military. >> are there particular projects you could show that are especially concerning or that you are eyeballing? >> not for the moment. >> the "wall street journal" recently reported china sought to establish military presence along the african coast getting for example, the effort was only rebuffed at the urging of u.s. officials. given the atlantic coast and its roles as geographic economic gateway to european and african markets, anticipate attempt from beijing to do the same in morocco? >> we are watching all locations very closely and engaging with government.
as far as equatorial guinea, we made clear to the government certain potential steps would raise national security concerns and that's the dialogue we are ready to jump into with any of these countries. >> okay. i got about 80 seconds left but every plea the naval academy, one of the first things you learn or the chokepoints around the world, the suez canal for generations has been vital to our national security and economic security and so many others. events there in 2021 illustrate it can be an achilles' heel, right? the event of a serious disruption like we've recently seen in the canal, what are the failsafes to mitigate risk to the global supply chain?
>> i'm going to have to take that one back because if you are talking about blockage of the suez canal, obviously the department of defense has many tools at its disposal. the department and others were involved in unblocking the canal. >> i bring it up in this context because it's important to china's trade routes in europe and africa so it's kind of a nexus but that's fine. thank you. >> senator hagerty. >> final questions while we have you before the committee, non- china related questions for the record, can you give us an update on the status of proximity talks with iran relative to the gc poa? and we talked about it in the context of china's role but if you could get an update on where
the discussions stand more broadly? >> yes. as you may have seen special envoy malley is -- he's gone at the invitation of high reps who have put the package out, largely as a package we last saw in march so rob is going to go forward to see where the iranians come out on this. we are where we have been for some months not interested in discussing extraneous issues with which iranians can trying to introduce into the discussion so a better sense over the next day or so and i'm sure rob would be happy to come out and give you a briefing. >> it came out yesterday opec plus approved an increase in oil
production. they announced earlier they would increase production by 650,000 that barrels a day. yesterday they announced the increase september would be only 100 barrels and economists suggest that would move the needle on global prices. what you make of that announcement? >> i know this is an ongoing discussion between members of the administration and members of opec. the discussions will continue. i know some states they are up against running out of headroom for the discussion. >> thank you for your time today or keep the record open for
noon eastern considered a measure that would repeal changing the federal environmental permitting process. a vote on that resolution set for about 1:45 p.m. eastern today along with a vote but the judge to the u.s. court of appeals of the ninth circuit. by the end of the week, possibly into the beacon chamber is considering a policy health care and climate change package, about to start an act that could happen as early as today. live coverage of the senate here on c-span2. >> the vice president for coverage access to talk about healthcare in the unitedd states on a variety of fronts. thank you for joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> the commonwealth fund, what is it as far as the things when it comes to healthcare, what do you take? >> we are not prophet, we support independent resource and welfare issue