US should hike foreign investment to curb China influence, says Congress report
A report from a US congressional commission recommends that Washington fund infrastructure in developing nations in order to counter Chinese financing deals.
The US-China economic and security review commission (USCC), which has compiled a report on the national security implications of trade relations almost every year since 2002, said that the influx of Chinese money and influence could also result in the export of its “model of authoritarian governance”.
Launched in 2013, China’s Belt and Road initiative involves the funding of projects such as roadbuilding and digital infrastructure construction in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe, and the report argues that the US should attempt to curtail this expansion of influence.
The commission also warned that Beijing was using the initiative to justify a military presence in some of the countries involved and stated that China’s push into next-generation 5G wireless technology posed a threat to US security and business interests.
The latter warning comes amid fears that the rising number of devices containing Chinese-made parts that are connected to the internet could open the door for large-scale cyber-attacks.
“US telecommunications providers’ reliance on imports from China raises serious supply chain concerns about the secure deployment of U.S. critical next generation telecommunications infrastructure,” said a USCC panel.
The report also recommended probes to identify intellectual property theft and vulnerabilities that could be exposed by economic and technological co-operation with China.
The report said that any assessment of technical co-operation should consider the level of protection afforded to US intellectual property rights, identify if “Chinese state-owned enterprises or the military are benefiting from US taxpayer-funded research”, and investigate if researchers participating in the collaboration have ties to the Chinese government or military.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she had not seen the report but added that Beijing hoped the US did increase investment in developing nations and that “their intentions are pure and the results are good”.