While former President Donald Trump repeatedly described China’s communist government as a clear threat to the homeland, his successor seems to have taken a decidedly different approach.
That perception was bolstered this week when White House press secretary Jen Psaki appeared to diminish concerns regarding China’s reported test of an advanced nuclear missile system.
“I’m not going to comment”
According to the Daily Wire, the Chinese military is believed to have staged a successful test of its new hypersonic missile, which was launched into space with the aid of a rocket before circling the globe in low-earth orbit before re-entering the atmosphere to approach its target.
Although the missile narrowly missed its intended target, the test was widely seen as a troubling sign of China’s advancing weapons capabilities. Insiders say the development caught U.S. intelligence and military officials off guard.
Nevertheless, Psaki downplayed the news when a reporter asked her for comment during Monday’s press briefing.
“Well, I know General — Secretary [of Defense Lloyd] Austin, I should say, was asked this question this morning and addressed it, but I’m not going to comment on the specific report,” she said.
For his part, Austin also declined to “comment on those specific reports,” but added: “What I can tell you is that we watch closely China’s development of armaments and advanced capabilities, and systems that will only increase tensions in the region. You heard me say before that China is a challenge and we’re going to remain focused on that.”
“We welcome stiff competition”
Speaking only in generalities, Psaki said that the Biden administration has “made clear our concerns about the military capabilities that the [People’s Republic of China] continues to pursue.”
Apparently describing China as a rival instead of an enemy, she continued: “We welcome stiff competition, but we do not want that competition to veer into conflict. And that is certainly what we convey privately as well.”
Pundits and political commentators were quick to react to Psaki’s remarks, as reported by the Daily Wire.
Donald Trump Jr. echoed a common response in his statement on the matter.
“Maybe I’m old-fashioned but I prefer to beat communists, not just have a ‘stiff competition’ with them and then politely ask that they not beat us up when they catch up to our capabilities,” the former president’s eldest son declared.