Pence outlined his vision for the party’s future during a Thursday speech at the Reagan Library in Southern California as part of “The Time For Choosing” series.
“Our future agenda for the Republican Party must include a recognition that after years of capitulation by both political parties, that China is now the greatest threat to our prosperity, security, and values,” Pence said during the Thursday evening speech.
He noted, former President Donald Trump “changed the national consensus on China.”
“Even before the pandemic, our administration adopted a groundbreaking new approach to China,” he said, citing the “broad bipartisan” consensus in the pre-Trump era which came together “around the goal of helping China reform its economic system in the belief that as they experienced greater economic commerce, they would open the door to political freedoms and liberties.”
“But we were wrong,” Pence said, warning the Chinese Communist Party “cannot be trusted”:
China’s economy certainly grew over the last 20 years. But as the world has witnessed — whether it be the oppression of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang and their genocide, whether it be their military provocations in the Asia-Pacific, their bullying of Hong Kong and Tibet, the violation of international agreements, and theft of the hard-won technology or whether it’s China’s failure to come clean about the threat and origins of the coronavirus, America knows and the world knows, the Chinese Communist Party cannot be trusted.
“For the first time, under, our administration, we met their military provocations with the largest increase in military spending since the days of Ronald Reagan,” he said, detailing the Trump-Pence administration’s approach.
“We called out their trade abuses and theft of intellectual property and used tariffs and access to the American economy to bring China to the negotiating table. We spoke out on their human rights abuses and violation of international norms,” he continued, emphasizing that the Trump-Pence administration stood as the “first to recognize the truth, that saw Communist China for what it was — not a partner engaged in good-faith competition, but a strategic competitor.”
“And going forward our party and our nation must continue to recognize that the greatest threat we face to our economy and more is the Chinese Communist Party,” Pence said.
“We must continue to stand up to China to defend our prosperity, security, and values and the Republican Party must lead the way,” he added.