Senator David Perdue: U.S. Relationship With China Is At A Tipping Point

Discusses Impact Of China’s Rising Power At CSIS Conference

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee, delivered keynote remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) fourth annual ChinaPower Conference about the implications of China’s growing power and his recent trip to Beijing for meetings with senior government officials. During his business career, Senator Perdue lived and worked in China, and he has visited the region several times as a member of the U.S. Senate.

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Two Options: “We have two options with China. One option is, we could slip into an arms race and a cold war, which the world cannot afford. The second option is the question of the day: can we coexist as two economic powers and compete and cooperate?”

Cooperative Force: “We need China and the United States to become a cooperative force in the world today. If we don’t, and if our allies don’t line up with that, it could turn into a very dark world over the next 50 years.”

Importance Of Allies: “If we think that we’re going to win the next arms race the way we won the last one by not firing a bullet and by outspending our adversary, I just don’t see that happening if it is ‘mano a mano.’ What we have to do is build up our number one asset, and that’s our allies around the world.”

Suspicious Proprietary Loans: “When China’s Belt and Road initiative becomes proprietary, I get really concerned. They have invested in over 30 ports in Africa, and 56 ports in Latin America, and I see what they’re doing in Central America, particularly in Panama and Venezuela. China is making these proprietary loans, and we see the expansion of their interests. I have a hard time believing their port in Hambantota is just for trade when they foreclose on their lead partner, allowing them to potentially turn that port into a military port. It raises questions about what they were originally doing there.”

Social Credit Scoring: “China’s social credit score really concerns me because a group of people in the communist party are trying to dictate correct actions and personal behavior, and they’re going to grade the population against that. In China, if you want to buy a car, buy an apartment, travel, or get a job, you have to have towed the line. Combine that with facial recognition and 196 million cameras in eight cities across China, and you see what the headlines are going to be in the next 30 years.”

China Trade Negotiations: “We’re trying to do five things in trade negotiations with China: We want them to stop stealing our technology outright. We want them to stop forcing the transfer of technology in joint ventures. We want them to comply with the WTO, stop the cyber war, and give us equal access.”

The World’s Hegemon: “Confucius has one saying that I think is very telling about China’s transition right now: ‘Just as there can’t be two suns in the sky, there can’t be two emperors on the earth.’ The word they use for emperor most of the time is ‘Ba,’ and the tone they use means ‘hegemon.’”


When Senator Perdue was elected, he was the only Fortune 500 CEO in Congress. He is serving his first term in the United States Senate, where he represents Georgia on the Armed Services, Banking, Budget, and Agriculture Committees.