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September 30, 2022

King, Cornyn, Kaine Introduce Legislation to Create a China Grand Strategy Commission to Navigate Growing Competition

China Grand Strategy Commission would develop a whole-of-government approach for addressing challenges posed by China

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) are introducing bipartisan legislation to establish a China Grand Strategy Commission tasked with developing a comprehensive whole-of-government approach for how the United States should address the economic, security, and diplomatic challenges posed by China. The proposed 2-year commission is modeled after the recent, successful Cyberspace Solarium Commission and President Eisenhower’s Solarium Commission that addressed the significant shift in global affairs at the end of World War II. The idea has already been praised by top military leaders.

The bill is also cosponsored by Senators Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Jackie Rosen (D-Nevada), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Tom Young (R-Indiana), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Ben Sasse (R-Nebr.), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). The bipartisan group intends to add the bill as an amendment to the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.

“The world is undergoing a period of significant change: economies are shifting, alliances are changing, and national security threats are rapidly evolving. At almost every turn, the United States is facing new challenges from an increasingly aggressive China. If we want to maintain our global status we must be able to answer the question I’ve been asking witnesses in the Armed Services Committee for years: ‘What Does China Want?” said Senator King, Co-Chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission. “Much like the successful Cyberspace Solarium Commission, it would harness the smartest public and private sector minds to study, and evaluate on how our nations interact – striking the balance between avoiding conflict and fully pursuing our national interest. Most vitally, this commission isn’t putting a report on a shelf to collect dust; it will make actionable recommendations to develop a grand strategy across the entire government; this commission is to not admire the problem but make recommendations to address the needs of our national interests. There is too much at stake to face this threat shortsightedly – we simply cannot afford an ad hoc China policy that lacks a long-term strategy without accounting for all the instruments of power.”

“The Chinese Communist Party is increasingly aggressive and well resourced, and its ambitions paint an alarming picture for our economic and national security,” said Senator Cornyn. “Confronting threats from China is the greatest security imperative of our generation and a strategic, whole-of-government approach is the only way forward. The China Grand Strategy Commission will provide invaluable recommendations to guide our long-term approach toward China.”

“Over the years, the U.S-China relationship has evolved in ways few could have predicted. America has called out the PRC for its ongoing human rights violations in Xinjiang, invested in our economic competitiveness through the CHIPS and Science Act, and rallied our partners around the world in defense of democracy, including Taiwan’s. To remain the world’s preeminent power, the United States must take a more deliberate approach to its relations with the PRC,” said Senator Kaine.  “A China Grand Strategy Commission would help accomplish that by creating a long-term, comprehensive strategy to manage this consequential relationship.” 

The China Grand Strategy Commission would develop recommendations over the next two years for a comprehensive grand strategy and whole-of-government approach with respect to the United States’ relationship with the People’s Republic of China for purposes of:

  • Ensuring a holistic approach toward the People’s Republic of China across all federal departments and agencies;
  • Defining specific steps necessary to build a stable international order that accounts for the People’s Republic of China participation in that order;
  • Providing actionable recommendations with respect to the United States’ relationship with the People’s Republic of China, which are aimed at protecting and strengthening United States national security interests.

The Commission would include 18 members total including two Co-Chairs chosen by Congress and the President, six members of the Executive Branch, two Senators, two House Members, and eight members of the private sector. The commission compliments existing efforts by the Congress to conduct oversight and leverage the work of current china commissions. The commission is based on action – its structure closely models that of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, which put forward put forward more than 80 concrete recommendations for how to improve America’s national security in cyberspace – more than 85 percent of which are fully or partially implemented or on track for implementation.

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