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Wicker: China threatens Mississippi pocketbooks

Xi Jinping Hopes to Topple American Leadership

For many Mississippians, ports, like the ones in Pascagoula and Gulfport, feel like home. But they are more than that. They link our cities and towns with every corner of the world and connect us to global shipping lanes. For nearly a century, American access to the high seas has guaranteed the safe flow of commerce, bringing affordable goods and services to our stat

China would like to change that. Under the thumb of dictator Xi Jinping, the communist country has taken steps toward seizing control of the Pacific and even taking over Taiwan. Both actions would plunge the world into an economic depression.

The American response to this threat has been too slow. Many officials think we can manage our relationship with China. They continue to see the United States in its post-Cold War ascendancy, but the world has changed. Today, China is poised to challenge American power as it works to dominate the world. We must course correct before it is too late.

China’s Aggression Would Put Mississippi’s Economy in Jeopardy

China’s first step is to control its backyard. A Chinese official told his Asian counterparts, “China is a big country and you are small countries, and that is a fact.” Representatives from Beijing use all available tools to bend China’s neighbors to its will. They hope to pressure the nations of the Pacific away from American leadership, which has led to so much global prosperity.

At the same time, the Chinese Communist Party has poured vast resources into its military. The world has not seen a faster force buildup in modern history. Just one of China’s shipyards contains more capacity than the entire U.S. shipbuilding enterprise.

The message is clear. If the intimidation campaign fails, China will use the barrel of a gun to coerce its neighbors.

The first target would be Taiwan. A Chinese invasion of the island nation would shock Mississippi’s economy and workforce. Taiwan produces 90 percent of the world’s semiconductor chips, which we use in every cell phone, car, and smart device. Costs would skyrocket. Mississippi exports $10 billion worth of goods every year, and 50,000 of our jobs rely on global trade. The future of our state’s economy would be subject to Xi Jinping’s whims – a future none of us wants.

American Strength Deters War

Admiral Samuel Paparo has been nominated to lead our forces in the Indo-Pacific region. United States military presence in the Pacific is what keeps the region stable, making his nomination a consequential decision. The good news is that Admiral Paparo is a great leader, having served in a number of key positions, including Commander of the United States Pacific Fleet. I am confident he will perform this role with excellence.

When speaking with Admiral Paparo, I encouraged him to keep Congress aware of any needs that arise as he pursues his mission. In my role as the senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, I have the opportunity to shape the policy Congress sets for the American military. I am focused on delivering our troops the tools they need to keep China at bay. The U.S. Navy and Marines will be critical in any Pacific scenario, which is why I support ship and submarine efforts in Mississippi and nationwide.

We do not want war. But Xi Jinping is almost certain to move against our interests if he thinks we cannot or will not resist China.

This is the weekly Wicker Report of U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and is provided by the Senator’s office.

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