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US House Panels Hold Hearings on PRC Economic, Military Threats Following Balloon Incident

© AP Photo / Gemunu AmarasingheThe U.S. Capitol building is seen as the sun rises in Washington
The U.S. Capitol building is seen as the sun rises in Washington - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.02.2023
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US House Financial Services and Armed Services committees held hearings on Tuesday to discuss the economic and military threats posed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), following the transit of a Chinese balloon across the US last week.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Financial Services Committee held its first hearing on economic threats posed to the US by China.
"Whether it’s through sanctions, export financing, international financial institutions, or our capital markets - all of which fall under this Committee’s purview - we will lead this Congress’ economic agenda in response to China," Committee Chairman Patrick McHenry said in a statement.
The panel heard testimony from several expert witnesses and began to weigh an array of bills, including legislation to push for the exclusion of the PRC from international banking organizations if they are determined to have posed a threat to Taiwan or US interests and requiring the Treasury Secretary to pursue "more equitable treatment" of Taiwan at global financial institutions.
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The House Armed Services Committee also held a hearing Tuesday on China's alleged threats to US national defense.
"China is the most challenging national security threat America has faced in 30 years. If we fail to acknowledge that, and take immediate action to deter it, the next 30 years could be devastating for our nation," Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said in hearing remarks.
Rogers also issued a statement Tuesday calling news that the PRC has surpassed the US in the total number of land-based fixed and mobile intercontinental ballistic missile launchers a "wake-up call" for the country. The US needs new capabilities and higher numbers to adjust its nuclear force posture and deter both China and Russia, Rogers said.
The hearings come following the transit of a Chinese balloon across the continental US last week, which culminated in the US military shooting down the airship off the coast of the US state of North Carolina. The incident sparked condemnation of China by the United States, which claims the balloon was engaged in surveillance. However, China maintains that the airship was conducting scientific research.
House Republicans also launched a select committee on strategic competition between the United States and China for the new 118th Congress. The panel, which will be led by Republican Congressman Mike Gallagher, was established by bipartisan vote in January.
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