US Senator releases plan to hold China accountable for COVID-19
As calls to probe the origin of the novel coronavirus have only grown stronger, a United States Senator has unveiled a plan to hold China accountable for the pandemic. China has repeatedly been accused of "covering up" the outbreak in the initial stages. Now, US Senator Thom Tillis has released an 18-point plan to uncover China's "lies" and India has a part to play.
Senator Tillis tweeted Friday, "We must hold the Chinese government accountable for its lies, deception, and cover-ups that ultimately led to the global COVID-19 pandemic." The plan—that Tillis said would "protect America's economy, public health, and national security"—includes steps to protect the US economy, impose sanctions on China, launch a probe against the nation, ensure international accountability, and increase military presence in Asia.
The plan said China is looking to replace the US as the top superpower by building regional influence with the help of its neighbors. Tillis proposed expanding military sales to India and Vietnam; expanding existing treaty alliances with South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia; deepening ties with South Korea and Japan; selling arms to Taiwan; and conducting military training exercises in the region.
The plan stated, "The United States must demonstrate we are serious about our commitment to Indo-Pacific regional security. By expanding military sales to India and Vietnam, we foster a stronger relationship with those countries and help build a counter-balance to rising Chinese power." The plan also stated that the US should "look for new partnerships with emerging powers like India and Vietnam."
Tillis proposed focusing on reducing US supply chain dependency on China by shifting manufacturing back to American soil. He sought to stop China from "stealing US technology" and prevent Chinese hacks by strengthening cybersecurity. He said the US should also prevent American taxpayer money from being used to pay-off China's debts. Tillis proposed a ban on Huawei in the US and across US allies.
The plan also included seeking restitution from the Chinese government and imposing sanctions for "lying about the virus" and China's "atrocious human rights record." It urged the US to request the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to withdraw the 2022 Winter Olympics from Beijing. It also sought to "stop China's propaganda campaign in the US" and "treat Chinese government-run media outlets as propaganda proxies."
The plan also called to probe the Chinese government's alleged cover-up of the spread of COVID-19. It also urged the US to investigate America's reliance on China's supply chains and threats to public safety and national security. Further, it sought to ensure the independence of the World Health Organization "through investigations and reform," and expose and counter China's predatory debt-trap diplomacy targeting developing countries.
Tillis suggested creating a Pacific Deterrence Initiative and immediately approving the military's request for $20 billion in funding "to deter China" along with increasing intelligence sharing on potential pandemics and leading the creation of a watchdog organization to "monitor foreign governments' handling of risky viruses."