Top US security adviser accuses China of trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine research

National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien during a meeting with Sao Paulo's Industries Federation President Paulo Skaf in Sao Paulo, Oct. 19, 2020. (Reuters)

US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser accused China on Wednesday of trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine research from the West, casting it as a malign rival that was seeking to monopolize every important industry of the 21st Century.

Trump identifies China as the United States’ main competitor and has accused the Chinese Communist Party of taking advantage over trade and not telling the truth over the novel coronavirus outbreak, which he calls the “China plague.”

For all the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

In a 20-minute broadside against China, Robert O’Brien told top British and US military and intelligence officials that China was a predatory power that repressed its people and had sought to coerce both neighbors and Western powers.

“The CCP is seeking dominance in all domains and sectors... (and) plans to monopolize every industry that matters to the 21st century,” O’Brien told the Atlantic Future Forum via a video link to Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

“Most recently the PRC used cyber-enabled espionage to target companies developing Covid vaccines and treatments in Europe, the UK and the United States all the while touting the need for international cooperation,” O’Brien said.

China, under President Xi Jinping, says the West - and Washington in particular - is gripped by anti-Chinese hysteria, colonial thinking and simply anger that Chinese is now once again one of the world’s top two economies.

China’s economic and military rise over the past 40 years is considered to be one of the most significant geopolitical events of recent times, alongside the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union which ended the Cold War.

O’Brien said the West had for decades granted China concessions, including membership of the World Trade Organization, believing it would open up economically and politically, while easing its own barriers against foreign companies.

“Sadly, those are promises that to this day it has not kept,” said the 54-year-old former Los Angeles lawyer. “Instead the CCP leaders doubled down on their totalitarian approach and mercantilist, state-dominated economy.”

Visit our dedicated coronavirus site here for all the latest updates.

China in 1979 had an economy that was smaller than Italy’s, but after opening to foreign investment and introducing market reforms it has become the world’s second-largest economy.

It is now the global leader in a range of 21st Century technologies such as artificial intelligence, regenerative medicine and conductive polymers.

China’s response to the novel coronavirus outbreak had, O’Brien said, “erased any lingering doubts about its intentions.”

He said China’s flagship international project, the One Belt One Road initiative, involved offering impoverished nations “unsustainable loans” to build “white elephant” infrastructure projects using Chinese firms and laborers.

“These countries’ dependence on Chinese debt leaves their sovereignty eroded and with no choice but to hew to the party’s line on UN votes and … other issues,” said O’Brien.

Read more:

China’s Huawei is a threat and engages in ‘unacceptable acts,’ says Pentagon official

Pentagon chief stresses drive for stronger alliances to counter China, Russia

SHOW MORE
Last Update: Wednesday, 21 October 2020 KSA 22:48 - GMT 19:48
Top