Washington D.C.House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following statement at today’s hearing on the 2013 Report to Congress of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission:

I would like to welcome our witnesses and to thank them for being here with us this morning.  I look forward to hearing their views on the important topic of our economic and security relationship with China.

For more than a decade, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission has reviewed the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. The commission’s annual reports to Congress are valuable resources for assessing China’s dynamic rise.

While some observers have expressed alarm over China’s military modernization efforts, I do not believe that an adversarial relationship with China is inevitable.  We must carefully monitor and evaluate Chinese military developments, but it is my hope that the United States and China will be able to cultivate a mutually beneficial relationship that promotes growth and prosperity throughout the Asia-Pacific region. The United States can help China to become a more open and cooperative participant in the international community.  The United States should work with China, in close coordination with our many allies and partners in the region, to: provide and maintain collective security; peaceably address concerns and mitigate disputes; further shared interests and objectives; and perpetuate healthy multi-lateral exchange.

The United States will continue to lead in the Asia-Pacific and to offer assurances through its strong forward presence in the region, but we should also welcome China’s cooperation on matters of communal interest.  For instance, I hope that China will exert its unique influence on the North Korean regime, in concert with the efforts of other concerned states, to facilitate denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.  Transnational threats, such as violent extremism and illicit trafficking in persons, narcotics, and weapons also continue to menace the region, while disease, malnourishment, environmental degradation, resource scarcity, and natural disaster persist. China could be instrumental in helping the international community to combat these common difficulties.  The more we can do to defuse tensions through cooperative efforts, the more we can help to realize the immense potential for growth and prosperity throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

I look forward to our witnesses’ testimony and to expanding the dialogue on China.  I would especially appreciate our witnesses’ views on how the United States might enhance its relationship with China as it proceeds to rebalance its presence in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.