US congressional committee sees rivalry with China as 'existential struggle'

A new US congressional committee on competition with China has described the rivalry between the countries as an "existential struggle over what life will look like in the 21st century."

Republicans who retook control of the House of Representatives in November's midterm elections voted in January to set up the bipartisan select committee.

At the committee's first hearing on Tuesday, Republican chair Mike Gallagher noted that the US had been wrong in trying for nearly half a century to beat China, based on wishful thinking that it could bring reforms to China through economic engagement.

Gallagher made clear the committee will tackle threats posed by China in its military and trade policies.

He said, "Our policy over the next ten years will set the stage for the next hundred," adding, "The select committee will not allow the Chinese Communist Party to lull us into complacency or maneuver us into submission."

A Democratic member appealed to the committee to ensure its efforts do not fuel prejudice against Asians.

Although Congress is deeply divided along party lines, members are in agreement on the need to counter China.

The select committee will promote anti-China measures over the next two years, mindful of the risk of an emergency involving Taiwan. Its activities could impact President Joe Biden's policies on China.