China angered by new US defense act, says to assess content

  • Beijing condemns measures targeting it in a new U.S. defense act, saying it would comprehensively assess aspects that beef up the role of a key panel tasked with reviewing foreign investment proposals.
  • China's Foreign Ministry said Washington passed the act despite Beijing's strong objections and it was dissatisfied with the "negative content related to China."
U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House on Aug. 13, 2018 after signing a defense legislation named for Senator John McCain.
Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House on Aug. 13, 2018 after signing a defense legislation named for Senator John McCain.

China on Tuesday condemned measures targeting it in a new U.S. defense act, saying it would comprehensively assess aspects that beef up the role of a key panel tasked with reviewing foreign investment proposals.

China's complaints about the act come as the world's two biggest economies engage in an increasingly bitter fight over trade, levying tariffs on each others' products.

U.S. President Donald Trump signed a $716-billion defense policy act on Monday that authorizes military spending and waters down controls on U.S. government contracts with China's ZTE Corp and Huawei Technologies.

The National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, strengthens the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews proposals to determine if they threaten national security. That measure was seen as targeting China.

China's Commerce Ministry said it had noted the inclusion of CFIUS in the act and would "comprehensively assess the contents," paying close attention to the impact on Chinese firms.

"The U.S. side should objectively and fairly treat Chinese investors, and avoid CFIUS becoming an obstacle to investment cooperation between Chinese and U.S. firms," it said in a short statement.

Chinese and U.S. companies seek greater cooperation on investment, it added, urging the two countries' governments to heed the voices of their companies, and provide a good environment and stable expectations.

Monday's legislation also calls "long-term strategic competition with China" a top priority for the United States, which should improve the defense capabilities of self-ruled Taiwan, claimed by China as a wayward province.

In a separate statement, the Foreign Ministry said the United States passed the act despite China's strong objections and it was dissatisfied with the "negative content related to China."

China urges the United States to abandon Cold War thinking and correctly and objectively view relations, and not implement the act's negative clauses about China, so as to avoid harming cooperation, the ministry added.