Senator Rand Paul, MD
Candidate for U.S. President, 2016-2020

July 28, 2014

Dear Mr. Vu,

Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding China. I appreciate hearing your thoughts and concerns on this issue.

In recent years, China has begun to capitalize on its remarkable economic growth over the past 30 years by acting assertively to secure its interests in Asia and beyond. By building up its military, moving to strengthen its supply chain of natural resources, and supporting other non-democratic regimes in the region, China is taking on a more active, hegemonic role in global affairs. When combined with longstanding allegations of human rights violations, censorship, currency manipulation, counterfeiting, and political repression, the rapid rise of China is a cause for concern on many fronts.

The United States should take great care to respond to this challenge appropriately. I do not believe that we need to approach China as an enemy, but as a rival. The American and Chinese economies are among the world's largest, and have become increasingly co-dependent. Meanwhile, the Chinese government is struggling to cope with significant internal problems that continue to threaten its legitimacy, namely inflation, political unrest, the effects of their deplorable "one-child" policy, and the long record of failure of authoritarianism.

The degree to which we are beholden to the Chinese government as a creditor will greatly influence our ability to advance and protect our own interests in Asia and throughout the world. The path to strengthening our economic and strategic standing relative to China is clear: (1) end our reliance on borrowed Chinese money by balancing the federal budget, eliminating the national debt, reforming entitlements, simplifying the tax code, increasing domestic energy production, and overhauling the regulatory regime, (2) ensuring future generations can remain competitive by reforming education, and lastly, (3) maintaining a strong national defense.

Again, thank you for contacting me and voicing your thoughts and concerns. Please continue to inform me of any issues you may have, and if I can be of assistance to you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Rand Paul, MD
United States Senator

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Dianne Feinstein, CA-D
U.S. Senator

Dear Hoa:

Thank you for writing to me regarding territorial disputes between Vietnam and China in the South China Sea.  I appreciate the time you took to write, and I welcome the opportunity to respond.
 
Overlapping territorial claims by China and countries surrounding the South and East China Seas have caused tensions within the region.  Though Vietnam and China have been able to work together to delineate maritime boundaries in the Gulf of Tonkin, which lies between northern Vietnam and the southernmost parts of China, their respective and conflicting claims to the Paracel and Spratly islands have not been resolved.
 
On May 1, 2014, the state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation stationed an oil rig in disputed waters approximately 120 nautical miles off the coast of Vietnam, just south of the Paracel Islands.  Reports indicate that the rig is accompanied by approximately 80 ships, including private fishing, Chinese Coast Guard and Chinese military vessels.  Vietnam contends the rig is located within its exclusive economic zone and therefore opposes the rig's placement and has repeatedly demanded its removal.
 
You may be aware that on July 17th, China removed its oil rig from contested waters, a month earlier than expected.

Senior U.S. officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, have publicly expressed the United States' opposition to any attempt by any nation to assert authority over disputed areas in the South and East China Seas through force or intimidation. The United States has repeatedly called for the use of existing arbitration mechanisms to resolve territorial disputes. In order to preserve peace and stability in the region, I believe it is imperative that all nations in the Asia-Pacific region clarify their territorial claims and submit any dispute to arbitration in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas.
 
You may be pleased to know that on July 10, 2013, the Senate approved by unanimous consent S. Res. 412, of which I am a co-sponsor, which reaffirmed the strong support of the United States Government for freedom of navigation and other internationally lawful uses of sea and airspace in the Asia-Pacific region. Specific to Vietnam, the Resolution stated that China's territorial claims and recent actions "have not been clarified under international law, constitute a unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force, and appear to be in violation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea."

You may be aware that on July 17th, China removed its oil rig from contested waters, a month earlier than expected.

  Please know that I have carefully noted your views on this issue, and I will be sure to keep them in mind as I continue to monitor territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas.
 
Again, thank you for your letter.  I hope you continue to keep me informed on matters of importance to you.  Should you have any further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841.
 
Best regards.

Sincerely yours,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

   


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