Sen. Tom Cotton calls China ‘America’s No. 1 rival’

By Christian Davenport and Colby Itkowitz

WASHINGTON – In a speech Tuesday night before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Tom Cotton told China, America’s new giant, to take its hand out of the American purse.

The GOP’s defense hawks cranked up the Obama administration’s efforts to chart a new path toward Asia’s economic future — a path focused not on trade but on a new strategic alignment between two of America’s longtime rivals: China and Japan. Cotton, a freshman senator from Arkansas, was at the top of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s list of witnesses to give a presentation on the administration’s new East Asia strategy.

Both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe used last year’s Chinese-led bid for hosting the 2020 Olympics as a platform to cement America’s shift toward China in the Asia-Pacific region. Sen. Cotton said Washington shouldn’t show any kudo’s for that in 2020.

“We need to take the lessons of the London Olympics away from the Beijing Olympics in Beijing 2020,” Cotton said.

Besides calling for a continued strong effort to establish a U.S. presence in the region, Cotton told his fellow senators that America’s in no rush to reach a comprehensive agreement with Japan to expand U.S. and Japanese security cooperation in the region. He said instead that the United States will continue to pursue a “comprehensive security arrangement” with Japan and should continue to weigh the economic implications of a commitment to its important ally.

According to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s hearing notice, Cotton served on the campaign of Arizona Sen. John McCain to win a Senate seat.

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