Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on Sunday claimed China is an ally of the United States, despite its rampant technology theft and other dishonest economic practices.
Schultz, who is mulling an independent bid for president, appeared on CBS's "60 Minutes" to discuss a potential challenge to President Donald Trump. During the interview, he scolded the Trump administration for the way it's handling their relationship with other countries, including China.
"Is it in our national interest to have a fight with Mexico, Canada, the EU, China, NATO? Is it in our interest? Give me a break. No, it's not in our interest," Schultz said. "These are our friends. These are our allies. We're much better as a country being part of the world order."
Trump has been a vocal critic of China since the 2016 campaign and his administration took action back in November after China waged an economic espionage attack on the United States. "Chinese economic espionage against the United States has been increasing—and it has been increasing rapidly," then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. "We are here today to say: enough is enough. We’re not going to take it anymore. It is unacceptable."
The Justice Department announced the indictment of two Chinese intelligence officers and five hackers for conducting cyber attacks on American aerospace companies. This indictment followed the unprecedented arrest earlier in 2018 of a Chinese Ministry of State Security officer for economic cyber spying.
Sen. Jim Risch (R., Idaho), who took over the powerful foreign policy committee earlier this month, told the Washington Free Beacon that he would be focusing on China's technology theft and other unfair economic practices as part of his agenda:
Asked if the Foreign Relations Committee would consider sanctions legislation against China for its cyber and economic espionage, Risch said "I don't think that script is done being written yet."
"That's a work in progress and is going to continue to mature," he said.
Risch said current tariffs—more than $250 billion were imposed on Chinese goods last year—are similar to sanctions. "The president has already used that and it's having an effect," he said.
On China's failure to live up to past agreements to end cyber economic espionage and also a promise from Chinese President Xi Jinping not to militarize the South China Sea, Risch said he agrees China cannot be trusted.