Jim Webb: President Obama Must ‘Deal Strongly with China’

Democratic presidential candidate urges Obama to press Beijing on cyber attacks, militarization of South China Sea

Jim Webb
Jim Webb / AP

Jim Webb, a Democratic presidential candidate and former secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan, urged President Obama on Tuesday to issue stern warnings to the visiting Chinese President on Beijing’s militarization of the South China Sea and cyber attacks against U.S. businesses and federal agencies.

Webb said in a Facebook post that Xi Jinping’s state visit comes "just days after his government doubled down on South China Sea sovereignty, actually warning the United States against freely navigating those international waters." China has embarked on an aggressive campaign in recent months to build nearly 3,000 acres of manmade islands in the South China Sea and outfit them with military-style facilities, including runways, surveillance towers, and artillery pieces.

U.S. officials have raised concerns that China’s artificial islands could spark a conflict in the region, which hosts an important global trading route and is subject to competing territorial claims from several U.S. allies.

Webb also mentioned Chinese cyber espionage against U.S. companies and federal workers:

China's dangerous military expansion in the South China Sea and its ongoing cyber-war against millions of American people here at home must be addressed now.

The United States President has an obligation to speak directly to the threats of the behavior of China's unelected, autocratic government. It is paramount that President Obama deal strongly with China. This visit is an opportunity that must be seized to do that face-to-face.