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'Beijing is the biggest security threat to this country in the 21st century': Republican senator

Kenneth Underwood
Senior Producer

On what President Trump is calling a “great day for civilization,” thanks to a temporary cease-fire by Turkey in Syria, one Republican Senator is warning of a greater threat to the United States.

“Beijing is the biggest security threat to this country in the 21st century,” Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley told Yahoo Finance’s On the Move, adding that the U.S. needs free and fair open access to the Indo-Pacific region. “What's going on in the Asian Pacific arena is the key region for our security and for our prosperity in the 21st century.”

The warning comes amid continued tensions over trade between the two countries. Despite reaching what Trump called a “fantastic” deal with China last week, recent reports suggest things could turn sour before anything is signed.

U.S. President Donald Trump holds a letter from China's President Xi Jinping during a meeting with China's Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office at the White House after two days of trade negotiations in Washington, U.S., October 11, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Despite the concerns, Hawley praised the Trump’s progress thus far, “I think that the president has been doing a great job of keeping the pressure on Beijing….my sense is that Beijing is very, very eager to lift the pressure of these sanctions and the pressure of the trade war, which they started, by the way. So this is not the time, I think, to let up pressure.”

‘Don't become part of Beijing's communist propaganda machine’

China’s trade issues with the U.S. come as the country struggles to deal with rising tensions over protests in Hong Kong, which is fighting for democracy. “What China wants to do is steamroll them and dominate their neighbors,” said Hawley.

Hawley, who recently traveled to the region, stressed what’s happening there is of global concern, “What Beijing wants to do in Hong Kong is directly tied to American security. It's one of the reasons we need to stand up.”

Basketball - NBA China Games - Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn Nets - Shenzhen, China - October 12, 2019. A fan is seen wearing LeBron James jerseys with an NBA logo covered by a Chinese national flag sticker during the game. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Additionally, Hawley took issue with the NBA and NBA star Lebron James, who has come under fire for his remarks on Hong Kong.

“Has LeBron been to Hong Kong? Does he know the facts?,” he said. “Do any of these NBA players who are out against Hong Kong, do they know the facts of what's going on? It's really striking. Here's my message to the NBA. Don't become part of Beijing's communist propaganda machine. Show some independence.”

Kenneth Underwood is a senior producer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @TheKennyU.

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