EXCLUSIVE: The Biden administration must keep up with China on the development of ‘strategic technologies’ and needs to do much more to keep its competitive edge against America’s top security threat, Sen. Todd Young told Fox News Digital.
‘It’s essential that we outcompete China, because, frankly, they don’t share our values,’ Young said at the Aspen Security Forum in Washington, D.C. ‘They continue to steal our intellectual property, our material prosperity. But they really threaten through their military action, our way of life and that of our friends and neighbors.’
‘So as long as they continue their misbehavior, we need to work with partners and allies to develop next-generation technologies, something I’ve been leading on. And make sure that we never have to fight a fair fight if we ever fight them. That’s my primary point of focus right now.’
With respect to the security threat posed by TikTok, Young said he doesn’t think it’s ‘too much to ask’ to ‘protect the privacy and sensitivities of our young people in particular.’
The senator, who serves on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said President Biden’s administration deserves an ‘incomplete’ rating on how it is performing on the foreign stage.
‘Well, the grade is an incomplete,’ said Young. ‘They still have a lot of work to do, and I’ll look forward to working with the administration and wherever I can.’
‘I think the top threat right now is the United States gets complacent. We, of course, are an incredibly innovative country. We’ve got a historically high rate of economic growth, but we can’t take that for granted. We need to invest in our people, so they have the requisite skills to continue to out-innovate the Chinese Communist Party. And we need to invest in these strategic technologies that ensure our marines and airmen and sailors and soldiers never have to fight for anything,’ Young said.
He said that U.S. allies, including Taiwan and the United Kingdom, should be ‘top of the list’ for negotiating a free trade agreement.
‘This administration believes that trade is a four-letter word, it seems, and we’ve been apprehensive about requesting authority to negotiate a free trade agreement,’ Young said. ‘We Republicans need to be making an argument that, of course, we’re going to bring everyone along in this modern economy, but we can’t put the drawbridge up.’
Young also addressed a U.S.-Russia prison swap that was made public Tuesday.
President Biden announced Thursday that WNBA star Brittney Griner had been released from Russian custody roughly 10 months after being arrested for bringing vape cartridges containing hashish oil through a Moscow airport. She was turned over in exchange for the release of convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was once nicknamed ‘the Merchant of Death.’
The senator said that although he’s ‘happy’ for Griner and her family, the exchange is disappointing and puts the United States in a vulnerable position when it comes to Russia.
‘I’m really happy for Brittney Griner, her family and loved ones. But this is a big disappointment to exchange for a deadly prisoner, an arms dealer,’ the senator told Fox News Digital.
‘I do understand from the record of this arms dealer that this is going to put us in a more vulnerable position. And we really need to find out what happened here,’ said Young.