Nikki Haley’s 2014 Correspondence Reveals a Surprising Stance on China: A Friend or Foe?


Nikki Haley’s Relationship with China

In 2014, while serving as governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, a presidential hopeful from the GOP, expressed her favorable view of China. She described China as “a friend” and praised the strong relationship that existed between the Palmetto State and China.

Letter of Appreciation to the Chinese Ambassador

In a letter sent to the Chinese Ambassador, Cui Tiankai, on December 30, 2014, Haley expressed her gratitude for his congratulations on her re-election. She specifically thanked China for its contributions on the economic front.

Ambassador Tiankai had written in his letter to Haley that he was pleased to see the rapid growth in the overall ties between China and South Carolina in recent years. He also expressed his desire to continue working together with Haley.

Contradiction in Views

It is noteworthy that this correspondence from 2014 has come to light as Haley, who has experienced a surge in polling recently, has repeatedly stated on the campaign trail that China is the “No. 1 biggest national security threat.” Earlier this year, Haley, who also served as U.N. ambassador under President Trump, released a comprehensive plan to combat China.

War of Words with Ron DeSantis

Haley has been engaged in a war of words with fellow GOP presidential contender, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, over their respective relationships with China. On the campaign trail, Haley has emphasized that she would rescind federal funding for universities that accept money from China, reclaim land in the U.S. that China has already purchased, and sever “all normal trade relations with” China until it stops flooding the U.S. with fentanyl.

According to Farnaso, a representative from Haley’s campaign, Nikki Haley has been consistently addressing the Chinese threat throughout her career. In contrast, he claims that DeSantis has allowed a U.S. sanctioned Chinese company to expand in Florida and has voted in favor of expediting unfavorable trade deals made during Obama’s presidency.

China’s Increasing Threat

China’s threat to the United States has been escalating since at least 2010. In the same year that Tiankai and Haley corresponded, the Justice Department indicted five Chinese military hackers for economic espionage against American companies in industries such as nuclear power, metals, and solar products.

Furthermore, in 2014, two Chinese security breaches compromised U.S. federal worker databases containing personnel records and security-clearance files, exposing sensitive information about at least 22.1 million individuals. These breaches were considered among the most potentially damaging cyber heists in U.S. government history due to the abundance of detailed information they contained.

Continued Dispute with Ron DeSantis

The issue of China has become a contentious point between Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis in their presidential campaigns. Haley’s campaign has accused DeSantis of actively recruiting Chinese companies to establish a presence in Florida.

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