TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — China is the top national security threat facing the U.S., according to Ron DeSantis, who said Monday that the way to prevent war is “through strength and having a strong military.”
“We don’t want a war with China,” DeSantis told CBS News during an interview. “We want to prevent a war with China.”
PROVOKING THE RED DRAGON
DeSantis was planning to make a major campaign speech on China shortly before the debate, according to a report by Foreign Policy. The speech, reportedly drafted by Dustin Carmack, the campaign’s policy director who served in the Trump administration, is expected to partially focus on how the United States will uphold its alliance with Taiwan and outline a strategy for deterring a Chinese invasion of the island republic.
By concentrating on China early on in his campaign, DeSantis is aligning with GOP advisors who are consolidating their focus on countering the geopolitical threat Beijing brings to the U.S. He previously indicated that he would deprioritize the defense of Ukraine, a stark contrast with other 2024 Republican candidates such as Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, Mike Pence and Chris Christie who continue to support shuttling billions to support Ukraine.
When asked whether he would send U.S. forces to defend Taiwan if China should invade, DeSantis said the U.S. has a longstanding policy regarding allies and “how we project our actions and intentions regarding Taiwan,” promising “continuity” if he becomes president.
PRESSURE ON NORTH KOREA
As tensions increase in East Asia, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss an arms trade. DeSantis says the best way to handle the threat of North Korea obtaining advanced nuclear weapons is by putting Un “in a box” and keeping “the pressure” on him.
Asked whether he would authorize a preemptive strike against North Korea if the country were about to launch a missile at the U.S., DeSantis said: “Of course. But that would require a certain amount of evidentiary threshold.”
DEFENDING OUR COUNTRY
On whether he would send missiles into Mexico, DeSantis said he would use all available force.
“The tactics can be debated,” DeSantis said, adding that it “would be dependent on the situation.”
“We are going to lean in and we are going to defend our country,” DeSantis explained, recalling a visit to the Arizona border, where he said repairs were being made to the border wall where cartels had cut through.