Watch CBS News

Who should we fear more, China or Russia? Illinois Congressman says China a bigger threat

Iran could attack American or Israeli targets this week
Iran could attack American or Israeli targets this week 06:40

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chinese officials continue to build their navy, which is already the largest in the world, and has threatened to use its fleet to invade Taiwan, an important American ally, amid escalating tension between the U.S. and China over Taiwan.

This comes even as Russia's war against Ukraine rages on, leaving the question of which country is a bigger concern for the U.S., both in the short term and long-term.

U.S. Rep. Darrin LaHood (R-Illinois), who sits on the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told CBS News Chicago that China "definitely" concerns him more.

"Make no mistake about it. China has a plan to replace the United States. They want to replace us technologically, militarily, economically, and diplomatically, and they're working on it every single day," he said.

LaHood said China's actions might not be as overt as Russia, which has invaded Ukraine, and whose president has been linked by U.S. intelligence to the killings of political rivals. However, he said they're a threat to the U.S. "in many different ways."

"They're doing it related to their espionage, related to their stealing of intellectual property. They're doing it on things like producing the precursors of fentanyl that go to Mexico and then come to the United States. So these are all things that we have been focused on and need to continue to be focused on," he said.

The congressman said the ruling Chinese Communist Party can't be trusted.

"China plays by a different set of rules and standards than every other industrialized country in the world. They cheat, they lie, they've been deceitful in many different ways. That's not just the U.S. saying that. That's our allies in the region and in Europe saying that," he said.

LaHood said the problem is the U.S. has a strong economic relationship with China, because the two nations are the world's two largest economies.

"We are intertwined at every level. So, different than winning the Cold War, where we didn't have an economic relationship, we do with China, and that's the dilemma that we are in in many ways, is how do you find that balance holding them accountable?" he said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.