Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks at the American Enterprise Institute on June 27, 2023 in Washington, DC. Haley’s remarks focused on the future of US-China relations and her foreign policy views.

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American companies should be ready to stop treating China as an economic competitor and come to view it as a national security threat, former ambassador to the United Nations and Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley said Monday.

“I think China is the enemy. I think we have to take them incredibly seriously. And the problem is you can look at the dollars and cents or you can look at the threat to America,” Haley said on CNBC.Squawk Box.”

“Companies and people have been saying for too long: We’ll deal with China tomorrow. But China is dealing with us today. We have to deal with it,” she added.

Haley said “every company needs to have a plan B” in case China decides to “pull the rug out from under us.” She called Beijing “the biggest threat we’ve had since Pearl Harbor.”

The former South Carolina governor also criticized the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellenwho recently said that the US relationship with China may not be “the winner Takes It All“competition.

“To even say that means you don’t understand China,” Haley said of Yellen.

Haley’s latest remarks build on the hawkish stance she took in the Wall Street Journal last month op-edin which she vowed to pressure American businesses “to exit China as completely as possible.”

She also urged businesses to forge stronger ties with US allies such as India, Japan and South Korea to become less dependent on China.

Haley pointed to a series of actions taken by China’s communist leadership in recent years that she said pose a multi-layered economic and security threat to the United States. They include the purchase of hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland in the US, purchase the largest producer of pork in the country, floating spy balloons over America, spreading propaganda on campuses, lobbying Congress through “front companies,” rapidly building a massive naval fleet, stealing American intellectual property, and developing new guns.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC, did not immediately comment on Haley’s remarks. Chinese government officials often insist that Beijing is only seeking a mutually beneficial, “win-win” relationship with the United States. But US diplomats privately joke that “win-win” here means China wins twice.

Haley also suggested that China’s role in the US fentanyl crisis raises questions about the future of bilateral trade relations.

Many of precursor chemicals that make up fentanyl originate in China before being illegally diverted to Mexico where they are processed by cartels to create the deadly synthetic opioid. Department of Justice he said Fentanyl overdose is the leading cause of death in Americans ages 18 to 49.

Firefighters assist an overdose victim on July 14, 2017 in Rockford, Illinois.

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“I think if that means we’re going to end normal trade, you’re going to go to China and say, ‘We’re going to end normal trade until you stop killing Americans,'” she said.

Haley’s China alarm comes as she seeks to differentiate herself in a Republican presidential primary that has so far been dominated by the former president. Donald Trump.

Only one of Trump’s competitors, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, has consistently garnered double-digit support in national primary race polls. The rest of the field, including Haley, struggled to gain traction with voters.

Haley aimed at DeSantis over his ongoing dispute with Disney, which stemmed from the entertainment giant’s opposition to Florida’s controversial class-action law. While he disagrees with Disney’s position, “I also don’t think governors should be spending taxpayer dollars suing companies.”

Still, it’s hard to predict how strong criticism of China will help separate Haley or any candidate from the pack in the 2024 election cycle.

That’s largely because polls consistently show that a hawkish stance on Beijing is one of the few policy positions that enjoys broad support among both Democrats and Republicans.

Like the president Joe Biden is launching a re-election campaign, his administration is taking a tough stance against China that strongly resembles that of Republicans like Haley.

FBI Director Christopher Wray testified This month, no other country poses “a more comprehensive threat to our ideas, our innovation [and] our economic security.”

When asked about the state of the Republican primary, Haley described it as a marathon, “not a sprint.”

She also said she would support Trump if he is the eventual Republican nominee. “I’m not going to have a Kamala Harris president,” she said, referring to the view among many Republican voters that Biden, who turned 80 last year, is too old to be president.

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