China is United States’ ‘primary strategic adversary,’ Marco Rubio says

Rubio suggested changes to how the American military is positioned in the Indo-Pacific area.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has taken a hard line on China in the past and Sunday morning told the nation on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the lines have never been clearer in dealing with the Pacific power following the spy balloon brouhaha.

“The broader relationship between the U.S. and China to anyone who has any doubts about it is clear,” Rubio said. “China has been for some time, and will be, the primary strategic adversary of the United States. 

“We should be focused on it because what they’re trying to do is create a world in which they are the most powerful nation and the United States is a great power in decline. That is what they believe to be the case. That is what they are working on. And we have to determine whether we’re going to allow the world to head in that direction or not.” 

As to how the United States should react, Rubio suggested changes to how the American military is positioned in the Indo-Pacific area, and what companies the federal government allows to operate in the country.

Rubio, who serves as Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the Chinese are “in our infrastructure and our telecommunications infrastructure, because they’re buying land, because they’re buying farmland, because they’re wiping out key industrial capabilities of this country.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, announced over the weekend that federal officials will give members of Congress a briefing on what happened in the coming week. 

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that “China will resolutely uphold the relevant company’s legitimate rights and interests, and at the same time reserving the right to take further actions in response.”

Rubio said the move by the Chinese is highly unusual.

What we’ve never seen, what is unprecedented, is a balloon flight that entered over Idaho and flew over Montana over all of these sensitive military installations, Air Force bases, ICBM fields, right across the middle of the country,” Rubio said. “That has never happened before. That is unprecedented. We’ve never seen this, so this is no comparison to anything that may have happened up to this point.”

Wes Wolfe

Wes Wolfe is a reporter who's worked for newspapers across the South, winning press association awards for his work in Georgia and the Carolinas. He lives in Jacksonville and previously covered state politics, environmental issues and courts for the News-Leader in Fernandina Beach. You can reach Wes at [email protected] and @WesWolfeFP. Facebook:


  • Andrew T. Linko

    February 5, 2023 at 11:02 pm

    Senator Rubio, why after your election is a Chinese balloon a threat, but during your election, three Communist Chinese ballon’s flew over this Country, but our ‘Heel Spur’ Patriot ignored them? Is it because the majority of your campaign contributions are from companies with major investments in that Communist nation who for 20 years supply this nation with the majority of our consumer goods? Thank you for waking up?

  • rasc

    February 6, 2023 at 7:42 am

    I’m not sure what the big deal is about the balloon and I don’t find it comforting that Little Marco feels compelled to beat the war drums about it. There is no logic in branding China an enemy. A war between our Nation and China would be worse than Little Marco getting reelected.

  • Andrew Linko

    February 6, 2023 at 7:53 am

    Where was Rubio when we gave Communist China in 1999 when Congress granted PERMANENT normal trade relations to them? Why didn’t these worrisome chickenhawks ‘cry the sky is falling’ for twenty years as the USA trade deficit was negative to COMMUNIST China? Start war with China and TODAY see inflation so high, our Country will be in a recession. Senator Rubio, look in your house and tell me the percentage of goods and products Made in USA, then bang the ‘War Drum’!

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