White House Cautious About Calling China, Russia 'Evil Regimes'

White House Cautious About Calling China, Russia 'Evil Regimes'
National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby speaks during the press briefing at the White House in Washington on May 31, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)
Emel Akan

A reporter on Wednesday demanded an explanation from the White House as to why the Biden administration has repeatedly refrained from calling the governments of Russia and China "evil regimes."

During a press conference, Newsmax's chief White House correspondent James Rosen cited President Ronald Reagan, who had described the Soviet regime as the "locus of evil" in the world, and asked why President Joe Biden hasn’t considered labeling governments that are running concentration camps or launching unprovoked wars as "evil regimes."

"It’s not a simple question," John Kirby, National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, responded. "It’s a criticism that you’re posing as a question. You’d like to see us put a label on these two countries, and President Biden just doesn’t conduct foreign policy that way."

Kirby referred to the administration’s national security and defense strategies to explain the president’s approach to these countries.

"You’ll see that we’re speaking pretty plainly to the American people and to those countries and those leaders about how we view their behavior, their conduct on the world stage, and our relationships with them," he said. "We’ve been very, very honest about that."

'Thaw' in Relations?

Kirby reiterated that the administration wishes to maintain open lines of communication with Beijing in order to avoid misunderstandings, particularly given the high level of "tensions" and the possibility of "miscalculation."

During a news conference at the close of the Group of Seven (G-7) summit in Japan on May 21, Biden said that he expected a "thaw" in relations with China in the short term.

Biden blamed the current worsening in relations with China on a "silly balloon" that flew across the country with espionage equipment before being shot down by a U.S. fighter jet over the Atlantic Ocean.

Kirby stated that the White House views its relationship with China as a "competition" in response to a question about China's surveillance balloon, recent cyber espionage campaigns, and intellectual property theft, and whether there will be repercussions.

He added that the G-7 leaders are more united on their views about China and will respond to China's economic coercion and other unfair practices, as explained at the summit in Hiroshima.

China's Cyber-Espionage Campaign

On May 24, Microsoft and western intelligence agencies reported that a state-sponsored Chinese hacking group has been targeting U.S. critical infrastructure since 2021. Microsoft analysts described this as one of the largest cyber-espionage campaigns by a Chinese state-sponsored actor targeting a wide range of U.S. critical infrastructure, from telecommunications to transportation hubs.

When The Epoch Times questioned Kirby about how the U.S. government intended to address this issue with Beijing, he declined to comment.

Later, a National Security Council spokesperson told The Epoch Times that the U.S. government has been taking measures to strengthen the nation’s infrastructure against cyberattacks.

"The administration has put a relentless focus on improving the cybersecurity of our pipelines, rail systems, water systems and other critical services to counter China’s sophisticated cyber program," the spokesperson said in an email.

"That’s evident in our first-ever mandates of cybersecurity practices for these sectors and the much tighter collaboration between government and key companies who protect those critical networks."

After the report, the U.S. and international cybersecurity agencies issued a joint "Cybersecurity Advisory" to provide cyber defenders with technical information "to hunt and evict malicious cyber actors and secure networks."
Emel Akan is a senior White House correspondent for The Epoch Times, where she covers the Biden administration. Prior to this role, she covered the economic policies of the Trump administration. Previously, she worked in the financial sector as an investment banker at JPMorgan. She graduated with a master’s degree in business administration from Georgetown University.