"We've identified it as a long-term strategic threat to the American people. We don't regard them as a friend. They're not just a competitor. They're not just a country that at times we should cooperate with," he remarked.
"This administration, I think, correctly has designed the strategic framework. They are a predator both economically, geopolitically, and militarily. And, we have designed a comprehensive strategy to deal with that: a whole of government strategy with our allies. But, it's uneven in execution, Brian, and we've got a long way to go to dig us out of the 10-year hole we have put ourselves in..." Keane admitted.
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper reported Tuesday that China had threatened a Philippine Navy ship, sunk a Vietnamese fishing boat, and intimidated other nations from engaging in offshore oil and gas development.
"They are demonstrating to our allies to try to weaken their resolve that they are the dominant force in the Indo-Pacific region and the United States has been eclipsed and no longer has the status and power it used to have," Keane said of the recent Chinese military aggression in the South China Sea.
"And, I've been out in the region multiple times and if you talk to some of our allies, they say: 'One: welcome back. Glad to have you. You guys have got a long way to go.' And, we've got to work with them and sure up their resilience and their resolve and that's...an effort that's in progress," he added.
Kilmeade then asked Keane about a recent internal Chinese report released by Reuters alleging that their government believes anti-Chinese sentiment worldwide in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic will equal that surrounding the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests -- resulting in a confrontation with the United States.
"Do you believe they think that?" the "Friends" host asked.
"China does not want confrontation with the United States," Keane replied. "If they had confrontation [with] the United States, all of their goals that they're trying to achieve in terms of dominating the Indo-Pacific region and replacing the United States as the world's global power would be extinguished by that kind of war."
"What they want to do," he continued further, "is they want to achieve those goals by avoiding conflict but through intimidation and coercion: using their economic power, using their bullying, using their cyber espionage, and their massive disinformation campaign -- and that's what they want."
"I will say this: there are members of the [People's Liberation Army] -- their military -- that have a lot of hubris because they have a huge military capability that they never had," Keane told Kilmeade.
"But their Communist Chinese Party certainly has got them in tow and the political leaders of China do not want conflict, although they are willing to have [a] confrontation."