Former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Tuesday said that China under President Xi Jinping has become more aggressive and bullish.

In an interview to Fox News, Haley, said the Chinese were quiet and strategic during her tenure at the UN. They moved and made sure that they were trying to get positions in certain areas, and trying to get things done behind closed doors.

With their Belt and Road initiative, the Chinese started really trying to buy up these infrastructures or partnering with smaller countries on infrastructure projects, Haley further added.

“But yet they go in, they wouldn’t assimilate with the countries. The countries didn”t like their attitude when they were coming in. Now we look at it, it’s getting more aggressive in tone,” said Haley, who resigned as UN ambassador in 2018 after nearly two years in the post.

She said the US needs to “let them know we”re on to them, we need to actually follow through on the intellectual property measures that were in that trade deal that we had and hold them accountable.”

In support of President Donald Trump’s decision to close the Chinese consulate in Houston, Haley alleged that these consulates have been “spy centres” for a long time.

“I mean there’s no question that they had some illegal activity going on in those consulates. So I was thrilled to see them close down the one in Houston, which was known to be kind of the epicentre of where all of this was going on. And I think, you know, when you have Chinese officials being hidden at consulates, it goes to show you”re doing something wrong,” she said.

In May, Haley had said that the US should start by setting up stronger guards to prevent China from exploiting America’s economic openness and punish it for its predatory actions.

Nikki Haley also suggested that the US should adopt an approach similar to the Cold War times when it crafted new policies to check Soviet military technological progress, which included export control and trade promotion.

(With inputs from agency)