Candidates Differ on Handling China's Rise

VOA's Mandarin Service
China Policy has played a role in U.S. presidential debates for decades, and continues to do so today.  President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney agree China needs to play by the rules when it comes to trade.  They differ on whether the U.S. should be more aggressive when it comes to enforcing those rules.  

At the first televised presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960, the issue was U.S. support for Taiwan, then called Formosa.

"I believe strongly in the defense of Formosa," Kennedy stated during the debate.  "These islands are a few miles, five or six miles off the coast of Red China within a general harbor area and more than 100 miles from Formosa."

The tradition of debating U.S.-China relations continues today.

Governor Romney says that if elected, he will label China a currency manipulator the first day of his presidency.  That move could lead to broad trade sanctions against China.

"We have to say to our friends in China," said Romney, "'Look, you guys are playing aggressively.  We understand it, but this can't keep on going. You can't keep on holding down the value of your currency, stealing our intellectual property, counterfeiting our products, selling them around the world, even to the United States.'"

President Obama opposes branding China a currency manipulator, arguing currencies are at their most advantageous point for U.S. exporters since 1993.

"China is both an adversary, but also a potential partner in the international community if it's following the rules," noted Obama.  "So my attitude coming into office was that we are going to insist that China plays by the same rules as everybody else."

The U.S. has borrowed more money from China than any other foreign country.

China is the U.S.'s second largest trading partner.  Last year, the trade deficit with China was nearly $300 billion.  President Obama argues his administration has doubled the number of complaints against unfair trade.

On human rights, President Obama's strategy is to push China to improve without embarrassing it.  The Obama administration cites the release of blind dissident Chen Guangcheng, who took refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, as an example of Obama's policy working.

Governor Romney says he would take a tougher stance toward China on human rights and has condemned China's one-child policy.

"I will cut off funding for the United Nations Population Fund which supports China's barbaric one-child policy," said Romney.

On defense, both candidates agree the United States needs to expand its influence in the Asia-Pacific region to counter China's rising power.

"We believe China can be a partner, but we're also sending a very clear signal that America is a Pacific power; that we are going to have a presence there," noted Obama.

Despite that statement of support, President Obama has not sold advanced F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan.

Governor Romney meanwhile has given strong hints he would sell Taiwan the aircraft.

"They look at America's commitments around the world and they see what's happening, and they say, "Well, OK. Is America going to be strong?' And the answer is, yes, if I'm president, America will be very strong," said Romney.

When Kennedy and Nixon debated, the China Policy debate was for a domestic audience.  Now, large audiences in China can watch the U.S. presidential campaign live online, with every word scrutinized for deeper meaning.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: angelina from: las vegas
October 28, 2012 4:38 PM
CHINA is a superpower and both of these warmonger drone supporter presidential candidates don't deserve at all to rule usa any more first they should punish bush for war crimes and stop interference of jewish lobbies in america top secret matters and extraordinary support for israel which destroy huge amount of american tax payer money on israel led useless wars in many countries for its hidden motives.

by: hiep from: vietnam
October 28, 2012 7:12 AM
I think that china is now the second largest economy of the world after the united states, the competition between the US and china to be more and more extremely. In the future, the conflict between China and the US will appear more than.

by: Vaméri from: US
October 27, 2012 7:46 PM
It is not handling China's rise, it's handling Chinese unfair practics in trades.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigationsi
Katherine Gypson
December 01, 2015 10:06 PM
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigations

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Russia Marks World AIDS Day With Grim News

While HIV infection rates have steadied or even declined in many European countries, the caseload has grown rapidly in Russia, as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow. Over half of the new infections were transmitted through injection drug use.

Video Pakistan Hit Hard by Global Warming

As world leaders meet in Paris to craft a new global agreement aimed at cutting climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions, many developing countries are watching closely for the final results. While most developing nations contribute much less to global warming than developed countries, they often feel the effects to a disproportionate degree. As Saud Zafar reports from Karachi, one such nation is Pakistan. Aisha Khalid narrates his report.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

VOA Blogs