News / USA

China is Important Campaign Issue for Obama, Romney

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks in Des Moines, Iowa. (file photo)
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks in Des Moines, Iowa. (file photo)
VOA News
China has become an increasingly important issue in the United States presidential election, with both President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney pledging to take a strong stand against the rapidly growing Asian power.

The issue has taken on greater prominence as America's economy, the largest in the world, struggles to recover from a recession and China, the world's second largest economic power, continues to engage in what some say are questionable trade practices.

Romney, the Republican Party candidate, has been particularly outspoken, promising to counter what he says are abusive Chinese practices in the areas of trade, intellectual property, and currency valuation. He has vowed to designate China as a currency manipulator, a label which could lead to sanctions.

President Barack Obama speaks in the White House briefing room in Washington, August 20, 2012.
President Barack Obama speaks in the White House briefing room in Washington, August 20, 2012.
President Obama, a Democrat who originally sought deeper ties with Beijing, has in recent months taken a tougher tone on China. While he refuses to call the country a currency manipulator, he has strongly criticized Chinese economic policies and brought a series of high-profile trade disputes against China.

Assertiveness seen as challenge

Another concern is China's military buildup and increased assertiveness in defending its maritime claims in energy-rich areas such as the South China Sea. Earlier this year, Mr. Obama announced what he called a strategic "pivot" toward the Pacific region. Many saw the move as an effort to contain China's rise, though officials in Washington deny the claim.

But a senior Romney national security adviser has criticized that policy in a new article in Foreign Affairs magazine. Aaron Friedberg, a co-chair on Romney's Asia-Pacific working group, says the Obama administration's approach lacks "serious substance," saying the White House should admit the "obvious fact" that the policy is aimed at China.

While Friedberg acknowledged that both the U.S. and China would benefit from a healthy bilateral relationship, he accused Washington of engaging in "diplomatic happy talk" that exaggerated the accomplishments of the administration's efforts to promote better relations.

Tough talk

Though Friedberg was not speaking officially for the Romney campaign, his comments are consistent with those recently made on the campaign trail by Romney and his vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan.

Last week, Ryan accused Obama of failing to deliver on his promises to "go to the mat" get tough with China to stop its questionable trade practices. Instead, Ryan said China has treated Barack Obama like a "doormat." Ryan promised to crack down on what he called China's "cheating."

And at a recent campaign stop in Florida, Romney mocked Beijing's plans to send an unmanned rocket to the moon, saying that the U.S. has already beaten China to the destination with a manned spacecraft sent there 43 years previous.

Beijing dismisses remarks

Beijing has dismissed such statements by both candidates as irresponsible and politically motivated, and has suggested they could hurt relations between the world's two largest economies.

But observers say it is common for U.S. presidential candidates to challenge the incumbent on his dealings with China. But what is less clear is the extent to which those candidates would alter one of the United States' most important and complicated bilateral relationships.

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by: Hoang from: Canada
August 26, 2012 8:47 PM
Jonathan Huang from Canada,
If you like Communist China, go back to China. Why do you live in Canada?
The reason China has grown economically so far is because the U.S and the Western countries wrongly gave China special status for trade and gave them technology. China also cheats and steal and doesn't play by the rules.

by: Rick from: Beijing
August 26, 2012 1:25 PM
China is Important Issue just During the Campaign year for Presidential Election.

by: David from: China
August 26, 2012 7:07 AM
I don't understand why some people just wants to badmouth China ; did you even come to china before ? We love peace, we don't want war, but we are not afraid of war. Those people are just jealousy of china's development across the board. The US governemnt always wants to use the territorial disputes between China and the neighbouring countries to hold back China. The US government should focus on your problems, making good things for your own country and people, not just tried to accuse China. There is a limit to our patience.

by: Reader from: China
August 25, 2012 7:23 PM
The U.S., like most other industrialized nations, has EXPORTED its own manufacturing base to China and enjoys the cheap products made in China.

China, on the other hand, has the whole world as its market and has made money out of almost ALL the countries in the world.
With one party controlling everything, with two eyes looking at money, and with three-hundred million migrant workers working without minimum pay, without social security, without benefit, which country could compete with China?

If the situation continues for 20 to 30 more years, a war is unavoidable.


by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
August 25, 2012 1:27 PM
one party system is definitely superior than two or more parties in current China situation. Because one party system can avoid chaos and keep whole country stable and high efficient. Stable is the main reason why China can grow super fast these years. China system is superior than those in India, Russia, Mexico, south africa, brazil. Chinese are watching other countries, we can see it clearly so dont try to fool us, clean your own shi *t first, ok?

by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
August 25, 2012 1:21 PM
the friction between China and west is not economy, not ideology, not even territory disputes, it is race. Race discrimination is the root sin in west. But China will keep developing in economy and technology, because we know it is the only way to beat west, we will keep working hard just like we did in Olympic. We will not stay at the second we want to be the best! CCP is important to stay in power to guaranty a stable environment of developing. Arab spring has no market in China, you still dont believe that? try again!

by: Mike from: U.S.
August 25, 2012 12:17 PM

In China, everything is controlled by the party -- the communist party. Yes, everything: people's minds, way of living, and of course, currency.

Before China becomes a democratic society, the friction between China and the industrialized nations is going to get deeper and deeper.

by: Trang Phan from: VietNam
August 25, 2012 9:04 AM
China is the world's second lagest economic power doesn't mean that they can do anything what they want,especially The East Sea issues (biển Đông).VietNam is a small country so we still have no voice on the international stage,i hope the maritime disputes will be resolved base on international law.

by: Machael from: China
August 25, 2012 7:46 AM
China is growing fast, Chinese people are friendly, we should keep the situation peace.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 24, 2012 2:06 PM
Tackling China is surely a way forward. From Every indication, Obama pleads like a kid with the Chinese and so cannot get anything out of the intrinsically conning China, especially now that it's beginning to grow wings. But China is also an intrinsically atheist country whose rising to power is like the rising of the gentiles to spite God's people when they fail in their duty to God. Which is also the lot with USA and Europe. Only a true return to God will reverse the advance of the 'Assyrians', otherwise, no talking tough or conceived ideology has power to stop the 'siege', and they will go further to ask to take one of your eyes when they take over. God bless America!
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