Republican Platform Outlines Tough China Stance

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaign buttons are displayed ahead of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 26, 2012.
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaign buttons are displayed ahead of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 26, 2012.
VOA News
The Republican party has adopted a platform that is strongly critical of China, even as Chinese state media slammed the party's presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, for having what it termed a "Cold War mentality."

The Republican platform, approved Tuesday at the party's national convention in Tampa, promises to get tough on China for the alleged undervaluing of its currency and theft of intellectual property. It also condemns what it calls China’s “destabilizing claims in the South China Sea” and vowed to continue U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, two issues that have riled China in the past.

The tougher rhetoric mirrors that of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who has promised to designate China as a currency manipulator on his first day in office, if elected.

Beijing, which does not officially take sides in the election, this week lashed out at Romney’s China policies in a series of state media editorials. The official China Daily describes his policies as “pugnacious,” saying they will “poison” U.S.-China relations, if implemented.

Watch related video of Romney's foreign policy advisor on Mideast, China

U.S. political strategists say criticizing the incumbent’s policies toward China is not only common, but can be politically beneficial, especially while the American economy is struggling to recover from a recession. This is something that Chinese officials have been quick to point out, accusing both Obama and Romney of pandering to what they call the “anti-China vote.”

Although President Obama has refused to label China a currency manipulator, he has strongly criticized Chinese economic policies and brought a series of high-profile trade disputes against China. But the Republican platform accuses the president of a “virtual surrender” in responding to alleged Chinese trade violations.

The GOP promises to impose duties on Chinese goods, if China does not change its policies and threatens punitive measures on foreign businesses that steal American technology and property. If China does not adhere to World Trade Organization standards, the platform warns that the U.S. government will “end procurement of Chinese goods and services.”

Party platforms are a symbolic statement of generally agreed-upon principles and are not binding upon the nominee or any of the party’s politicians.

Nonetheless, the increased rhetoric appears to represent a shift in the Republican party’s traditional views, which have long been supportive of free trade. But observers say it remains unclear whether many big business-oriented factions of the party are willing to further anger China and risk starting a trade war with the world’s second largest economy.


Photo Gallery: Republican National Convention Begins

  • Mitt Romney, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R) and Campaign Manager Matt Rhoades pose for a staff portrait on the steps of the stage at the Republican National Conventionm in Tampa, Florida, August 30, 2012.
  • Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan wave to delegates after speaking at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 30, 2012.
  • Mitt Romney hugs his grandchildren after his speech, August 30, 2012.
  • Actor Clint Eastwood speaks to an empty chair on the final night of the convention, August 30, 2012.
  • The Republican National Convention main stage at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida. (B. Allen/VOA)
  • The Texas delegation reacts to speeches at the convention. (J. Featherly/VOA)
  • Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice addresses the crowd, August 29, 2012. (J. Featherly/VOA)
  • Ann Romney hugs her husband after she addressed delegates during the second session of the Republican National Convention, August 28, 2012.
  • Montana delegates on the floor of the convention. (J. Featherly/VOA)
  • Dona Poelman from Racine, Wisconsin accessorizes her shirt at the RNC.
  • Delegates cheer as an image of Mitt Romney is displayed during the opening session, August 27, 2012.
  • Texas delegate Clint Moore and the rest of Texas delegates fashion their cowboy hats on the floor.
  • Men prepare food in a protest camp called "Romneyville" outside the convention center.
  • Delegates on the floor watch speakers during the second session. (J. Featherly/VOA)
  • Delegate Sol Grosskopf from Shawano, Wisconisin wears cheesehead hat on the convention floor.
  • Convention goers pause in the prayer room.
  • A sudden, heavy rainstorm surprises protesters outside near the convention center.
  • A worker walks down the aisle to collect trash on the floor at the convention.

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