Presidential Debate Focused Little on China
By Jack Phillips On October 23, 2012 @ 3:02 pm In National News,Society | No Comments
The vast majority of the debate between President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney focused on the United States’ foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa, but hardly touched on China, the world’s second-largest economy and most populous country.
As noted by Martin Indyk, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution, the two candidates “spent very little time on China.”
“For much of the debate--I think it was something like 45 minutes--they remained stuck in the quagmire of the Middle East,” Indyk noted in a video on Tuesday.
Most of the debate focused on Iran potentially obtaining a nuclear weapon while at the same time, curbing the threat of Islamic extremism, and how to best aid Syrian rebels fighting against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Toward the end of the hour-and-a-half debate, moderator Bob Schieffer turned the topic to China, where both candidates spent approximately 10 minutes discussing their ideas and policies on the country.
Most of the time on China focused mainly on economic issues, with a sprinkling of accusations that Chinese hackers are stealing American intellectual property, carrying out cyberwarfare with the United States, and producing counterfeit goods that threaten American manufacturing.
Romney again promised that if he is elected, he will label China a currency manipulator.
Elaborating further, Romney said on Monday night’s debate on foreign policy that he would make the designation “on day one.”
“We have to say to our friend in China … 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,” Romney said.
Feng Wang, another fellow with Brookings, wrote that labeling China as a currency manipulator will likely “set the new tone of the U.S.-China relations” but stressed that the Chinese regime might overreact so as to not appear “soft” while its going through a critical leadership transition that will start at the 18th National Party Congress in November.
It is, however, not clear if China would engage in a trade war with the United States if the currency manipulator designation is applied, Feng writes.
The United States should have “a great relationship with China… but that doesn’t mean they should roll all over us,” Romney said.
Obama touted his administration’s efforts to tackle outstanding trade issues with China.
“China is both an adversary, but also a potential partner in the international community if it’s following the rules,” Obama said, adding that China should be forced to play on a “level playing field.”
Both candidates stressed that they would adhere to a “tough on China” stance if they get elected.
“We believe China can be a partner but we are also sending a very clear message that America is a Pacific power and we are going to have a presence there,” Obama said.
The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 19 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.
Copyright © 2012 Epoch Times. All rights reserved.