Rubio challenging Beijing for political gain: expert

By Li Ruohan Source:Global Times Published: 2018/2/8 22:48:40

China should remain vigilant to US politicians' offensives that feed their political agenda, an expert warned Thursday after US Republican Senator Marco Rubio's maneuvers in Washington to counter what he dubbed Beijing's "growing influence."

On Wednesday, Rubio introduced legislation that would prohibit the US government from buying or leasing products from the Chinese company Huawei, ZTE and their subsidiaries for national security reasons.

The draft law comes two days after he warned against Beijing's "growing influence" and suggested US universities cut ties with Confucius institutes, a program that introduces foreigners to Chinese language and culture.

Meanwhile, the Taiwan Travel Act, which was passed by the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on Wednesday and would allow high-level Taiwan officials to be received by US officials in the US, was also co-introduced by Rubio.

Rubio is a political opportunist with ambitions for the presidency, said Jin Canrong, associate dean of the School of International Studies at Renmin University of China in Beijing. While other politicians focus on domestic issues, Rubio's strategy is to look elsewhere, he noted.

By acting tough toward China, Rubio seeks to enhance those ambitions, especially at a time when the US is growing increasingly hostile toward China, Jin said.

The 46-year-old stumbled badly in his previous bid for the Republican presidential nomination and returned crestfallen to his Senate seat. He was re-elected to a second term as senator in November 2016.

China should watch out for opportunists, Jin warned, especially on issues concerning China's core interests and should prevent them benefiting domestically or internationally from such maneuvering.

Rubio in March 2017 called for sanctions against China for construction on South China Sea islands. He has also criticized China's Tibet policy and supported the nomination of three Hong Kong democracy activists for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, Reuters reported.

On January 29, Rubio tweeted that "the tentacles of the communist party in #China are reaching deeper than ever" and later posted "we shouldn't make it any easier for China to spy on us."

Rubio has more than 3 million Twitter followers including Ivanka Trump.

Posted in: DIPLOMACY

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