Romney stirs up anti-China vote

By Yang Jinghao Source:Global Times Published: 2012-8-24 1:10:06

US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney continues to push a tough stance toward China as the US elections draw close, but observers downplayed his sharp rhetoric as pandering to voters.

Romney's policy toward China is coming into focus after he advanced a set of military strategies that include arms sales to Taiwan, following previously announced blueprints mainly pointing to trade relations with Beijing.

The candidate, locked in firece competition with sitting president Barack Obama, stated that the US under his administration would maintain adequate military power with its regional partners and expand its naval force in the west Pacific, Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV reported Thursday.

He also stressed that the country would provide Taiwan with enough fighters and other military facilities, according to the report.

"I don't think the governor support for Taiwan is new. We have a commitment to Taiwan and we take it seriously," Romney's counselor on security policy told Phoenix TV in a phone interview.

During a campaign event in New Hampshire on Monday, Romney again claimed that he would crack down on "cheaters like China" and would work to open new market for US goods, according to CNN.

"It has become a tradition for the candidates to attack each other by targeting China, which is aimed at stoking up the voters," said Da Wei, an American studies expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

Da noted that with a different political system and ideology, China is easily targeted, especially as its power grows.

"But the actual policies after taking office won't be as harsh as candidates claim during the stump speeches. Their rhetoric may even be weakened in the later stage of the campaign when they realize the complexity and importance of the relationship between the two powers," Da told the Global Times.

Romney has been repeatedly hammering China. He even taunted China on its moon landing plans during an election rally in Miami on August 13.

"I know the Chinese are planning on getting to the Moon … when they do they will find an American flag that has been there for 43 years," he told the crowd.

During the speech to the National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in July, he pointed a finger at China's human rights issues and accused it of conniving in "flagrant patent and copyrights violations."

"The cheating must finally be brought to a stop. President Obama hasn't done it and won't do it. I will," he said, while once again labeling China as a "currency manipulator." 

Romney has claimed he will take action on the issue on his first day in office if elected.

Ni Feng, deputy director of the Institute of American Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that it is unlikely the US would adopt tough measures against Beijing regarding mutual trade, as a trade war will result in "serious consequences" for both countries.

"The US should seek cooperation with China rather than more confrontation, which will definitely be harmful for its both domestic and foreign affairs," Ni remarked.

An editorial published by the Wall Street Journal on August 16 criticized the US politicians' attitude toward China on trade, saying "rallying against imported Chinese goods is especially shortsighted" and protectionist polices would only hurt millions of US companies and consumers who benefit from China trade.

But analysts also caution that Beijing needs to be wary of any policy change if Romney finally defeats Obama.

Romney is expected to use an iron hand in dealing with China-related affairs, especially on currency and national security, said Da. "So we also need to take some precautions and prepare for any potential battles."

Posted in: Diplomacy

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