Author Topic: Romney Tones Down on China Comments After Strong Backlash from Beijing  (Read 124 times)


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The Straits Times, Singapore
October 23, 2012

Romney vowed to press China harder on trade and currency issues but toned down earlier rhetoric, following warnings his approach could spark a trade war.

"We can be a partner with China. We don't have to be an adversary in any way, shape or form," he said, despite his vow to brand Beijing a currency manipulator on day one of his presidency.

Earlier story:

Romney's Comments on China Are 'Willful Attacks'

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's caustic comments on China have resulted in a strong backlash from authorities in Beijing.

During his campaign in Virginia Thursday last week, Romney vowed once again to brand China as a currency manipulator on his first day as president should he win the White House.

China's state-owned Xinhua News Agency responded Friday stating that Romney's comments are "willful attacks."

"The presidential candidates should be mindful of going too far in bashing China, if they feel they must do so in order to win votes, because the specificity of their promises will leave them with few options but to follow through," Xinhua News Agency wrote in its published opinion piece.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs had published an official statement earlier on its website Sept. 1, 2012 requesting Romney to "stop making groundless accusations against China."

Industry watchers are however of opinion that Romney's view is not an extreme case.

"I don't see much of a policy divide between an Obama II and a Romney administration," Dr. Euan Graham, a senior fellow in the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies told Rigzone in an Oct. 19 interview.

"Most presidential candidates talk tough on China, but once in office the President's freedom of maneuver on U.S.-China relations tends to be more limited," Graham added.

Graham views are also echoed by other industry watchers. Steven Okun, who chairs the Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce, was quoted as explaining that Romney's statement was simply "campaign rhetoric" in an Oct. 9 article published in The Straits Times.

"I don't think there will be a difference between a Romney administration and a second-term Obama administration when it comes to China," Okun said.

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Romney appears to be gaffe-prone when it comes to foreign diplomacy. During the summer, he came over to Europe and upset a few people. He even managed to insult America's biggest ally in the region:

Certainly don't think calling for a trade war with China is the best idea at the moment...