On US-China policy

By Wing Ki Patricia Chung

While most of the foreign policy questions targeted at the two presidential candidates are about Iraq and Russia, I’d like to draw attention to U.S.-China policy because their stances on foreign relations with the emerging super power are equally important. In April 2007, Senator Obama described China as a competitor. He noted the importance to cooperate but thinks they should be “clear and consistent with China where we disagree, whether on protection of intellectual property rights, the manipulation of its currency, human rights, or the right stance on Sudan and Iran.” On environment, Senator Obama has said that “China must develop practices that are more environmentally sustainable and less energy intensive” in order to not fall short of its potential. Furthermore, Senator Obama wants to close the income gap in the Chinese society by increasing governmental social safety nets and upgrading financial services sector as this will increase middle class consumption of goods, enhancing U.S.-China trade. He also expressed needs for stronger governmental quality control over products and ensuring faulty products won’t be imported to the U.S. since a lot of babies and pets were victims of the products produced in China recently. Senator McCain supports foreign policy that will “hedge” against China’s growth. In a 2005 speech to an organization of Chinese Americans (committee of 100), he said he doesn’t oppose China’s emergence, but it means “maintaining our military presence in East Asia, strengthening our alliance with Japan and our relations with other Asian countries and working through groups like the APEC forum to further American interests and values.” In a November 2007 Foreign Affairs essay, he states that China should be more transparent about its military buildup and that the United States must question China’s intent of such provocative acts before they can truly cooperate.