Message to Beijing

China is “an adversary, but also a potential partner,” said President Obama during Monday night’s presidential debate. “China can be a partner, but we’re also sending a very clear signal that America is a Pacific power, that we are going to have a presence there,” he said, referencing the new US defense strategy that shifts the US military’s focus to Asia-Pacific. Obama said his Administration has kept up the pressure so that China is “following the rules” of international conduct, such as abiding by trade agreements and honoring international sea lanes. “We absolutely have to make more progress and that’s why we’re going to keep on pressing,” he said. Meanwhile, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney said the Chinese “want a stable world” so they can sell their products abroad and “they don’t want war.” The United States “can be a partner with China; we don’t have to be an adversary in any way, shape, or form,” he said. But China has got “to play by the rules” in trade and can’t keep artificially holding down the value of its currency or “stealing our intellectual property,” said Romney during the Oct. 22 debate in Boca Raton, Fla. (Debate transcript)