The People’s Republic of China is the most populous country in the world, with a population of over 1.3 billion. It is also the third largest country in the world. Popularly referred to as ’The Middle Kingdom’ in classical Chinese literature, the term China is believed to be a corruption of the Sanskrit word ’Cina’, made famous by legendary Italian adventurer Marco Polo. The country shares its border with 14 countries and is fenced by the East China Sea, Yellow Sea, South China Sea and Korea Bay.
Politically, China practices an adapted brand of communism and socialism, one which allows its 22 provinces to co-exist with five autonomous regions and two special administrative regions (Macau and Hong Kong). The nation is effectively governed by the State Council, which is led by the President and Premier, under the watchful eye of the Communist Party of China and the People’s Liberation Army, which incidentally, is the largest army in the world.
China has the third largest economy in the world, and is the United States’ second biggest trading partner, with trade totaling $456.8 billion for the fiscal year 2010. However, China's exports to US exceed their import by a massive $273 billion, growing over three times in the past ten years. They are also our biggest foreign lender, holding various US Treasury instruments valued at almost a trillion dollars.
China's arrival as a major economic player has been privately attributed to its currency controls, a selective adherence to World Trade Organization policies, their policy of subsidizing national enterprises to fight off foreign competition and their lax enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights.
It is apparent that China needs to be brought into the bargaining table. But the question is, how?
Source: Department of Commerce
2012 Libertarian Presidential Nominee
Former Governor of New Mexico
The continued trade imbalance between the two countries is a matter that concerns Johnson as it contributes to the burgeoning budget deficit. However, he acknowledges that it is a complex situation, as the very same trade balance allows the Chinese to purchase US currencies and monetary instruments that for all intents and purpose, is keeping the US economy solvent.
Obama views China as one of the rising powers of the 21st century, and believes a more conciliatory and pragmatic approach is the key towards improving the two nation’s relationship. He made his intent clear in 2009 when he nominated the Utah Governor at the time, Jon Huntsman Jr., to become the American Ambassador of China, convinced that the Republican’s experience in the region and fluency in Mandarin made him the perfect choice for the role.
I know there are many who question how the United States perceives China's emergence. But as I have said, in an interconnected world, power does not need to be a zero-sum game, and nations need not fear the success of another. Cultivating spheres of cooperation -- not competing spheres of influence -- will lead to progress in the Asia Pacific.
Now, as with any nation, America will approach China with a focus on our interests. And it's precisely for this reason that it is important to pursue pragmatic cooperation with China on issues of mutual concern, because no one nation can meet the challenges of the 21st century alone, and the United States and China will both be better off when we are able to meet them together.
That's why we welcome China's effort to play a greater role on the world stage -- a role in which their growing economy is joined by growing responsibility. China's partnership has proved critical in our effort to jumpstart economic recovery. China has promoted security and stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan. And it is now committed to the global nonproliferation regime, and supporting the pursuit of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
So the United States does not seek to contain China, nor does a deeper relationship with China mean a weakening of our bilateral alliances. On the contrary, the rise of a strong, prosperous China can be a source of strength for the community of nations.
And so in Beijing and beyond, we will work to deepen our strategic and economic dialogue, and improve communication between our militaries. Of course, we will not agree on every issue, and the United States will never waver in speaking up for the fundamental values that we hold dear -- and that includes respect for the religion and cultures of all people -- because support for human rights and human dignity is ingrained in America. But we can move these discussions forward in a spirit of partnership rather than rancor."
November 14, 2009: President Obama speaking at Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Japan
China is one of the few issues that Romney appears to feel very strongly about. His comments concerning the communist nation have been intensifying over the last year, and he advocates an increasingly hardline approach in handling China.
“Well, China has an interest in trade. China wants to, as they have 20 million people coming out of the farms and coming into the cities every year, they want to be able to put them to work. They wanna have access to global markets. And so we have right now something they need very badly, which is access to our market and our friends around the world, have that same-- power over China. We-- to make sure that we let them understand that in order for them to continue to have free and open access to the thing they want so badly, our markets, they have to play by the rules.
They can't hack into our computer systems and steal from our government. They can't steal from corporations. They can't take patents and designs, intellectual property, and, and, and, and duplicate them, and duplicate them and counterfeit them and sell them around the world. And they also can't manipulate their currency in such a way as to make their prices well below what they otherwise would be.
We have to have China understand that like everybody else on the world stage, they have to play by the rules. And if they do, we'll have open trade with them and work with them. And they should in every way want to collaborate with us and not become a belligerent nation economically or militarily. But if you just continue to sit back and let them run over us, the policies of Barack Obama in China have allowed China to continue to expand their, their, entry into our computer systems, their entry… and, stealing our intellectual property…
And of course, their, their military capacity…
Well number one, on day one, it's acknowledging something which everyone knows, they're a currency manipulator. And on that basis, we also go before the W.T., the W.T.O. and bring an action against them as a currency manipulator. And that allows us to apply, selectively, tariffs where we believe they are stealing our intellectual property, hacking into our computers, or artificially lowering their prices and killing American jobs. We can't just sit back and let China run all over us. People say, "Well, you'll start a trade war." There's one going on right now, folks. They're stealing our jobs. And we're gonna stand up to China.”
November 12, 2011: CBS News/ National Journal's GOP Debate, Spartanburg, South Carolina
“I will label China as it is, a currency manipulator. And I will go after them for stealing our intellectual property. And they will recognize that if they cheat, there is a price to pay. I certainly don't want a trade war with anybody. We are going to have a trade war, but we can't have a trade surrender either…
I'm afraid that people who have looked at this in the past have been played like a fiddle by the Chinese. And the Chinese are smiling all the way to the bank, taking our currency and taking our jobs and taking a lot of our future. And I am not willing to let that happen.
I'm in this race to try to get America to make sure we're strong again and we're creating jobs where the best place in the world to be middle class again. And for that to happen, we have to call cheating for what it is.
And people say, we might have a trade war with China. Well, now, think about that.
We by this much stuff from China, they buy that much stuff from us. You think they want to have a trade war?
I mean, this is a time when we are being hollowed out by China, that is artificially holding down their prices, as you just said a moment ago, and that's having a massive impact on jobs here. It is the wrong course for us.
When people have pursued unfair trade practices, you have to have a president that will take action. And on day one, I have indicated, day one, I will issue an executive order identifying China as a currency manipulator. We'll bring an action against them in front of the WTO for manipulating their currency, and we will go after them. If you are not willing to stand up to China, you will get run over by China, and that's what's happened”
October 11th, 2011: Bloomberg/ Washington Post Republican Presidential Debate, Hanover, New Hampshire
“You know what, I think it’s important first for the American people to understand that China is not like the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union, Kruschev in particular, wanted to bury us. China doesn’t want to bury us. They want to see us succeed and thrive so we can buy more Chinese products. And they’re our competitor economically. More power to them. We know how to compete. We want to make sure the competition is fair and legal and they protect our intellectual property rights and they have a monetary policy that’s fair. So we’ve got some challenges to make sure that the playing field is level with China.
But we can compete, we can be successful with China and reach out to them. I’ve already met with their leadership and will do so again, if I’m lucky enough to be president. Making China a partner for stability in the world will be one of my highest priority. China is really key in many respects as they become a very large economy. Their GNP is going to surpass ours just given the scale of the nation’s population.
We have to recognize they are going to be an economic powerhouse. And with that reality, we’re going to make sure that we’re friendly, that we understand each other, that we’re open in communicating and we’re collaborating on important topics like keeping North Korea from pursuing the nuclear armament which they’ve begun, getting Iran to avoid, or to abandon their nuclear ambitions. China and we together will have a great deal of positive influence for stability if we’re able to work that relationship properly.”
June 21, 2007: Romney speaking to the Pittsburgh Tribune
Mitt Romney: That is normally a good thing. But China is playing by different rules. One, they are stealing intellectual property. Number two, they're hacking into our computer systems, both government and corporate. And they are stealing, by virtue of that as well, from us. And finally, they are manipulating their currency, and by doing so, holding down the price of Chinese goods, and making sure their products are artificially low-priced. It's predatory pricing, it's killing jobs in America. If I'm president of the United States, I'm making it very clear, I love free trade. I want to open markets to free trade. But I will crack down on cheaters like China. They simply cannot continue to steal our jobs…
Maria Bartiromo: How would you crack down on China?
Romney: Well, number one, I would do something this president should have done a long time ago, which is to label China a currency manipulator. And then I would bring in action at the WTO level, charging them with being a currency manipulator. Number three, where they have stolen intellectual property, where they have hacked into computers, and where their artificial pricing is causing their goods to have predatory levels of pricing, I would apply, if necessary, tariffs to make sure that they understand we are willing to play at a level playing field.
We want, we have to have free trade. That's essential for the functioning of a strong economy. But we cannot allow one nation to continue to flaunt the rules and kill our jobs by allowing them continue as they have.
November 9, 2011: CNBC "Your Money, Your Vote” Republican Presidential Debate, Oakland University, Rochester
“I want to make sure that when people cheat, when they don’t follow the rules in trade, we finally hold them accountable.
You know the president, the president has an opportunity, had an opportunity, was required as of last Friday to officially designate whether China is a currency manipulator... And yet over the past several years, the President’s failed to call China a currency manipulator... He had the occasion on Friday to come out with that official designation. Do you know what they said? We’re not going to make any determination until after the election... Let me tell you, on day one of my administration I will label China a currency manipulator. We’ve got to get those jobs back and get trade to be fair,”
October 13, 2012: Romney speaking at a campaign event at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio
Kathyern believes that China is NOT our friend. From its lead-based painted toy exports here, to its artificially managed trade surplus with us, China does not act like an ally. We should pay off our loan with them immediately, and then from a position of power, renegotiate our trade agreement.
Congressman Paul’s non-interventionist, non-colonialist and anti-economic protectionism beliefs come into full focus on the subject of China. He believes America’s political relationship with China remains unchanged, but thinks that American companies continue to easily cede their competitive edge to the ‘more capitalistic’ Chinese entities. He also believes that our position on Taiwan is detrimental to our self-interest and is unconstitutional.
Rick Klein: Do you think our relationship with China over the last few years—did it get stronger? Weaker? Are we in a better position, worse position than we were when Obama took office?
Ron Paul: I would defer to saying it’s probably been pretty neutral. I don’t think it’s deteriorated, because things are so much better than what I remember in high school. We were fighting the Chinese and the Koreans. One of my teachers was sent to Korea and never came back. So that had an impact on me. So it’s so much better. I think Nixon did a lot of terrible things; I always criticize him about closing the gold bin and all these things. But he opened up the door to China. I think we’re much better off talking to the Chinese and trading with the Chinese, and they have an interest in staying peaceful with us, as we have an interest on them, even though we have our differences on some of the trade and “Why do our companies go to China?” And in some ways, they embarrass us, because they’re more Capitalistic than we are. It’s easier for our businesses to go to China than it is to stay here. That aggravates me. But I blame ourselves for that.
June 22, 2011 interview with Amy Walter and Rick Klein on ABC'sTopline
Kiran Chetry: … so turning to China, you have advocated a hands-off approach. You say we shouldn't be in the business of meddling with other countries, domestic politics. But as we look to China right now, China owning nearly $1 trillion in our debt, major trade imbalances, what message do you think the president needs to send today in his meeting with President Hu?
Ron Paul: Well, I would like the message to come out and say that we've learned the lesson. We should look to ourselves. Our policies have made it difficult for us to compete. And we can't go looking for scapegoats. We can't blame China for us spending too much money and printing too much money and buying cheap goods and doing so much to undermine our corporations here and our industries. So it's easier to start a business in China. They're more capitalistic in many ways than we are, so we should recognize our mistakes.
But to fight with China now, I mean, they are our third best partners. We sell as much goods there as -- more than anybody else. They're third in line. So I would say they're great customers and to argue that they're the problem, then we say, well, they're messing around with their currency.
What have we done for the last three years? First, we doubled, you know, the monetary base. Now we have QE-2. That's currency manipulation. Shouldn't we look to ourselves and say that we should have a sound economy? We should do everything we can to promote productivity here. But because China is flawed which they are, we shouldn't blame them. Besides, one thing that we do that they don't do is they're becoming a world power.
Paul: And they're increasing their military power but they are increasing their influence by investments. We waste all this money and energy with our military empire and all the occupation, and they are buying up rights to oil and other minerals at the same time. We're just consuming our wealth by saying we're going to secure our oil in the Middle East. Just think of the horrible cost we're now in, only in lives, but in dollars, which compounds our problems, because that's inflationary. That causes the pressure on the Feds to even buy more debt. So I say look to ourselves. When we have a clean house and we have a perfect protection of civil liberties here in this country, then maybe we can preach to others.
January, 19, 2011: AMERICAN MORNING, CNN
“… Although we engage in trade with China, it is subsidized to the tune of many billions of dollars through the Export/Import Bank- the most of any country in the world…
… We also have been careless over the last several years in allowing our military secrets to find their way into the hands of the Chinese government. At the same time we subsidize trade with China, including sensitive military technology, we also build up the Taiwanese military while continuing to patrol the Chinese border with our spy planes. It's a risky, inconsistent policy…
…The question we must ask ourselves is how would we react if we had Chinese airplanes flying up and down our coast and occupying the air space of the Gulf of Mexico?? We must realize that China is a long way from the US and is not capable, nor is she showing any signs, of launching an attack on any sovereign territory of the United States…
… Throughout all of China's history she has never pursued military adventurism far from her own borders. That is something that we cannot say about our own policy. China traditionally has only fought for secure borders predominantly with India, Russia, Japan, and in Korea against the United States, and that was only when our troops approached the Yaloo River…
… The Taiwan Relations Act essentially promises that we will defend Taiwan at all costs and should be reevaluated. Morally and constitutionally a treaty cannot be used to commit us to war at some future date. One generation cannot declare war for another. Making an open-ended commitment to go to war, promising troops, money and weapons, is not permitted by the Constitution…
… We must continue to believe and be confident that trading with China is beneficial to America. Trade between Taiwan and China already exists and should be encouraged. It's a fact that trade did help to resolve this current crisis without a military confrontation. Concern about our negative trade balance with the Chinese is irrelevant. Balance of payments are always in balance. For every dollar we spend in China those dollars must come back to America. Maybe not buying American goods, as some would like, but they do come back and they serve to finance our current account deficit.
Free trade, it should be argued, is beneficial even when done unilaterally, providing a benefit to our consumers. But we should take this opportunity to point out clearly and forcefully the foolishness of providing subsidies to the Chinese through such vehicles as the Export/Import Bank. We should be adamantly opposed to sending military technology to such a nation, or to any nation for that matter.
… We cannot deny that China still has many internal moral, economic and political problems that should be resolved. But so do we. Their internal problems are their own. We cannot impose our views on them in dealing with these issues, but we should be confident enough that engaging in free trade with them and setting a good example are the best ways for us to influence them in coming to grips with their problems. We have enough of our own imperfections in this country in dealing with civil liberties, and we ought not to pretend that we are saintly enough to impose our will on others in dealing with their problems. Needless to say we don't have the legal authority to do so either…
… A policy of peaceful, non-subsidized trade with China would go a long way to promoting friendly and secure relations with the Chinese people. By not building up the military arsenal of the Taiwanese, Taiwan will be forced to pursue their trade policies and investments with China, leading to the day where the conflict between these two powers can be resolved peacefully.”
April 25, 2001: A New China Policy (read on the House floor)
"China is China’s problem. If we get Americans back to work, reaffirm our sovereignty, and create a business-friendly atmosphere for investors, China will resume its position in the grand scheme of things. We don’t need to hurt the other team; we just need to help our own. "