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Republican Platform Outlines Tough China Stance

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The Republican party has adopted a platform that is strongly critical of China, even as Chinese state media slammed the party's presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, for having what it termed a "Cold War mentality."

The Republican platform, approved Tuesday at the party's national convention in Tampa, promises to get tough on China for the alleged undervaluing of its currency and theft of intellectual property. It also condemns what it calls China’s “destabilizing claims in the South China Sea” and vowed to continue U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, two issues that have riled China in the past.

The tougher rhetoric mirrors that of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who has promised to designate China as a currency manipulator on his first day in office, if elected.

Beijing, which does not officially take sides in the election, this week lashed out at Romney’s China policies in a series of state media editorials. The official China Daily describes his policies as “pugnacious,” saying they will “poison” U.S.-China relations, if implemented.

U.S. political strategists say criticizing the incumbent’s policies toward China is not only common, but can be politically beneficial, especially while the American economy is struggling to recover from a recession. This is something that Chinese officials have been quick to point out, accusing both Obama and Romney of pandering to what they call the “anti-China vote.”

Although President Obama has refused to label China a currency manipulator, he has strongly criticized Chinese economic policies and brought a series of high-profile trade disputes against China. But the Republican platform accuses the president of a “virtual surrender” in responding to alleged Chinese trade violations.

The GOP promises to impose duties on Chinese goods, if China does not change its policies and threatens punitive measures on foreign businesses that steal American technology and property. If China does not adhere to World Trade Organization standards, the platform warns that the U.S. government will “end procurement of Chinese goods and services.”

Party platforms are a symbolic statement of generally agreed-upon principles and are not binding upon the nominee or any of the party’s politicians.

Nonetheless, the increased rhetoric appears to represent a shift in the Republican party’s traditional views, which have long been supportive of free trade. But observers say it remains unclear whether many big business-oriented factions of the party are willing to further anger China and risk starting a trade war with the world’s second largest economy.

Article by VOA News