At this week’s presidential debate, Barack Obama didn’t mince his words, labelling China as an ‘adversary’ for the first time. After that, he did also refer to partnership with China, and Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate, was also more nuanced, saying China can be a “partner, and doesn’t have to be an adversary if they play by the rules”.
But Romney also trotted out his ‘on day one, I’ll name China a currency manipulator’ refrain once again too. Perhaps that’s why the Chinese seem to prefer Obama by some margin. According to the Wall Street Journal a poll on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-equivalent, gave the current president a seven to one lead over Romney. Obama must be wishing he enjoyed that sort of margin in Ohio…
At the debate this week, the Middle East dominated the discussion, but according to Foreign Policy magazine, China was still a hot topic. While Iran was the most mentioned country (referred to 47 times), China came in second at 35, narrowly pipping Israel with 34. Also indicating the country’s importance, Obama used the phrase “that will not help us compete with China” twice, as he sought to explain why his own policies trumped Romney’s.
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