China slammed US presidential hopeful Mitt Romney Thursday after he said he would end his country’s “trade surrender” to Beijing, accusing him and other would-be candidates of “scapegoating China”.
An English-language commentary by the state Xinhua news agency called his remarks “old-fashioned and ill-advised”, warning: “China is no cause of the current US economic mess and bashing Beijing is no cure for Washington’s woes.”
“Crafty (US) politicians tend to cater to and even ratchet up the antagonistic sentiment of some poorly informed voters toward China, dreaming that they could ride the anti-China waves to higher political echelons and even the White House,” the commentary said.
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor who had been the early Republican frontrunner but now trails Texas Governor Rick Perry, was heavily critical of Chinese policy Tuesday as he unveiled his economic plan.
He said Washington must confront “nations like China that violate trade rules while free-riding on the international system”.
“I have no interest in starting a trade war with China, but I cannot accept our current trade surrender,” Romney added. He is battling other Republican hopefuls to face President Barack Obama in elections next year.
But the Xinhua commentary said that Beijing was “a responsible player on the world stage” and denied that China supported copyright theft, saying “the Chinese government is consistently against any kind of patent infringement”.
And on the valuation of the Chinese currency — long a point of tension between the world’s two largest economies — the commentary said that the weakness of the yuan had not led to the trade imbalance between China and the United States.
This was “vindicated by the fact that noticeable appreciation of the yuan over past years did not help ease US trade deficits with China,” it said.
China, the largest foreign holder of US Treasury bonds, published a series of stinging English-language commentaries on US economic policy last month after Standard & Poor’s downgraded the country’s credit rating.
But China has faced repeated criticism by US officials over alleged manipulation of its currency, the trade imbalance, copyright infringement and accusations its firms have stolen technology from overseas companies.