China responded Tuesday to claims by Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump that Beijing “breaks the rules in every way imaginable” when it comes to trade, lashing out at the business mogul’s economic prescription that it called “dangerous and damaging.”
In a commentary, the official Xinhua News Agency took Trump to task for a speech he made the same day outlining his economic policies.
“U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Tuesday played the China-bashing card once again in his latest attempt to rectify his falling popularity,” the editorial said. “The inflammatory rhetoric, however, is dangerous and damaging and offers nothing substantive in way of improving relations with China.”
In his speech in Detroit, Trump said trade enforcement with China was be the centerpiece of his economic plan, which he claimed “could return millions of jobs” to the U.S. economy.
“China is responsible for nearly half of our entire trade deficit,” he said in the speech. “They break the rules in every way imaginable. China engages in illegal export subsidies, prohibited currency manipulation, and rampant theft of intellectual property.”
The fiery speech, however, was not a marked shift in his often confrontational stance toward China and other nations.
The Republican standard-bearer has routinely criticized the trade and currency policies of Beijing, while also pillorying Japan for getting what he has called a “free ride” under the U.S. security umbrella.
While lambasting Trump’s positions, the Xinhua editorial also took aim at his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, over her economic platform, contending that the former top U.S. diplomat “shared a similar view” with her Republican challenger.
Clinton, like Trump, has taken aim at the growing U.S.-China trade gap, while also vowing to crack down on alleged currency manipulation.
Media reports have said that while Trump has stoked anger in China over his comments, Clinton — the face of the Obama administration’s hated “Asia pivot” — remains the more troubling candidate for Beijing due to her tough stance on human rights and regional security.
Amid this tumult, China has also used the charged election atmosphere in the country to regularly point out what Beijing says are the failings of American-style democracy.
Tuesday’s Xinhua editorial was no exception.
“For years, China-bashing has always been an easy card for U.S. political candidates to play and cover up the country’ s fundamental structural drawbacks,” it said. “After all, settling these problems needs more painstaking reforms that none of the two parties would dare propose at the risk of electoral defeat.”