Govt slams Romney yuan attacks

Updated: 2011-10-18 10:38

By Zheng Yangpeng (China Daily)

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BEIJING - The Foreign Ministry said on Monday that attacks by leading US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Chinese trade and currency practices were "irresponsible".

Romney last week threatened trade sanctions against China if the world's No 2 economy does not halt what he claimed was currency manipulation, unfair subsidies and rampant intellectual property theft.

Romney's tough stance came as he has sought to stake out differences with President Barack Obama and tap into the US public's rising concern over China's economic and military growth.

"We think that frequently blaming others, looking for scapegoats and even misleading the public is an irresponsible attitude," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said at a news conference.

China has achieved economic success over the last few years because it was brave enough to face challenges and improve itself by liberating minds, opening up and seeking win-win results, he added.

In September, Xinhua news agency called Romney's similar remarks on the value of the yuan an "absurd" attempt to play on US voter fears.

The former Massachusetts governor is leading the field of Republicans seeking the nomination to run against Obama in 2012.

"It's brilliant politics even though it's bad economics," The Wall Street Journal quoted economist Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute as saying. "It allows him to be a saber-rattling guy who can appeal to tea-party types in the primaries while not alienating people who vote in general elections."

In an effort not to lose ground in debates with Romney and other vocal presidential candidates, Obama said China has been "very aggressive" in "gaming the trading system to its advantage and to the disadvantage of other countries". He made the remarks before the Republican-controlled Senate voted on legislation to penalize China for its currency policy.

The debate has become so heated that Republican presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman, a former US ambassador to China, said he backs the Senate bill even though he warns that "slapping penalties" on China could ignite a trade war.

Reuters contributed to this story.

China Daily

(China Daily 10/18/2011 page1)