Rodriguez for Congress campaign
China Policy

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[October 14, 2016]  More Clarity is Necessary with Respect to China Policy According to Rodriguez - The United States has a very curious geopolitical relationship with respect to China that includes economic elements of international trade and development along with potential military and foreign policy related concerns regarding China’s hegemonic advance into the South China Sea.

The complexity and the interconnectedness of these issues make it a thorny problem for the United States. In addition, the U.S. must use its influence on the world stage to leverage what pressure it can upon China to improve its abysmal record on human rights abuses. In all of these areas of concern we must show clarity and resolution in our policy with respect to China.

In many respects we have formed an unhealthy dependence upon China as a trade partner and a nation with the capacity to buy up large portions of the U.S. debt does diminish our ability to put any effective pressure upon China to pursue economic policies that might be beneficial to U.S. economic interests in the long run. We have realized this most recently with China’s manipulation of its currency in order to upset the trade balance between the two nations.

China has also demonstrated an unwillingness to cooperate with the U.S. in terms of its respect and protection of intellectual property rights. Evidence also suggests that recent experiences with computer database hacking that have involved both corporate and governmental interests originated from China. In an increasingly globalized economy through which major financial transactions are conducted electronically, this type of manipulation of electronic communications is especially perplexing. We must consider the use of economic sanctions if these practices continue.

China has shown clearly aggressive tendencies on several fronts in recent decades. There has been a noticeable shift in China’s defense spending as the nation has begun to invest more in the building of aircraft carriers. In addition, the creation of a series of artificial islands in the China Sea have resulted in China’s attempt to extend its territorial waters space far beyond what is recognized by international law. The creation of military-standard landing strips for aircraft on these artificial islands clearly suggests the larger purpose for which these front-line outposts have been created. The U.S. maintains a treaty obligation to protect Taiwan, and any increase in militarism in the South China Sea must be a cause for concern on our part. With regard to these concerns we must clarify our position with respect to China and make clear that the U.S. stands by its treaty obligations in the world.

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The aforementioned concerns have limited to some degree the pressure that the U.S. can bring to bear upon the record of human rights abuses that occur in China. The persistence of sweatshop labor—often finding its way into manufactured goods that enter the U.S.—is a problem as is the continuation of the notorious laogai prison system (the Chinese equivalent of the old Soviet gulags). It becomes difficult to use the moral weight of the nation to challenge China on these points when the tenuous circumstances of economic and foreign policy with respect to that nation are in a state of flux.

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