In a Wall Street Journal op-ed Sen. Marco Rubio called for President Obama to downgrade rather than cancel his planned state visit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, arguing that it was still important to communicate the interests of the United States.
“That is why President Xi Jinping’s visit to Washington next week should not be canceled, but rather downgraded to a working visit from a state visit,” he wrote. “This is an opportunity to speak bluntly to this authoritarian ruler and achieve meaningful progress, not to treat him to a state dinner.”
Rubio will deliver a speech on foreign policy and China today, after a week in which the American stock market was roiled by Chinese financial problems. While candidates Donald Trump and Scott Walker were quick to react to the chaotic effect that China was having on the economy, Rubio waited a few days before reacting.
During an interview on CNBC this morning, Rubio insisted that he had planned a speech on China all along. “We planned to give the speech even before this happened this week,” he said.
In the Wall Street Journal, Rubio signaled his concerns over China’s “protectionist economic and trade policies” that was endangering the American economy, as well as their multiple cyberattacks against United States companies and government data. He also criticized them for their territorial claims in the South China Sea and their poor record on human rights.
“President Obama has continued to appease China’s leaders despite their mounting aggression,” he said.
But Rubio warned that angering China would actually damage the American economy – and vowed to push forward with the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“As president, I would respond not through aggressive retaliation, which would hurt the U.S. as much as China, but by greater commitment and firmer insistence on free markets and free trade,” he said. “This means immediately moving forward with the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade agreements.”