Mitt Romney Statement on Chen Guangcheng “My concern at this moment is for the safety of Chen Guangcheng and his family. My hope is that U.S. officials will take every measure to ensure that Chen and his family members are protected...
Mitt Romney released the following statement on reports that Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng is seeking protection at the U.S. embassy in Beijing, China:
“My concern at this moment is for the safety of Chen Guangcheng and his family. My hope is that U.S. officials will take every measure to ensure that Chen and his family members are protected from further persecution. This event points to the broader issue of human rights in China. Any serious U.S. policy toward China must confront the facts of the Chinese government’s denial of political liberties, its one-child policy, and other violations of human rights. Our country must play a strong role in urging reform in China and supporting those fighting for the freedoms we enjoy.”
In 2010, after 30 years of dramatic growth, China surpassed Japan to become the world’s second largest economy after ours. China’s size in land and in population, its rapid economic growth, and its sharply increasing military expenditures are dramatically changing the strategic map of the world. While the potential for conflict with an authoritarian China could rise as its power grows, the United States must pursue policies designed to encourage Beijing to embark on a course that makes conflict less likely. China must be discouraged from attempting to intimidate or dominate neighboring states. If the present Chinese regime is permitted to establish itself as the preponderant power in the Western Pacific it could close off large parts of the region to cooperative relations with the United States and the West and dim hope that economic opportunity and democratic freedom will continue to flourish across East Asia. Mitt Romney will implement a strategy that makes the path of regional hegemony for China far more costly than the alternative path of becoming a responsible partner in the international system.
Maintain Robust Military Capabilities in the Pacific
In the face of China’s accelerated military build-up, the United States and our allies must maintain appropriate military capabilities to discourage any aggressive or coercive behavior by China against its neighbors. Maintaining a strong military presence in the Pacific is not an invitation to conflict. Quite the contrary; it is a guarantor of a region where trade routes are open and East Asia’s community of nations remains secure and prosperous.
Toward that end, the United States should maintain and expand its naval presence in the Western Pacific. We should be assisting partners that require help to enhance their defensive capabilities. The Department of Defense should reconsider recent decisions not to sell top-of-the-line equipment to our closest Asian allies. We should be coordinating with Taiwan to determine its military needs and supplying them with adequate aircraft and other military platforms. We should be assisting Pacific nations to enhance maritime domain awareness, i.e., the ability to employ radar and other detection networks to monitor aggressive behavior in disputed waters. This would minimize the chance of surprise confrontations and prevent military miscalculations that can escalate into larger conflicts.