Locke makes last-minute ar­gu­ment for Clin­ton

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By CHEN WEIHUA in Wash­ing­ton chen­wei­hua@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

For­mer US am­bas­sador to China Gary Locke be­lieves Demo­cratic can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton will be a bet­ter choice for US-China re­la­tions and the Chi­nese-Amer­i­can com­mu­nity.

Locke, a Demo­crat, has been cam­paign­ing for Clin­ton lately in New York and Penn­syl­va­nia.

Hav­ing known Clin­ton for 20 years from his days as gov­er­nor of Wash­ing­ton state, Locke de­scribed Clin­ton as one of the ar­chi­tects of Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s China pol­icy. “So you will see a con­tin­u­a­tion of that pol­icy. And she is very firm with the Chi­nese, they very much re­spect her,” Locke told China Daily on Sun­day.

He said Repub­li­can can­di­date Don­ald Trump would be a dis­as­ter for US-China re­la­tions. He cited the ex­am­ple of a let­ter he got from Trump when Locke was serv­ing as sec­re­tary of com­merce. “He spoke the most racist, in­sult­ing terms about the Chi­nese,” Locke said. “I still have that let­ter. It’s about trade with China.”

Locke said bi­lat­eral trade re­la­tions ben­e­fit both coun­tries and work­ers in both coun­tries. “That will con­tinue un­der Pres­i­dent Clin­ton if she is elected,” he said.

But he also be­lieves Clin­ton will be firm with China to make sure it lives up to its agree­ments and prom­ises, cit­ing the many WTO cases the US has brought against China.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has been de­scribed by or­ga­ni­za­tions like Global Trade Alert, a Lon­don-based aca­demic and re­search think tank, as im­pos­ing the most pro­tec­tion­ist mea­sures of any coun­try since the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis of 2008.

Locke ar­gued that the US is just fol­low­ing the law and in­ter­na­tional rules when coun­tries sell their prod­ucts be­low cost.

Locke dis­agreed that the US-China re­la­tion­ship is in a down­ward spi­ral. “We’re not go­ing down­ward,” he said, adding that the re­la­tion­ship is stronger than it was five years ago, and the days when diplo­matic ties were es­tab­lished un­der pres­i­dent Jimmy Carter and cer­tainly the days when pres­i­dent Richard Nixon vis­ited China.

“Yes, we have dif­fer­ences. Yes, we have fric­tions. But we also have many more ar­eas of co­op­er­a­tion. Ar­eas of co­op­er­a­tion and mu­tual ben­e­fit far ex­ceed, far out­weigh dis­agree­ments,” Locke said.

“We have to fo­cus on the pos­i­tives, not the 5 per­cent ar­eas of dis­agree­ment,” he said.

Locke be­lieves that Clin­ton will con­tinue talk with the Chi­nese and other coun­tries where they have dis­agree­ments. “So we are go­ing to build on our strength, our good re­la­tion­ship, good as­pects of our re­la­tion­ship and hope that can lead the way to solv­ing some of these dis­putes,” he said.

There has been con­cern among some Chi­nese that Clin­ton, if elected, will be tougher on China than Obama has been. Many have also de­scribed her as hawk­ish, given her sup­port for the war in Iraq and ac­tions in Libya and Syria while she was sec­re­tary of state.

Locke, a third-gen­er­a­tion Chi­nese, also be­lieves Clin­ton is a good choice for Chi­nese Amer­i­cans.

“She cares so much about peo­ple,” said Locke. He de­scribed how Clin­ton, as a US se­na­tor from New York, cared about the Chi­nese-Amer­i­can com­mu­nity in New York, such as vis­it­ing the Queens Li­brary, talk­ing to Chi­nese im­mi­grants learn­ing English and meet­ing with com­mu­nity lead­ers in Chi­na­town.

“She lis­tens and she cares about our is­sues, and most of all, she re­spects Chi­nese Amer­i­cans,” said Locke.

The Chi­nese-Amer­i­can com­mu­nity is di­vided. While there is strong sup­port for Clin­ton, the sup­port for Trump has also gained mo­men­tum lately.

Locke warned the Chi­nese com­mu­nity that Trump is go­ing to im­me­di­ately de­port all il­le­gal im­mi­grants once elected. “Peo­ple need to un­der­stand that 10 per­cent of the il­le­gal im­mi­grants here in the United States are Chi­nese,” he said.

Yes, (the US and China) have dif­fer­ences. Yes, we have fric­tions. ... Ar­eas of co­op­er­a­tion and mu­tual ben­e­fit far ex­ceed, far out­weigh dis­agree­ments.” Gary Locke, for­mer US am­bas­sador to China

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