Locke makes last-minute argument for Clinton
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