US can­di­date Ru­bio rips into Xi

The China Post - - ASIA -

U.S pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Marco Ru­bio on Fri­day ac­cused Xi Jin­ping of seek­ing to un­der­mine U.S. in­ter­ests, in a no­tably per­sonal at­tack ahead of the Chi­nese leader’s visit to Washington.

Ru­bio — a Florida law­maker who sits with the op­po­si­tion U.S. Repub­li­can Party — sin­gled out the main­land Chi­nese leader, as he branded Bei­jing’s record on hu­man rights a “dis­grace.”

China has been a pop­u­lar whip­ping boy for Repub­li­cans on the cam­paign trail, par­tic­u­larly fol­low­ing the global stock sell-off that many say was trig­gered by Bei­jing revalu­ing its cur­rency.

Another Repub­li­can White House con­tender, Wis­con­sin Gover­nor Scott Walker, has called on U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama to can­cel a planned state din­ner with Xi.

But Ru­bio’s tone was markedly per­sonal.

While stat­ing “China presents both op­por­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges for our peo­ple,” he went on to lay blame for ten­sions at the com­mu­nist boss’s door.

“Xi Jin­ping is try­ing to con­vince his coun­try’s 1.3 bil­lion peo­ple that the way to re-es­tab­lish Chi­nese great­ness is to un­der­mine the United States and en­hance China’s in­flu­ence at our ex­pense,” Ru­bio said.

“Un­der Xi Jin­ping’s rule, China has in­ten­si­fied its cam­paign to push Amer­ica out of Asia,” he al­leged.

“China aims to make it so costly and dif­fi­cult for Amer­ica to get in­volved in the re­gion that we won’t bother. In short, China is do­ing ev­ery­thing it can to make the 21st cen­tury a Chi­nese Cen­tury.”

If that will up­set China, Ru­bio’s as­ser­tion that a dis­puted is­land chain be­longs to Ja­pan may of­fend Bei­jing more.

Xi, he said, “is as­sert­ing con­trol over the East and South China Seas, through which more than half of global com­merce passes each day.

“This is Bei­jing’s way of gain- ing lever­age over the world. It has uni­lat­er­ally de­clared an ‘air de­fense iden­ti­fi­ca­tion zone’ over in­ter­na­tional wa­ters and the Senkaku Is­lands, which are the ter­ri­tory of our ally Ja­pan.”

Ties be­tween China and Ja­pan have been strained over the Ja­panese ad­min­is­tered is­lands in the East China Sea. Bei­jing also claims the chain, which it calls the Diaoyu is­lands.

The U.S. gov­ern­ment has been care­ful not to weigh in on the fi­nal sta­tus of the is­lands.

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