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2012年10月25日 (木)

米大統領選 対中圧力で一致した外交討論

Obama, Romney agree on applying pressure on China
The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 25, 2012)
米大統領選 対中圧力で一致した外交討論(10月24日付・読売社説)

Which candidate will win the closely contested U.S. presidential election?

President Barack Obama, a Democratic candidate seeking reelection, and Republican candidate Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, crossed swords in a heated third and final nationally televised debate Monday.

Polls taken immediately after the debate suggested Obama won the verbal joust. This, combined with the unemployment rate's recent fall to 7.8 percent, could provide Obama with a tailwind.

But the two candidates remain locked in a dead heat in public support rates. The fierce battle will certainly continue until Election Day on Nov. 6.

The topics for the final debate were diplomatic and security issues.

The Middle East situation has become chaotic in the aftermath of the Arab Spring revolutionary movement and as the civil war in Syria intensifies. In Asia, North Korea forges ahead with its development of nuclear weapons and China has expanded its military presence in the East China Sea and the South China Sea. How will the next U.S. president handle these issues? The attention of Japan and many other countries was focused on the debate in this respect.


Is U.S. power ebbing?

Romney criticized Obama's diplomacy as weak-kneed, saying that "nowhere in the world is America's influence greater today than it was four years ago."

Obama, who gave a lackluster performance in the first debate on the economy, was more eloquent as he discussed diplomatic issues.

The president boasted of his diplomatic achievements such as ending the war in Iraq, paving the way for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan and listing the effects of tough sanctions imposed on Iran to check its nuclear development program. Citing these points to refute Romney's contention, Obama said the United States "is stronger now than when I came into office."

However, Romney was correct in the sense that U.S. influence has declined in relative terms due to the rise of China and other newly emerging countries.

Obama said China is "both an adversary, but also a potential partner in the international community if it's following the rules."

Beijing is a principal trade partner for Washington. The United States is running the biggest trade deficit with that country among its trade partners. China is now the nation holding the most U.S. Treasury bonds after it overtook Japan. Therefore, China must be closely watched by the United States, but at the same time their relationship is interdependent.


Compliance with rules

Obama stressed his policy line of pressuring Beijing to conduct economic activities based on international standards and bolstering cooperation with allies in carrying out security policies.

Romney, for his part, stated he would deal with China strictly if it violated international rules, declaring he would label China "a currency manipulator" on his first day in office. He displayed a harder line toward Beijing than Obama did.

Obama reconfirmed that the United States, as a Pacific Rim nation, would attach importance to Asia. Romney basically shared this stance. This was welcome news to Japan.

Japan, together with the United States, should urge China to comply with international rules. Japan needs to make all-out efforts to maintain its territorial integrity and ensure the freedom of navigation and trade.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 24, 2012)
(2012年10月24日01時33分  読売新聞)


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