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China Salty Over RNC Platform On South China Sea, Tibet, and Taiwan

REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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China accused the United States Republican Party of “groundless accusations” in a statement to Chinese media, after the RNC platform dismissed Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea and recognized Chinese suppression of Tibetan culture.

The RNC platform portray’s China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea as “preposterous,” and called its brutal tactics in Tibet “cultural genocide.” The platform also calls on the U.S. to continue selling arms to an independently ruled, democratic Taiwan.

China’s foreign ministry issued a statement to China’s official news agency, Xinhua, saying “we hope relevant parties stop their groundless accusations against China and interference in China’s domestic affairs and contribute more to bilateral trust and cooperation.” China continued, “All political parties in the United States should view China’s development in an objective and rational manner and correctly understand the issues that emerge in bilateral ties.”

The statement is not the Chinese government’s first foray into the U.S. presidential election, in April Chinese Foreign Minister Lou Jiwei called Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump an “irrational type.” Trump has made the U.S. trade deficit with China a central element of his economic policy, and has promised massive tariffs on Chinese goods.

On July 4, a leading Chinese propaganda arm said China should prepare for war in the South China Sea ahead of a major impending international tribunal decision that struck down any Chinese territorial claims. China escalated this rhetoric by announcing military drills and combat air patrols over the South China Sea, raising the risk of a confrontation with the U.S.

The Council on Foreign Relations noted in 2015 that 5.3 trillion dollars of world goods moved through the South China Sea, with 1.2 trillion of that bound for U.S. shores. Any disruption in this shipping channel would throw world markets into chaos. China has shown a willingness to curtail freedom of navigation in favor of its territorial claims in the South China Sea, worrying the U.S. and its allies.

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