Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said on Friday that the United States needed “backbone” in dealing with China in light of recent reports of alleged spying and cyberattacks.
“This is a time for real backbone for our nation to come up against China and say: ‘Guys, you gotta play by the rules. You can’t manipulate your currency. You cannot hack into our computers, or there will be consequence,’” Romney told Neil Cavuto on Fox News. “You put everything on the table — not militarily, obviously — but soft power.”
And that may include trade tariffs, similar to those imposed this week by Europe on Chinese solar panels and other products.
“Clearly, trade is one of the places where you have consequence,” the former Massachusetts governor said. “You don’t want to have consequence in trade because that ends up costing us as well.
“You don’t want to see a trade war, but you can’t continue to allow people to abuse your own interests — without following international norms or international law — without there being some consequence.”
President Barack Obama is meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on a 200-acre estate in Southern California on Friday and Saturday. Obama is expected to seek Xi's assurance that he takes seriously accusations of growing Chinese cyberspying, including snooping on advanced U.S. weapons designs.
“The reality is China is a major economic power,” Romney told Cavuto. “It will soon, over the next decade or two, pass us in terms of the size of their [gross domestic product]. They’re a very serious and significant competitor globally — and we’ve allowed them to manipulate their currency in a way that they’ve killed businesses in this country and killed a lot of jobs here.
“They’re taking advantage of us right now — and if we don’t set those rules and make sure they’re abiding by them now, we’ll never be able to do it a decade or so from now, when they won’t need us like they need us today,” he said.
Romney talked with Cavuto on the last day of his “Experts and Enthusiasts Summit” in Park City, Utah. Billed as an “ideas summit” for friends and supporters of the Romney campaign, the session brought together politicians and business leaders across the spectrum.
Among the Republicans attending were Romney’s 2012 vice presidential running mate, Sen. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin; as well as Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Democrats included former Clinton administration insider Erskine Bowles, longtime Obama adviser David Axelrod and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
“I wanted to bring together people actually from both sides of the aisle and people within each party who have different views about the priorities they think the nation should be pursuing,” Romney said.
The conclusion? “The priorities the Republicans were concerned about, the priorities Democrats were concerned about — the priorities are not being addressed.
“Instead, Washington is being pulled in a lot of different directions, but not doing what has to be done to get Americans to work, in good jobs, with better pay — and to secure a brighter future for our kids,” Romney said.
He told Cavuto that the Democrats in Utah this week were “gracious and willing to come and express their views. They were warmly received, even though we disagreed pretty vehemently on policy.
“But the funny thing is, we’re all Americans,” he continued. “We all care about the country. We get along on a personal basis. It’s helpful to have the kind of dialogue that looks for common ground and looks for common vision for the future.”
As for his own future, Romney said that did not include another run for the White House.
“We’ve got other people. I got my chance,” he told Cavuto. “I took my message to the American people. I wasn’t successful.
“It’s time for someone else to take their message to the people to see if they can be successful,” Romney added. “I’m optimistic about a Republican becoming the next president. I’m going to be working for our nominee, but I’m not running again.”
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.