WASHINGTON - Mitt Romney lashed out at what he called US President Barack Obama's weak policy on China, criticizing it on Thursday for going in "precisely the wrong direction" and calling meetings this week with China's vice president "empty pomp and ceremony."
In an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, the Republican presidential candidate chided Obama for taking too long to address the Asian powerhouse and said he would change course if elected by preserving a military presence in the region and confronting human rights issues.
"President Obama came into office as a near supplicant to Beijing, almost begging it to continue buying American debt so as to finance his profligate spending here at home ... Such weakness has only encouraged Chinese assertiveness and made our allies question our staying power in East Asia," the former Massachusetts governor wrote.
"Now, three years into his term, the president has belatedly responded with a much-ballyhooed 'pivot' to Asia, a phrase that may prove to be as gimmicky and vacuous as his 'reset' with Russia," he said, adding that "the supposed pivot has been oversold" and was "also vastly under-resourced."