The leader of the Democrats in the US House of Representatives on Thursday denounced Washington's China policy as a "total failure," particularly with respect to the spiraling US trade deficit.
"There has never been any good faith on the part of the Chinese to act in a way that is fair, that honors the opportunity that we give them to grow their economy by using our markets for that growth," Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said. "As a result, much sensitive technology, some of it related to weapons of mass destruction, was exported from China to unsafe countries."
Because of misguided US trade policy, "the trade deficit has soared, and religious repression continues, and we are up the creek," she told reporters at a press conference.
"The China policy of the United States -- Democrats' and Republicans' alike -- has been a total failure," she said.
Pelosi said US officials missed a golden opportunity to wield influence on China in the area of human rights and trade a decade and a half ago -- when the trade deficit was not as large.
"Going back 15 years when it was US$2 billion to US$3 billion in a year, I thought it gave us tremendous leverage to stop the Chinese government's proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to stop their unfair trade practices, and to stop their human-rights violations," she said.
"Today the trade deficit with China is US$2 billion to US$3 billion a week -- not a year, a week," she said.
"Today they rule the roost. They have an over 150-billion-dollar trade deficit a year with us. ... If they decided, for a day or two, to think about whether they were going to purchase our bonds, we would have a problem in our economy," she said.
Pelosi had words of scorn for "all those geniuses who told us that if we just continue to engage in the same trade relationship with China that there would be freedom in China, and it would stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and they would stop engaging in unfair trade practices."
"The United States had much more leverage early on with the Chinese ... before we gave them Most Favored Nation status permanently with nothing on their side ... before we smoothed the way for them to go into the WTO," she said.
"Our leverage is greatly diminished because of those decisions," Pelosi said, lamenting: "I don't know if you can turn back on it."
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