Marco Rubio previewed his China policy speech, scheduled for Friday in North Charleston, South Carolina, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed:
Over the past week, we have been dealt a painful reminder of just how important U.S. policy toward China is in the 21st century. On Monday, due largely to a crash in China’s stock market, U.S. markets suffered their worst day in four years. Insecurity and anxiety about the future—already high for American families—climbed even higher. It was a jarring illustration of how globalization is changing the U.S. economy.
China presents both opportunities and challenges. Trade with its growing middle class has opened American businesses to hundreds of millions of new customers. But Beijing’s protectionist economic and trade policies increasingly endanger America’s financial well-being. China is also a rising threat to U.S. national security. Earlier this year, it was behind the largest cyberattack ever carried out against the United States.
President Obama has continued to appease China’s leaders despite their mounting aggression. In addition to his insufficient responses to economic and national-security concerns, he has ignored the Chinese government’s mass roundups of human-rights advocates, oppression of religious minorities, detention of political dissidents, ever-tightening controls on the Internet, and numerous other human-rights violations. He has hoped that being more friendly with China will make it more responsible. It hasn’t worked.
The U.S. must continue to pursue cooperation with China when possible, but we can no longer succumb to the illusion that more rounds of cordial dialogue with its rulers will effect a change of heart. That is why President Xi Jinping’s visit to Washington next week should not be canceled, but rather downgraded to a working visit from a state visit. This is an opportunity to speak bluntly to this authoritarian ruler and achieve meaningful progress, not to treat him to a state dinner.