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Obama, Romney reverse roles on China

Published on Oct 23, 2012 12:48 PM

WASHINGTON: After months of bellicose talk about getting tough with China on the campaign trail, the expectations going into the third and final presidential debate were for Republican challenger Mitt Romney to come out swinging hard on China.

But in their comments on China's trade and currency policies on Monday night, Mr Romney and President Barack Obama appeared to reverse roles somewhat - Mr Romney surprisingly striking a far more cooperative and conciliatory tone than he has before, while Mr Obama went on the offensive.

Asked about China's rise and future challenges this poses for the United States, Mr Obama labelled China as "both an adversary but also a potential partner in the international community if it's following the rules".

Analysts quickly noted that this was the first time Mr Obama used the term "adversary" in reference to China, and that his comment goes against his administration's careful messaging on the US-China relationship over the past four years.

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