Noted: No mention of China in Obama press conference

The headlines says it all, and I’m not motivated to speculate on what this means at any length, but I didn’t remember anything on China in the Sept. 10 presser and did a word search on the transcript. Nothing.

I wouldn’t draw many conclusions from this, but it shows that the reporters who got to ask a question didn’t think China-related issues were newsworthy enough to bring up, and the president didn’t feel motivated to bring up China on his own.I wonder whether China issues, which are complex and involve economic, security, and cultural concerns, will continue to ride low until the midterm elections.

The Obama–McCain presidential campaign in 2008 was marked by an unusual absence of rhetoric involving being “tough” on China. As a candidate, Hillary Clinton had more to say about “standing up” to China. As secretary of state, she has unsurprisingly been more diplomatic. But both Obama and McCain in my memory let the China issue alone and argued about other things.

If my impressions are right here, it leads to a question: Why don’t U.S. politicians want to touch China in an election year?

1 thought on “Noted: No mention of China in Obama press conference

  1. Ella

    It’s interesting that you picked this out – #hypersenseofarealchinawatchers David Lampton just did a talk on US-China relations literally an hour ago, and one take-away (I think it might well be one of the answers to your question) is that there is rising mistrust between the two countries, and there are misconceptions among both publics – the Americans tend to greatly exaggerate China’s power and Chinese are seeing America as trying to contain their country while underestimate US power. And since “policy is not what you say, but what they hear”, and the gap in existing conception about China in terms of what is a rational approach to China/what is the approach the Americans would likely their government to take/and what is the message the Chinese would sense from their rhetoric is so huge, it’s really very dangerous for them to talk about this issue. So in this sense, avoiding talking about it may be the best strategy.

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