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The Obama-Romney foreign policy debate as seen on Sina Weibo

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 October, 2012, 8:54am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 October, 2012, 11:09am

The third and final debate between US presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney takes place today.

With "the rise of China" one of the set topics for the debate and likely to dominate discussion throughout, interest has peaked on Chinese social networking sites; we've pulled some of what is being said on Sina Weibo in real-time and will continue updating this space throughout the duration of the debate.

10-11:00am

'Humour vs Arrogance': The third debate is over. It went smoothly, no fireworks, nothing was said that hasn't been said before. The discussion regarding China only lasted approximately 5 minutes, and again nothing said then wasn't something that hadn't already been said. Overall, it was quite reserved. Even though Romney insisted that he'll stick to his pledge to declare China a currency manipulator on his first day in the White House, he still seemed much more reserved than in the previous debates. You can't help but admire the way Americans lay out all their main foreign policy positions and let voters decide.

'American': Is it me or do Obama and Romney seem to have a more moderate and rational stance on China tonight than in the previous debates? The way Romney keeps trying to explain himself, it feels like he's just going off topic.

'Stateside Ball': Obama and Romney are debating a response to China's rise. More or less, they're both just saying that the US will make sure China "plays by the rules".

'Ah Fei': The US presidential election is running white-hot now; Beijing hopes that the friendlier of the two candidates, Obama, will stay on for a second term, but judging from the way things look now, regardless of if Romney or Obama wins the election, the US' efforts to contain China won't be scaling back anytime during the coming four years!

9-10:00am

Angela Bao, student at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in New York: Romney is smart; while Obama went about how Egypt can be rebuilt and the US' geopolitical advantage in the region can be maintained, Romney pointed out that all this is contingent on a strong economy back home. The discussion then temporarily jumped back to the economy, before it was cut off by the moderator and both sides were told to continue discussing the United States' role in the world.

Zhang Xin, CEO of Beijing real estate developer Soho China: Foreign policy truly is not Romney's strong suit; being president definitely has its advantages in this debate.

Wang Ran, Beijing-based CEO of Chinese investment bank eCapital Corporation: Every country has its own unique situation, and many things can't just me automatically reproduced. However, I think that we should at least know what politics can look like, where we are headed, as well as what is able to bring people greater freedom and security, and give the country both a stronger framework and a stronger core. This is the kind of consensus on reform that we need.

Yang Jidong, head of the Asia Library at the University of Michigan: It's the final debate between Obama and Romney, and it's completely boring. There's hardly any difference between the foreign policy of America's two parties, so there's not much to debate.

'New York Villager': On the Syria question, Obama responds: Assad must step down, but the most important thing is the Syrian people are able to make their own decisions. We support them and are committed to providing assistance, but won't get directly involved. Quite different from what Romney proposes, arming the Syrian opposition. Romney: We should seek out our allies...yaddayadda...establish a commission to allow us and our allies in the Middle East to assist the rebels. In short: neither of them said anything new.

Pingfan Hong, chief of Global Economic Monitoring in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) at the United Nations: That an American presidential debate on foreign policy opens with a question on the Middle East just illustrates how important the Middle East remains within US foreign policy.

New York-based PR professional Sammi: As many expected, terrorism in the Middle East was the first question raised. By opening with "not to be funny on purpose", Romney was clearly referring to Obama's attacks on him in the second debate. To be honest, Obama's performance that day on this issue really didn't seem like what you would expect from the president of a major global power.

US-based viewer Lao Du: Romney seems much more relaxed than in the second debate. Obama, meanwhile, seems like a crawling ________ (fill in the blank with the animal of your choice).

Chen Zhiwu: Barring the unforeseen, Romney should come out on top from tonight's presidential debate, the main reason being that American voters have little to say on (and don't really understand) foreign policy. As the incumbent president, Obama has had four years to work with foreign policy, which leaves him open to attack in many areas. Romney's lack of involvement in foreign policy leaves little for his opponent to criticise, whereas Romney can take all the shots he wants. That dissymmetry will give Romney the upper hand. Romney has a much higher probability of winning than he did three weeks ago.

8-9:00am

Yale university finance professor Chen Zhiwu: Tonight's theme is foreign policy, and both sides will throw plenty of punches at China, with Romney in particular. Don't expect much response from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), this is an election after all and anything they say up until Romney is elected president won't matter much. The most to be expected from MOFA will be something like 'Regardless of who the US president is, we firmly believe that friendly China-US relations is in the United States' best interest.'

Guo Jie, chairman of World Team Sports Management Group: I support Obama, not only because he welcomes "China's rise", but even more so because he has a firmer grasp of foreign policy than Romney, a more rational approach. A peaceful world needs that in a leader!

Yicai.com finance journalist Chen Xiaochen: Even if Romney is elected president, it won't be the end of Sino-US relations. A politician's ability to lie is what balances out his or her competence. If Romney manages to jump ahead and get elected, it'll have been because he's an exceptionally successful politician. His first item of business on his first day on the job won't be to follow through on his promises, but to put those at the back of his mind.

 
 
 

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