China’s official news agency on Wednesday criticised what it called a “blame-China game” by US presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a day after he formally secured the Republican nomination. The conservative candidate’s tough talk on issues such as Taiwan and exchange rates could sour relations, the state-run Xinhua news agency said, noting that anti-China rhetoric often flares up during US elections. “While it is convenient for US politicians to hammer China and blame China for their own problems, they should be fully aware that their words and deeds are poisoning the general atmosphere of US-China relations,” it said. “It is high time for him to drop the ‘blame-China game’ that frequently emerged on his campaign trail in the past several months.” Romney has hammered Barack Obama for being weak on China, seeking to tap popular dissatisfaction over the struggling US economy and challenge the US president on foreign policy. He has pledged to brand China a “currency manipulator” on his first day in office, a move that could enable retaliatory sanctions and that the Obama administration declined to take in May. Romney has also pledged to impede China’s rise as a regional hegemon. Last September he criticised Obama for declining to sell F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan, saying his rival had “caved” in to China, which sees Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary. “If Romney’s talks on the Chinese currency are a mere distortion of facts aimed at wooing anti-China votes, his proposed policy on arms sales to Taiwan is treading a dangerous line as it touches China’s core interests,” Xinhua said. Obama has issued tamer criticisms of the Asian giant, announcing during a campaign stop last month that his government had filed a complaint against it with the World Trade Organisation over a tariff on American automobiles. Whoever wins in November, Xinhua said, may “have to spend some excruciating time looking for ways to remedy the damage to US-China relationship since the start of the campaign trail”.