2016 Party Platforms & Campaign Resources on Asia

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The official party platforms of the Republican and Democratic parties both contained policy stances on issues directly and indirectly relevant to Asia. Below is a side-by-side comparison of the exact language on selected issues from each document. Follow these links for the full Republican Party Platform and Democratic Party Platform.

In addition, congressional Republicans and congressional Democrats have released their own foreign policy documents, both of which contain Asia-related stances. Follow these links for the Republican “Better Way” document and the New Democrat Coalition national security principles.

Please scroll down or click here for additional resources on key Asia issues that have been published by the Clinton/Kaine and Trump/Pence campaigns.

 

2016 Democratic Party Platform

2016 Republican Party Platform

On Allies and Partners in the Asia-Pacific:

Click here for quotes from the candidates on this topic

“From the Asia Pacific to the Indian Ocean, we will deepen our relationships in the region with Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand. We will honor our historic commitment to Japan. We will continue to invest in a long-term strategic partnership with India-the world's largest democracy, a nation of great diversity, and an important Pacific power. We will build on the historic opening with Burma and advocate for greater human rights protections and national reconciliation among Burma's many different ethnic groups.” (p 49)

“We are a Pacific nation with economic, military, and cultural ties to all the countries of the oceanic rim and treaty alliances with Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Philippines, and Thailand.” (p 48)

"India is our geopolitical ally and a strategic trading partner. The dynamism of its people and the endurance of their democratic institutions are earning their country a position of leadership not only in Asia but throughout the world. We encourage the Indian government to permit expanded foreign investment and trade, the key to rising living standards for those left out of their country’s energetic economy. For all of India’s religious communities, we urge protection against violence and discrimination. Republicans note with pride the contributions to our country that are made by our fellow citizens of Indian ancestry." (p 49)

On North Korea:

Click here for quotes from the candidates on this topic

“North Korea is perhaps the most repressive regime on the planet, run by a sadistic dictator. It has conducted several nuclear tests and is attempting to develop the capability to put a nuclear warhead on a long-range missile that could directly threaten the United States. The regime is also responsible for grave human rights abuses against the North Korean people. Yet Donald Trump praises North Korea’s dictator; threatens to abandon our treaty allies, Japan and South Korea; and encourages the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the region. This approach is incoherent and rather than solving a global crisis, would create a new one. Democrats will protect America and our allies, press China to restrain North Korea, and sharpen the choices for Pyongyang to compel it to abandon its illegal nuclear and missile programs.” (p 43)

“Democrats will push back against North Korean aggression and press China to play by the rules.” (p 49)

“With them, we look toward the establishment of human rights for the people of North Korea. We urge the government of China to recognize the inevitability of change in the Kim family’s slave state and, for everyone’s safety against nuclear disaster, to hasten positive change on the Korean peninsula.” (p 48)

“The United States will continue to demand the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program with full accounting of its proliferation activities. We also pledge to counter any threats from the North Korean regime.”  (p 48)

On China:

Click here for quotes from the candidates on this topic

"China and other countries are using unfair trade practices to tilt the playing field against American workers and businesses. When they dump 14 cheap products into our markets, subsidize state-owned enterprises, devalue currencies, and discriminate against American companies, our middle class pays the price. That has to stop. Democrats will use all our trade enforcement tools to hold China and other trading partners accountable—because no country should be able to manipulate their currencies to gain a competitive advantage." (p 13)

“We will stand up to Beijing on unfair trade practices, currency manipulation, censorship of the internet, piracy, and cyberattacks. And we will look for areas of cooperation, including on combatting climate change and nuclear proliferation.” (p 49)

"We cannot allow China to continue its currency manipulation, exclusion of U.S. products from government purchases, and subsidization of Chinese companies to thwart American imports. The current Administration’s way of dealing with these violations of world trade standards has been a virtual surrender." (p 2) 

"Today, the worst offenses against intellectual property rights come from abroad, especially in China. We call for strong action by Congress and a new Republican president to enforce intellectual property laws against all infringers, whether foreign or domestic." (p 15)

“China’s behavior has negated the optimistic language of our last platform concerning our future relations with China. The liberalizing policies of recent decades have been abruptly reversed, dissent brutally crushed, religious persecution heightened, the internet crippled, a barbaric population control two-child policy of forced abortions and forced sterilizations continued, and the cult of Mao revived.” (p 48)

On Taiwan:

Notable quotes for this topic could not be found for either campaign

“We are committed to a “One China” policy and the Taiwan Relations Act and will continue to support a peaceful resolution of Cross-Strait issues that is consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people of Taiwan.” (p 49)

“We salute the people of Taiwan, with whom we share the values of democracy, human rights, a free market economy, and the rule of law. Our relations will continue to be based upon the provisions of the Taiwan Relations Act, and we affirm the Six Assurances given to Taiwan in 1982 by President Reagan.” (p 48)

“We oppose any unilateral steps by either side to alter the status quo in the Taiwan Straits on the principle that all issues regarding the island’s future must be resolved peacefully, through dialogue, and be agreeable to the people of Taiwan. If China were to violate those principles, the United States, in accord with the Taiwan Relations Act, will help Taiwan defend itself.” (p 48)

“We praise efforts by the new government in Taipei to continue constructive relations across the Taiwan Strait and call on China to reciprocate. As a loyal friend of America, Taiwan has merited our strong support, including free trade agreement status, the timely sale of defensive arms including technology to build diesel submarines, and full participation in the World Health Organization, International Civil Aviation Organization, and other multilateral institutions.” (p 48)

On the South China Sea:

Click here for quotes from the candidates on this topic

“We will also work with our allies and partners to fortify regional institutions and norms as well as protect freedom of the seas in the South China Sea.”  (p 49)

“To distract the populace from its increasing economic problems and, more importantly, to expand its military might, the government asserts a preposterous claim to the entire South China Sea and continues to dredge ports and create landing fields in contested waters where none have existed before, ever nearer to U.S. territories and our allies, while building a navy far out of proportion to defensive purposes.” (p 48)

"The complacency of the Obama regime has emboldened the Chinese government and military to issue threats of intimidation throughout the South China Sea, not to mention parading their new missile, “the Guam Killer,” down the main streets of Beijing, a direct shot at Guam as America’s first line of defense." (p 48)

On Human Rights and Democracy in China:

Click here for quotes from the candidates on this topic

“We will promote greater respect for human rights, including the rights of Tibetans.” (p 49)

“Meanwhile, cultural genocide continues in Tibet and Xinjiang, the promised autonomy of Hong Kong is eroded, the currency is manipulated, our technology is stolen, and intellectual property and copyrights are mocked in an economy based on piracy. In business terms, this is not competition; it is a hostile takeover. For any American company to abet those offenses, especially governmental censorship and tracking of dissenters, is a disgrace.” (p 48)

“The return to Maoism by China’s current rulers is not reason to disengage with the Chinese people or their institutions. We welcome students, tourists, and investors, who can see for themselves our vibrant American democracy and how real democracy works. We caution, however, against academic or cultural operations under the control of the Chinese government and call upon American colleges to dissociate themselves from this increasing threat to academic freedom and honest research.” (p 48)

On Human Rights and Democracy in Southeast Asia:

Click here for quotes from the candidates on this topic

“We will build on the historic opening with Burma and advocate for greater human rights protections and national reconciliation among Burma’s many different ethnic groups.” (p 49) “Most of the nations of Southeast Asia have set aside crippling ideologies and sought material progress in free enterprise and democracy. We congratulate the people of Burma on their emergence from authoritarian rule and urge their respect for the rights of their country’s minority populations. Our improved relations with Vietnam — including arms sales — must advance efforts to obtain an accounting for, and repatriation of the remains of, Americans who gave their lives in the cause of Vietnamese freedom. We cannot overlook the continued repression of fundamental rights and religious freedom, as well as retribution against ethnic minorities and others who assisted U.S. forces during the conflict there.” (p 48)
On Trade and the TPP:

Click here for quotes from the candidates on this topic

"China and other countries are using unfair trade practices to tilt the playing field against American workers and businesses. When they dump 14 cheap products into our markets, subsidize state-owned enterprises, devalue currencies, and discriminate against American companies, our middle class pays the price. That has to stop. Democrats will use all our trade enforcement tools to hold China and other trading partners accountable—because no country should be able to manipulate their currencies to gain a competitive advantage." (p 13)

“While we believe that openness to the world economy is an important source of American leadership and dynamism, we will oppose trade agreements that do not support good American jobs, raise wages, and improve our national security. We believe any new trade agreements must include strong and enforceable labor and environmental standards in their core text with streamlined and effective enforcement mechanisms. Trade agreements should crack down on the unfair and illegal subsidies other countries grant their businesses at the expense of ours. It should promote innovation of and access to lifesaving medicines. And it should protect a free and open internet. We should never enter into a trade agreement that prevents our government, or other governments, from putting in place rules that protect the environment, food safety, or the health of American citizens or others around the world. These are the standards Democrats believe must be applied to all trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).” (p 14)  

“International trade is crucial for all sectors of America’s economy. Massive trade deficits are not. We envision a worldwide multilateral agreement among nations committed to the principles of open markets, what has been called a “Reagan Economic Zone,” in which free trade will truly be fair trade for all concerned.” (p 2)

"We cannot allow China to continue its currency manipulation, exclusion of U.S. products from government purchases, and subsidization of Chinese companies to thwart American imports. The current Administration’s way of dealing with these violations of world trade standards has been a virtual surrender." (p 2) 

"At the same time, we look to broaden our trade agreements with countries which share our values and commitment to fairness, along with transparency in our commercial and business practices. In pursuing that objective, the American people demand transparency, full disclosure, protection of our national sovereignty, and tough negotiation on the part of those who are supposed to advance the interests of U.S. workers. Significant trade agreements should not be rushed or undertaken in a Lame Duck Congress." (p 3) 

"Today, the worst offenses against intellectual property rights come from abroad, especially in China. We call for strong action by Congress and a new Republican president to enforce intellectual property laws against all infringers, whether foreign or domestic." (p 15)

On US Territories in the Pacific:

Notable quotes for this topic could not be found for either campaign

(no mention of this issue)

“Throughout the history of our nation, the patriotism exhibited by our brothers and sisters in the territories of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico has often gone unacknowledged. Year after year, the citizens quietly, without fanfare, send their sons and daughters into the U.S. Armed Services.  […]“We call for the appointment of a commonwealth and territories advisory committee consisting of representatives from all five U.S. territories. The committee will be integrated into the president’s transition team and be tasked with performing a holistic review of all federal regulations affecting the territories and commonwealths.” (p 30)

"The complacency of the Obama regime has emboldened the Chinese government and military to issue threats of intimidation throughout the South China Sea, not to mention parading their new missile, “the Guam Killer,” down the main streets of Beijing, a direct shot at Guam as America’s first line of defense." (p 48)

 


The following is a collection of each campagin's documents outlining policy positions pertaining to the Asia-Pacific and key issues relevant to the region. For methodology, please scroll down or click here.  

 Hillary Clinton/Tim Kaine (Democrat)

For these candidates' connections to Asia profiles and stances, click here. For quotations from these candidates on key Asia issues, click here


Selected Documents on Asia since Hillary Clinton's April 12, 2015 Candidacy Announcement 

Image: Bogdan Rosu. Flaticon.com National Security and Allies in the Asia Pacific

 

Image: Freepik. Flaticon.com. Trade/The Trans-Pacific Partnership

Image: Freepik. Flaticon.com Immigration from Asia

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Donald Trump/Mike Pence (Republican)

For these candidates' connections to Asia profiles and stances, click here.  For quotations from these candidates on key Asia issues, click here


Selected Documents on Asia since Donald Trump's June 16, 2015 Candidacy Announcement 

 

Image: Bogdan Rosu. Flaticon.com National Security and Allies in the Asia Pacific

Image: Freepik. Flaticon.com Trade/The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

Image: Freepik. Flaticon.com Immigration from Asia

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Lead researchers:  Melissa Newcomb and Sarah Wang.    

Methodology: Candidates included in this effort are those being tracked at the national level by the non-partisan RealClearPolitics poll tracker as of March 18th, 2016. Candidates who subsequently suspend or end their campaigns will be removed from this database. Documents were found through open sources such as: news, media, Congressional office websites, candidate campaign pages, candidate websites, online media, etc. Works dated before the presidential candidates announced his/her official campaign have not been included. For the vice presidential candidates, resources dated before their candidacy that are present on their office websites within the last are included and sourced as taking place while they served in their respective roles. 

Image Sources: Globe icon made by Bogdan Rosu at http://www.flaticon.com. All other ther icons made by Freepik at http://www.flaticon.com.