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Ohio Gov. Kasich: TPP Will Change Repressive Vietnam

Ohio Gov. Kasich: TPP Will Change Repressive Vietnam

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (AP)

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Sunday, 18 September 2016 05:07 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Ohio Gov. John Kasich made a strong case Friday for greater trade with smaller countries in Asia, via TPP, to help them stand up to “repressive” regimes.

But the former Republican presidential hopeful left several who saw him in the White House Briefing Room a bit confused when he gave listed Vietnam as an Asian country we should definitely help.

According to a respected Human Rights Watch report, “Vietnam’s human rights record remains dire in all areas” and its ruling Communist Party “maintains a monopoly on political power and allows no challenge to its leadership.”

Kasich was at the White House Friday to rally support for the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, which is backed by President Obama and opposed by both Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Noting the opposition of China to the agreement, Kasich said “You look at [Chinese President] Xi [Jinping]. I'm astounded every day about another repressive technique that he uses to control his people, even going so far as to try to regulate or dismantle the youth involvement in politics in China.”

Because of the repressive nature of China, Kasich concluded, “it is absolutely critical that the United States stand with many of these nations that are, in some ways, economically weak — including a nation like Vietnam, that is now asking us to work with them to develop a strong partnership that would have an economic underpinning.”

But Vietnam, it appears, is just as repressive as China.

“Basic rights, including freedom of speech, opinion, press, association, and religion, are restricted,” according to Human Rights Watch. “Activists and bloggers face harassment, intimidation, physical assault, and imprisonment. Farmers continue to lose land to development projects without adequate compensation, and workers are not allowed to form independent unions. The police use torture and beatings to extract confessions. The criminal justice system lacks independence.”

When I asked Kasich why the United States should have greater trade with a country that is just as repressive on human rights as China, he replied: “It’s always an important matter to be talked about. [As a Member of Congress], I voted against MFN [Most Favored Nation trading status] for China a couple of times and then finally voted for it when the religious community told me they would have a better chance of integrating themselves with China by having access.”

Kasich pointed to the example of Myanmar, where longtime democracy advocate and former political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi is now in a position of political power following democratic elections.

“You have a lady there who is a remarkable person," he said. “Rome wasn’t built in a day. So there’s a lot of pressure on her to hurry things up and she’s got to deal with a lot of realities in that country. But that country is far better off with her being there [sharing power] than when the military ran it.”

Kasich added that “Progress sometimes comes slower than we like. But the world isn’t perfect. You’ve got to be moving forward.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.


 

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Ohio Gov. John Kasich made a strong case Friday for greater trade with smaller countries in Asia, via TPP, to help them stand up to “repressive” regimes.
tpp, kasich, china, aung
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2016-07-18
Sunday, 18 September 2016 05:07 PM
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