- Associated Press - Thursday, August 27, 2015

MIAMI (AP) - The United States must bolster its military, push for more free trade and hold China far more accountable on human rights, Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio writes in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal.

“A strong America - militarily, economically and morally - is the only path to lasting peace and partnership between the U.S. and China,” writes Rubio in the op-ed to be published in Friday’s edition of the newspaper. The piece appeared on the newspaper’s website Thursday night.

The U.S. senator from Florida is expected to provide details of his China policy Friday morning in Charleston, South Carolina, when he speaks to the Charleston Metro Chamber’s World Trade Center.

Rubio, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has promoted his foreign policy credentials as a GOP candidate. Earlier this month, he outlined his hardline positions toward Iran and Cuba, calling them “tyrannical regimes” in a New York City speech.

His China policy plan comes the same week the world’s financial markets were rattled following China’s decision earlier this month to weaken its currency.

Rubio described it as a “jarring illustration of how globalization is changing the U.S. economy.”

Rubio wrote that President Barack Obama has “continued to appease China’s leaders despite their mounting aggression” and that being more friendly with the Asian nation hasn’t worked.

The Republican called on downgrading President Xi Jinping’s trip to Washington next week to a working visit instead of a state visit. “This is an opportunity to speak bluntly to this authoritarian ruler and achieve meaningful progress, not to treat him to a state dinner,” he wrote.

If elected president, Rubio said he would build a stronger military presence in the Pacific, promote more free trade and free markets, and call on China to improve its human rights record by demanding that every political prisoner be freed.

“To achieve a new era of productive relations between our nations, America must stand on the side of the Chinese people rather than their autocratic rulers,” he wrote.

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