Foreign Affairs chairman: Palin’s China speech ‘flat wrong’

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R) message about U.S.-Chinese relations in a Hong Kong speech this week was "flat wrong," one key congressman said Thursday.

Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, slammed the former governor’s first speech since leaving office as irresponsible and ill-informed.

"Leaving aside the propriety of criticizing the president while on her first trip to Asia, the assertion that the United States is ignoring areas of disagreement with China is flat wrong," Berman said in a statement.

Palin’s highly-anticipated speech included a number of critiques of U.S. policy, as well as criticisms of the country’s relationship with China.

Palin told investors at the CLSA Asia Pacific Markets Conference that the U.S. cannot "turn a blind eye" to human rights abuses in China, and said that the U.S. government should press the Chinese more on trade rules and its relationship with Taiwan.

Berman took strong exception to those characterizations, and defended this summer’s Strategic and Economic Dialogue between U.S. and China as a significant dialogue toward resolving differences between the two powers.

"When I met with Chinese leaders in August, they were very open about aspects of trade, human rights and global security on which we still are seeking agreement, but were overwhelmingly positive about the current state of the U.S.-China relationship," he said. "I believe this is the direct result of the work that the Obama administration has done to put this relationship on the right course.”

"In remarks before business leaders in Hong Kong, former Governor Palin urged China to ‘rise responsibly,’" Berman also said. "As she continues on the lecture circuit, Ms. Palin would do well to take her own advice."

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