AMES, United States (AFP) — US 2008 Republican front-runner Rudolph Giuliani on Thursday warned that emerging China was a "great challenge" to the United States, and backed continued engagement with Beijing.
But the former New York mayor also called for an increase in US military strength to deter China from ever mounting a security challenge to America, and said he would push Beijing faster on introducing political freedoms.
"China is a great challenge to the United States, and maybe one of the most important challenges," Giuliani told an audience of mainly students at Iowa State University.
"We will be the two great economies in the world. The more we make sure China's rise is peaceful, the better it is going to help the United States," Giuliani said in response to a question from a Chinese student.
"We should remain substantially engaged with China."
Giuliani's comments marked one of his first significant discussions of China policy during his campaign, and signalled he would continue the engagement strategy favored by recent US administrations if elected president.