GREENWICH, Conn. — The backgrounds of U.S. congressional candidates Jim Himes and Steve Obsitnik were evident in how the two plan to handle China, if elected, during Wednesday’s debate in Greenwich.
Himes, a businessman, stressed the importance of trading with China and getting that country to buy American-made products. He said he does not agree with China’s style of government and would never condone how it acts but said it has similar interests to the United States.
“It’s not an enemy, it’s a frenemy,” the Democratic Congressman said, using the term meaning a relationship that is beneficial and competitive, according to the Urban Dictionary. Other countries, including Pakistan and Iran, express more of an immediate military concern, he said.
Obsitnik, who also has a background in business and continually brought up his service record as a submarine commander, expressed the need to build up a military presence in Chinese waters for a possible naval battle. He said a submarine presence will be necessary in the long-term planning of how to deal with China.
“People tend to focus on the wars we’re in now, and not the battles we’ll be in later,” the Republican challenger said. “It’s our greatest national security threat and our greatest national opportunity commercially.”
More than 300 people attended the debate at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich. It was moderated by Kay Maxwell, executive director of the World Affairs Forum, which served as one of the co-sponsors of the debate focused on foreign affairs.
The two have more debates scheduled. The next one is Oct. 18 in Norwalk. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6.