Romney said the United States can "be a partner with China" but also suggested Beijing was "holding down artificially the value of their currency." Obama touted growing economic ties to China but stressed the so-called military pivot to Asia served as a reminder "that America is a Pacific power."
An editorial in China's state-run Xinhua News Agency said a "few relieving words" were "quickly overshadowed by traditional campaign tricks of scapegoating and ill-grounded hypotheses."
Both candidates, Xinhua said, are flexing their muscles when it comes to China.
"The tactic only serves to reveal that the world's superpower, indeed or temporarily, is running out of ways to sort out the real problems," the editorial read. "Bashing China is a much easier and more convenient foil to score political gains."
Last week's U.S. presidential debate sparked a similar reaction from Xinhua, which said economic issues are too intertwined to risk alienating Beijing.