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Backgrounder: Claims of McCain, Obama on key U.S. foreign policy issues
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08:26, November 05, 2008

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The following are major claims on key foreign policy issues between Republican candidate John McCain and Democrat candidate Barack Obama, both are racing for U.S. presidential election on November 4, 2008.


Both McCain and Obama support boosting U.S. troops from 32,000 to some 36,000 in Afghanistan to crash down Taliban and al-Qaida there and inside the bordering Pakistan. Obama, however, claims the reinforcements should be mobilized from Iraq.


Acknowledging China's rising influence in the world, both McCain and Obama support One-China policy and continuing trade with China. The two also call on the Chinese government to revalue RMB and to exert more influence on international affairs. McCain is focused on China's military buildups.


Both McCain and Obama oppose Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, and reiterate the United States would protect Israel from Iran's nuclear threat. Obama said he would be willing to meet with Iran's leaders without preconditions, while McCain labeled Obama's willingness as "naive," but supports diplomatic efforts on Iran's nuclear dispute.


Obama called for a 16-month timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq to reinforce the troops in Afghanistan, in an effort to crack down Taliban and al-Qaida there and inside the bordering Pakistan. McCain rejected to set any timetable for the withdrawal, voicing the U.S. troops should remain in Iraq according to security situation there.


Both McCain and Obama have vowed steady U.S.-Israeli relationship and promised to push the Israeli-Palestinian peace process forward. Expectably, the next U.S. administration would continue to act the major mediator to the process, which re-launched during the Bush period at the Annapolis peace conference.


Both McCain and Obama see the six-party talks as a viable mechanism to solve the nuclear issue of Korean Peninsula. Obama has said he will unconditionally to hold direct talks with Kim Jong Il, top leader of Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), while McCain expressed his doubt on DPRK'S commitment denuclearization.


Obama has said that the United States should take unilateral step to get top al-Qaida member out of Pakistan if Islamabad fails to take effective measures. While McCain claims he would seek cooperation with the Pakistan government.


Both McCain and Obama protest Russia's military operations in Georgia and favor absorbing Georgia and Ukraine into the NATO military bloc. McCain, moreover, has stated his desire to have Russia removed from the G8.


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