Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney warned about the unpredictable Chinese economy on Friday, saying it could suffer a downturn "at any point," with little Washington could do to stop it.
"China is obviously growing very quickly, but is fragile in many respects, and their economy could see a reversal at any point," the presumptive Republican presidential nominee told US financial network CNBC.
"I hope that doesn't happen, but it's certainly not as stable and predictable as you would hope," Romney said in discussing how turbulent conditions around the globe might impact the United States, where unemployment crept up on Friday to 8.2 percent amid a poor US jobs report.
"Of course the developments around the world always influence our jobs," Romney said.
China's government last week warned that the world's number two economy faces "increasing downward pressure" in the wake of weak economic data from April, while the World Bank said Beijing faced the daunting challenge of preventing an abrupt slowdown.
The Bank predicted that the Chinese economy will expand by 8.2 percent in 2012, down from 9.2 percent in 2011 and a boisterous 10.4 percent in 2010.
Romney has been a longtime critic of Chinese fiscal policy. He has pledged to brand China a currency manipulator on his first day in the White House and reverse what he said was Washington's current "trade surrender" to Beijing.
And he released a series of campaign videos recently hitting Obama on his China policy, in a sign he may use that to pressure Democrat Obama in crucial industrial swing states that are battlegrounds in November's election.
On Friday however Romney appeared to depart from that message, in what came across as an implicit recognition of the limits to the effects that US policy can have on Beijing.
"The real question is, what can we do?" Romney asked. "We can't change what's going to happen in Europe. We can't change what's going to happen in China," he said.
"We can hope for the best (and) offer our counsel."
Romney hit out at Obama for the poor US unemployment figures, saying they were an indictment of White House policies that discourage job growth and hamper an economic recovery.