China Policy Profiles: Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro

Castro began his political career in 2001 when he was elected to the San Antonio, Texas city council. Beginning in 2009, Castro served as the mayor of San Antonio until 2014. From 2014 to 2017, Castro served as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development on President Barack Obama’s cabinet. In these roles, Castro made little comments about his stance towards China and other foreign affairs issues.  

Julián Castro’s stance on China reflects that of fellow Democratic candidates. He believes that the United States needs to cooperate with other countries to address common concerns regarding China. Castro views China as a genuine competitor and recognizes that its economic and military growth may allow it to rival the United States in the near future. Castro wants the United States to return as a leader on the issue of human rights, repudiating China’s treatment of the Uyghur people. 

Castro, however, differs from other Democratic candidates in where he is choosing to build alliances. While other candidates are turning to Western European powers, Castro specifically emphasizes that he wants to focus on Latin America. Since they are the United States’ neighboring countries, Castro finds it especially important to have them as allies when forming a negotiation bloc to address growing Chinese influence in this part of the world. He also notes that China has been building relationships with countries in Africa, further supporting the idea that the United States should build more connections with developing countries