Carly Fiorina lays out plan to push back against China's "repressive, totalitarian regime"

Ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the White House next month, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina is knocking the country's "repressive, totalitarian regime" and advocating for more aggressive pushback from the United States.

"China has made a bargain with their people. Their people have accepted a repressive totalitarian regime in exchange for economic growth," Fiorina told "CBS This Morning" early Wednesday. "I would say first that we are going to be more aggressive in helping our allies in that region push back against new Chinese aggression, whether those allies are Australia, or Japan, or the Philippines."

Fiorina also laid out a strategy identifying the South China Sea as an important trade route to monitor.

"I would be conducting, actually now, at a moment when China's economy is wavering a bit, I would be conducting more flyovers on the South China Sea," she said. "We cannot permit China to control a trade route through which passed $5 trillion worth of goods and services a year."

Stocks in turmoil as China devalues currency

Fiorina's foreign policy proposals come just as China shook financial markets earlier this week when it devalued its currency following a slump in trade. The move sent stocks tumbling in the United States and could send shockwaves throughout Europe as well, potentially depressing overseas corporate profits.

The Republican presidential candidate also criticized recent cyber hacks on federal U.S. databases as an "act of aggression" against America.

"Chinese cyber-attacks are an act of aggression on the United States, and it must stop," Fiorina said. "It is also true that our government has to be more competent about detecting and repelling those attacks."

Fiorina touted her experience on the global stage as a qualification for the White House, saying that she knows "more world leaders on the stage today than anyone running."

"I understand the world and how it works and who's in it," Fiorina said. "I've led and transformed bureaucracies."

Fiorina, a former chief executive at Hewlett-Packard who has pivoted to politics in recent years, added that her bid for the Oval Office was gaining steam. Last Thursday's first Republican debate, she said, was a "big introduction" to the American public.

Carly Fiorina slams Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump

"Now that people know who I am, know that I'm capable of not only winning this job but doing this job, I'm going to continue doing what I've been doing, which is talking to as many voters as I can about what I think is necessary for our nation," Fiorina said.

In a recent poll, Fiorina gained ground with Iowa voters, even overtaking GOP establishment favorite Jeb Bush. She's also broken through to early-voting Republicans in New Hampshire, where she is now considered one of the top five candidates in the state.

Fiorina weighed in on another Republican candidate rising in popularity, Donald Trump.

After a weekend spat with the billionaire businessman on Twitter over his comments on Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, Fiorina added that the field of GOP contenders "will shake out over time."

"Each of our characters will continue to be revealed, over time and under pressure," Fiorina said.