Former Vice President Joe Biden downplayed again the threat of China, saying the Chinese economy or its influence won’t overtake the U.S., reiterating his previous stance that China is not a competitor.
Biden made the comments during a campaign stop in Manchester, New Hampshire on Monday, just weeks after facing bipartisan criticism over his comments on China.
“What are we doing? We're walking around with our heads down, 'Woe is me,'” the leading 2020 Democrat told the crowd. “No other nation can catch us, including China. I got criticized for saying that. I've spent as much time with [Chinese President] Xi Jinping as any world leader has.”
At another rally in Hampton, Biden slammed President Trump over his tough stance towards China and the escalating trade war, saying Trump “gone about it all the wrong way.”
“The president has done nothing but increase the tariffs, the debt, and the trade deficit. The way we have to proceed is we have to have our allies with us. It’s not just us. We have to keep the world together,” Biden said in the wake Trump raising tariffs to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, while the Chinese retaliated with tariffs from 10 percent up to 20-25 percent on some American goods and products.
Biden has been criticized for a weak stance towards China earlier this month after he somewhat mocked those taking the China threat seriously.
“China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man!” Biden exclaimed at a rally in Iowa. “The fact that they have this great division between the China Sea and the mountains in the East – I mean in the West.”
“They can't figure out how they're going to deal with the corruption that exists within the system. They're not bad folks, folks. But guess what, they're not competition for us.”
“They can't figure out how they're going to deal with the corruption that exists within the system. They're not bad folks, folks. But guess what, they're not competition for us,” he said.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted “it’s wrong to pretend that China isn’t one of our major economic competitors” while Utah Sen. Mitt Romney wrote that Biden’s comments would “not age well.”
Assistant Defense Secretary for Asia Randall Schriver, a top Pentagon official, weighed on the issue and dismissed Biden’s comments, telling reporters that “I'll stick with the language in our national security strategy and our national defense strategy, which identifies China as a strategic competitor.”
Trump, meanwhile, said Biden was among many politicians “naïve” over China. “For somebody to be so naive, and say China's not a problem -- if Biden actually said that, that's a very dumb statement.”
Following the initial criticism, he reportedly backtracked on his comments, saying during a fundraiser in South Carolina that “He’s got problems, he’s got gigantic problems. Doesn’t mean he’s not a threat, doesn’t mean they’re not a threat.”