Former Sen. Joe Lieberman praised President Trump's China strategy on "America's Newsroom" Wednesday, after saying 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden may have flip-flopped on the issue.
The former vice presidential candidate said America can't run the risk of getting into a cold war with China and must stand firm with regard to intellectual property rights.
"Well, I've seen a lot of flip-flops in my day," said Lieberman, the former Independent senator from Connecticut. "I'd say that one just is low down on the scale. Here's what I mean. In the earlier comment, [Biden] was kind of Mr. Pro American ... Yesterday he said [China's] a challenge but not a threat. So I think in a way he clarified what he was trying to say earlier which seemed to be almost like don't worry about it. Don't worry about China. But we do have to worry about China. It's a growing power. And we have to worry not only about the challenge it represents to us, but that we make sure if we possibly can, that we not get into some kind of cold war with China because that would hurt us as well as them."
Lieberman said he has been assigned to work with the Chinese company GTE to assess why it's being viewed as a threat in the United States. He claimed it's safe for Americans to conduct business with China, but also warned against the country's history of stealing trade secrets.
"This telecom company ZTE, which, in a way, is a smaller version of what Huawei does [is] worried that there's still opposition to it doing business in the United States," he said.
"So they asked me not to lobby for them, but to find out what's on people's minds and what can we do to reassure people in American government, American business, American consumers that it's safe to buy ZTE products. So there's a lot of concerns here. Some of it is about historic patterns of China where there is some evidence that it's happened. For instance, some Chinese companies have stolen trade secrets from American companies."
Lieberman said Trump is taking the right approach with China by pushing for tariffs and publicly highlighting the rising conflict between the two superpowers.
"I do [agree with Trump] on the substance of [his China strategy] which is that these negotiations with the Chinese which are described as trade or tariff negotiations are really more than that," he said."If it was just tariffs I think we already would have had a deal."
"But the president is raising another kind of issue and it really is an important one to raise, which is the kind of structural differences between our two countries," Lieberman continued. "It's time for China -- it's a great economy now. Stop, if they are still stealing our trade secrets -- stop forcing American companies when they do business in China to share their technology with Chinese companies and reassure us that if we buy Chinese products you're not going to use them in some day of conflict between our two countries to compromise America."