Former Vice President and 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden downplayed China in a speech this week and declared that the communist nation isn’t a significant threat.
In a campaign trail speech delivered in Iowa City, Iowa, on Wednesday, Biden appeared to mock experts who have declared China as a top threat to the U.S., calling China “not bad folks” and “not competition for us.”
Watch his remarks in the video below:
“China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man — They can’t even figure out how to deal with the fact that they have this great division between the China Sea and the mountains 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 … They’re not competition for us,” he said.
Biden’s spokesperson, Andrew Bates, defended Biden’s comments, saying they weren’t dismissive of China.
“As he has many times, Vice President Biden underscored that, whatever challenges we face as a nation, including those posed by a rising China, they pale in comparison to the structural and social challenges that confront China itself,” Bates told CNN in a statement. “Joe Biden believes it’s never a good bet to bet against America and the fundamental strength, resilience and ingenuity of its people.”
Biden’s remarks have already gained backlash.
Sen. Mitt Romney retweeted a transcript of Biden’s comments with the caption, “This will not age well.”
This will not age well. https://t.co/IJ8vkPJ5SV
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) May 1, 2019
Rep. Bradley Byrne also spoke out again Biden’s comments, tweeting, “I was just at a manufacturing plant that is being threatened by China’s corrupt trade practices. Not to mention the national security threats they pose. Joe is plain wrong. China is absolutely a threat.”
Biden on China: “They’re not competition for us”
I was just at a manufacturing plant that is being threatened by China’s corrupt trade practices. Not to mention the national security threats they pose. Joe is plain wrong. China is absolutely a threat. pic.twitter.com/qOlr1YIAVR
— Bradley Byrne (@BradleyByrne) May 1, 2019
It’s not the first time Biden has spoken out about China.
In a commencement speech to graduates at Colby College in May 2017, Biden declared that the U.S. was “better positioned than any nation in the world to own the 21st Century,” according to TIME Magazine.
While speaking at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in late 2017, Biden also made remarks identical to his latest.
“I want China to succeed. The idea that they’re going to eat our lunch? They don’t have enough energy, they don’t have enough water,” Biden said.
— The Chicago Council (@ChicagoCouncil) November 1, 2017
At a Florida campaign event in October 2018, Biden referred to China as “a divided country in 1,000 ways” and added, “Don’t tell me China’s going to own America. It’s not possible,” according to Axios.
China has been an increasingly significant threat to the U.S., especially in the military, intelligence and cyber spheres.
Last month, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan referred to China as the top threat to the security of the U.S.
“China is a threat economically and diplomatically. I think it’s time we address some of these issues – militarization of the South China Sea, the Communist Chinese Party launching cyberattacks against the U.S., theft of intellectual property, and a significant expansion of military capability,” Shanahan told Fox News.