While Joe Biden has spent much of the campaign criticizing US President Donald Trump’s policies toward China, his own platform sounds more like a change of tactics than a strategy overhaul.
The former US vice president — a long-time member of a foreign policy establishment that advocated engagement with Beijing — has shifted along with the rest of Washington toward a more confrontational tone during Trump’s term, denouncing Xi Jinping as a “thug.” Still, the Democratic nominee has faced few questions about how he would handle China more effectively than his Republican opponent.
What Biden has said so far points to a more multilateral approach that places greater emphasis on alliances and human rights and is less reliant on tariffs and arms sales. Here’s where he stands on some of the biggest flash points between the world’s two largest economies:
Biden has mocked Trump’s January trade deal with Xi as “hollow” and blamed the president’s tariffs for accelerating the decline in American manufacturing. But he hasn’t committed to either scrapping the pact or withdrawing the tariffs — two key sources of leverage over China for the next administration.
“I will use tariffs when they are needed, but the difference between me and Trump is that I will have a strategy — a plan — to use those tariffs to win, not just to fake toughness.” — Biden, in statement to United Steelworkers in May