Former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday called China a “serious challenge” and threat, marking a drastic change from his remarks on the foreign power last month.
“We are in a competition with China. We need to get tough with China. They are a serious challenge to us, and in some areas a real threat,” Biden said Tuesday at a presidential campaign event in Iowa.
But at a rally in May, Biden mocked a potential Chinese threat.
“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 east, I mean in the west,” Biden said in May.
Biden’s reversal follows blowback from commentators. Asia security analyst Gordon Change criticized Biden’s earlier comment dismissing a threat from China, telling The Hill Biden was “absolutely incorrect.”
In his speech on Tuesday, Biden didn’t just make an off-hand reversal, he took time to talk about the Chinese threat, “because it’s important,” and took aim at President Trump’s policies toward the country.
Biden said that Trump’s tariff war with China is “exacerbating the challenge,” and said he has hope that “if we do what we need to do here at home … we can out-compete anyone.”
“You bet I’m worried about China … if we keep following Trump’s path,” Biden said.
It’s not the first notable flip-flop the front-runner has made during the Democratic primary. Last week Biden’s campaign said he was still in favor of the controversial Hyde Amendment, which effectively bars low-income women from abortion access. Biden reversed his stance a day later after pushback from advocates and his primary challengers.