Pence Paints Biden as Soft on China, but Democrat's Position Looks Like Trump's

Vice President Pence says Democratic candidate Joe Biden is “cheerleading for China” and says that the Trump administration is “going to hold China accountable with what they did to America on the coronavirus.”

For much of Mr. Trump’s first term, the president led a more nuanced approach to China—putting pressure on Beijing through tariffs on the one hand, while on the other seeking to working with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on what officials had hoped would be a comprehensive trade deal to level the playing field between the two countries’ economies, a key focus of the 2016 election.

The administration in fact signed a limited “Phase One” deal in January that requires China to purchase more U.S. exports and observe international intellectual property norms. With little sign of a Phase Two, Democratic critics say the Trump administration left too much on the table.

“You lost that trade war,” Ms. Harris said.

Weeks after that Phase One deal, the coronavirus pandemic became widespread in the U.S., and Mr. Trump began blaming China for spreading the virus, which originated there.

The virus tensions have catalyzed a rapid worsening of U.S.-China ties amid other security and human-rights concerns. In fact, Mr. Biden has signaled that if he’s elected he’ll continue the current tough approach.