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Asked about Obama’s China Record, Biden Touts Beijing’s Signing of Paris Climate Accords

Joe Biden greets audience members during a campaign stop in Londonderry, N.H., July 13, 2019. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

During a campaign stop in Iowa on Thursday, former vice president Joe Biden touted China’s decision to sign the Paris Climate Accords as the Obama administration’s chief accomplishment with respect to the hostile foreign power.

“We did an awful lot with China. What we did with China, first of all, was we got them to join the Paris peace accord — the climate accord,” Biden told a reporter at a campaign appearance in Iowa, adding that the Obama administration also prompted Beijing to “change their direction in a number of areas in terms of foreign policy.”

China, the world’s top carbon emitter, was one of 200 countries that signed onto to the non-binding Paris Climate Accords in 2015. President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the agreement as one of his first acts in office, citing the lack of adequate enforcement measures to compel countries such as China and India to comply with its emissions-reduction targets.

During his first visit to Iowa in April, Biden mocked the idea that China, the world’s second largest economy, could meaningfully compete with the U.S.

“China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man,” Biden said, one week after announcing his run for the Democratic nomination.

Weeks later, in the wake of sharp criticism from fellow Democratic presidential aspirants, Biden reversed course, calling on the U.S. to “get tough on China” in response to its trade abuses, currency manipulation, and intellectual-property theft.

Despite his avowed willingness to confront China, Biden continues to criticize President Trump’s use of tariffs to compel Beijing to meet U.S. demands.

“President Trump may think he’s being tough on China. All that he’s delivered as a consequence of that is American farmers, manufacturers, and consumers losing and paying more,” Biden said during a foreign-policy speech in New York last month. “His economic decision-making is so shortsighted and as shortsighted as the rest of his foreign policy.”

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