Democratic White House contender Joe Biden pledged during the final US presidential debate on Thursday that, if elected, he would force China to “play by the international rules” when it came to trade, its treatment of foreign companies, and its actions in the South China Sea.
Seeking to distinguish himself from his onstage opponent, Biden said incumbent President Donald Trump “embraces guys like thugs like [Kim Jong-un] in North Korea and the Chinese president [Xi Jinping] and [Russia’s Vladimir] Putin and others, and he pokes his finger in the eye of all of our friends, all of our allies”.
“We need to be having the rest of our friends with us saying to China: these are the rules,” Biden said of his plans to rally American allies to pressure Beijing. “You play by them or you’re going to pay the price for not playing by them, economically.”
Biden said an administration under his leadership would not tolerate intellectual property infringements of American companies operating in China – long an objective of the Trump administration – and vowed to “not pay attention” to any air defence identification zones set up by Beijing over the South China Sea.