Reporters for China’s state-run Global Times newspaper spoke to “Chinese experts” on Thursday about the U.S. vice-presidential debate on Wednesday night — One claimed the debate was especially important this year as “both presidential candidates are quite old” and “accidents can happen.”
Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times:
There are three main reasons why this year’s vice presidential debates are different. First, both presidential candidates are quite old. [President Donald] Trump is 74 and [former Vice President Joe] Biden is 77. Accidents can happen during the presidency, no matter who is elected. Thus, the winner of this year’s vice presidency is likely to become the possible president in the future.
During the vice-presidential debate, moderator Susan Page asked Vice President Mike Pence, 61, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), 55, to address the role of the vice president.
“One of you will make history on January 20 … [as] the vice president to the oldest president the United States has ever had. Donald Trump will be 74-years-old on Inauguration Day. Joe Biden will be 78-years-old. That already has raised concerns among some voters,” Page said.
She then asked both vice presidential candidates if they have “had a conversation or reached an agreement with” their party’s respective presidential candidates “about safeguards or procedures when it comes to the issue of presidential disability.”
Pence used his time to address Harris’s response to a previous question, later acknowledging that Trump had received “exceptional” care during his recent stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and from White House doctors as he recovered from the Chinese coronavirus. He praised the “transparency” of Trump’s doctors in communicating his improving condition to the American public, vowing that “they will continue [to practice transparency] because the American people have a right to know about the health and well-being of their President.”
Harris chose to respond to the same question concerning presidential disability, not by addressing Biden’s advanced age or the state of his health, but by explaining why she believes he chose her as his running mate, claiming that the two “were raised in a very similar way.”
Li told the Global Times on Thursday that, “It is worth noting that in Harris’ eyes, the US’ rival is Russia. For the Trump administration, China is the top enemy. … her China policy is less extreme than that of the current administration.”