Biden on China: ‘It’s Not About Punishing Them’ for COVID, It’s Getting Them to Follow International Norms

During an interview with CNN on Thursday, Joe Biden stated that “it’s not about punishing” China for its handling of the coronavirus, but rather the key is “insisting that there be international norms that are established that they play by.”

Host Jake Tapper asked, “The president-elect has said he will not immediately remove the Trump tariffs on China. Should the Chinese government, in your view, be further punished for mishandling and hiding the truth about the novel coronavirus that began there?”

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) responded that due to not being in office yet and being early in the process of having access to classified information, “we’re not in a position to respond to that specifically.”

Biden added, “Jake, the president’s approach to China has been backwards. My concern from the beginning, I’ve spoken about it, and I’ve met with Xi more times than anybody had up until the time we left office, that I’m aware of, is to make it real clear to China, there are international rules that if you want to play by, we’ll play with you. If you don’t, we’re not going to play, number one. Number two, it’s not about punishing them for the COVID virus. It’s about insisting that there be international norms that are established that they play by.”

Biden cited China’s theft of national secrets and artificial intelligence capacity as examples where China must be held to international norms. He further stated that China’s requirement that tech firms that do business in the country have 51% Chinese partners is “not going to happen in our administration.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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