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2020-05-13 HKT 09:17
US President Donald Trump has seized on Americans' growing animosity toward China over the coronavirus outbreak to underpin his re-election pitch, arguing he will hit Beijing harder than anyone.
That is just so much tough talk, hardly substantiated by action, says the campaign for presumed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, senior adviser Jake Sullivan said in an interview.
Biden's campaign is preparing to roll out policies on how his future administration would better deal with China and will continue to show how Trump is weak on America's top geopolitical and economic competitor, Sullivan said.
"The vice-president intends to do two things: hold Trump accountable for a catastrophic set of failures in his approach to China, and a colossal gap between tough talk and weak action," said Sullivan, one of several former Barack Obama administration officials who comprise Biden's foreign policy team.
On the coronavirus, Biden will keep criticising Trump for repeatedly praising President Xi Jinping despite global concerns over a lack of transparency on the severity of the crisis, Sullivan said.
On global alliances, Biden's team argues that Trump is helping China by undermining US relations with traditional allies, and reducing America's role and influence in international institutions.
On the years-long trade war with China, Biden's campaign will highlight its contention that Americans have paid a significant price while getting little in return.
"It's fine for the president to want to push China to make changes," Sullivan said. "But you get judged not by the pushing, but by the changes."
Both candidates are spending millions of dollars ahead of the November 3 election on ad campaigns targeting the other's record on China, which has quickly become a focal point of the US presidential race.
Trump's campaign contends Biden will not be as tough on China. In an email to supporters on Tuesday, the Trump campaign called Biden the "China-loving candidate".
Negative views on China among Americans have grown to the highest levels in 15 years, with two-thirds of people holding an unfavorable opinion of the country, up 20 percentage points since Trump took office, according to a Pew Research Centre poll conducted in March. (Reuters)