Sep 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden calls Russia an "opponent," sees China as a "serious competitor"

Biden speaks while gesturing with his hands
Joe Biden at a CNN town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Photo courtesy of CNN.

Joe Biden described Russia as an "opponent" of the U.S. at a CNN town hall on Thursday, while identifying China as a "serious competitor."

Flashback: The former vice president opened himself to attacks early in his campaign last year when he said China was "not competition" for the U.S. — a comment that drew criticism from both Democrats and Republicans, per Axios' Jonathan Swan.

What he's saying: "I believe Russia is an opponent. I really do," Biden said Thursday. "And look, Putin's overwhelming objective is to break up NATO, to fundamentally alter the circumstance in Europe so he doesn't have to face an entire NATO contingent."

  • Biden noted that the U.S. trade deficit with China has surged, adding: "I view China as a competitor. A serious competitor. That's why I think we have to strengthen our relationships and our alliances in Asia."
Go deeper