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Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president Joe Biden. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Former Vice President and 2020 Democratic hopeful Joe Biden on Wednesday played down growing concerns that China is on the verge of surpassing the U.S. as a dominant global economic and national security superpower, saying: "They're not competition for us."

"China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man — They can't even figure out how to deal with the fact that they have this great division between the China Sea and the mountains in the West. They can't figure out how they’re going to deal with the corruption that exists within the system. They’re not bad folks, folks … They’re not competition for us."
— Biden said at a campaign stop in Iowa on Wednesday

Our thought bubble, per Axios' Joe Uchill: While Biden may be right that resource management could cap China's potential, that hasn't stopped the country from stealing billions of dollars in intellectual property through cyber and other means, providing stiff competition in tech fields — in part, due to stolen intellectual property — and investing threatening amounts in emerging fields like artificial intelligence and quantum computing. In telecom equipment, China has 2 of the top 5 companies in the world, with Huawei being No. 1.

Axios' National Political Reporter Jonathan Swan weighed in as well saying Biden’s is not a view shared by leaders of either party in Washington, or by national security leaders. One of the rare things Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and President Trump agree on is that China is a rising, increasingly urgent threat to the U.S.

The context: Biden has made similar comments before. At a Democratic campaign event in Florida in October 2018, Biden said the U.S. is "better positioned than any nation in the world to own the 21st century," adding that China is "a divided country in 1,000 ways ... Don't tell me China's going to own America. It's not possible."

  • Biden's campaign declined to comment on Wednesday's statement.

Go deeper: China is the greatest, growing threat to America

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

North Korea fires short-range missile to sea, slams "hostile" U.S. policy

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photo: API/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Tuesday that North Korea's military had fired a short-range missile toward its eastern sea, per AP.

Why it matters: North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations defended the latest launch in remarks to the UN General Assembly, demanding the U.S. and South Korea end their "hostile policy" against the country.

Arizona Judge: Adding mask mandates ban to budget bill is unconstitutional

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

An Arizona judge ruled Monday that the state's ban on mask mandates in schools, and other measures put into the state budget by Republicans, are unconstitutional, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The sweeping ruling voids a ban on vaccine requirements for public universities, community colleges and local governments, and strikes down some non-COVID-related measures like a ban on teaching critical race theory in classrooms and anti-fraud measures for ballots.

Activision to set up $18M victims fund in response to harassment suit

Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Activision Blizzard announced plans Monday to settle a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission hours after it was filed.

Why it matters: This is Activision's most visible acknowledgment of problems at the company, in the wake of a series of workplace misconduct lawsuits, complaints and investigations initiated against the "Call of Duty" and "World of Warcraft" maker since the summer.