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With President Trump set to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping thousands of miles away the G20 summit in Japan, Democratic candidates at Thursday night's first primary debate were asked how they would stand up to China.

What they're saying:

  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg: "We have to recognize that the China challenge is a serious one. This is not something to dismiss or waive away. China is using technology for the perfection of dictatorship. Manufacturers and especially farmers are hurting. Tariffs are taxes and Americans pay $800 more a year because of the tariffs. Meanwhile, China is investing so they could soon be able to run circles around us in artificial intelligence and this president is fixated on the relationship as if all that mattered was the balance on dishwashers. We have a moment when their authoritarian model is an alternative to ours because ours looks so chaotic because of internal divisions. The biggest thing we have to do is invest in our own domestic competitiveness."
  • Sen. Michael Bennet: "The president has been right to push back on China, but has done it in completely the wrong way. We should mobilize the entire rest of the world who all have a shared interest in pushing back on China's mecantilist trade policies and I think we can do that."
  • Andrew Yang: "The tariffs and the trade war are just punishing businesses and producers and workers on both sides... We need to crack down on Chinese malfeasance in the trade relationship, but the tariffs and the trade war are the wrong way to go."

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Updated 3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Our make-believe economy is here to stay

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Federal Reserve and global central banks are remaking the world's economy in an effort to save it, but have created something of a monster.

Why it matters: The Fed-driven economy relies on the creation of trillions of dollars — literally out of thin air — that are used to purchase bonds and push money into a pandemic-ravaged economy that has long been dependent on free cash and is only growing more addicted.

Mike Allen, author of AM
4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Why Trump may still fire Barr

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Attorney General Barr may be fired or resign, as President Trump seethes about Barr's statement this week that no widespread voter fraud has been found.

Behind the scenes: A source familiar with the president's thinking tells Axios that Trump remains frustrated with what he sees as the lack of a vigorous investigation into his election conspiracy theories.

Mike Allen, author of AM
4 hours ago - World

Scoop: Trump's spy chief plans dire China warning

Xi Jinping reviews troops during a military parade in Beijing last year. Photo: Thomas Peter/Reuters

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Thursday will publicly warn that China's threat to the U.S. is a defining issue of our time, a senior administration official tells Axios.

Why it matters: It's exceedingly rare for the head of the U.S. intelligence community to make public accusations about a rival power.