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."

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