Mitt Romney, Who Saw Russia's Threat Coming, Thinks Joe Biden Is Underestimating China

Republican Senator Mitt Romney suggested former Vice President Joe Biden is underestimating the threat to America from China after the Democratic 2020 hopeful played down concerns about the Asian powerhouse.

Romney famously described Russia as America's number one geopolitical foe when he was the GOP's presidential candidate during the 2012 race against his Democrat Barack Obama, who mocked the former Massachusetts governor for having outdated Cold War views.

Since then, Russia has invaded Ukraine to stoke a civil conflict and annex Crimea, intervened in Syria to bolster the Assad regime which Washington wanted deposed, and interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

At a campaign event in Iowa City on Wednesday, Biden, who is leading the polls in the 2020 Democratic primary, said China is not competition for the U.S.

"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 east—I mean in the west," Biden said.

"They can't figure out how they're going to deal with the corruption that exists within the system. They not bad folks, folks. But guess what: They're not competition for us."

Responding to Biden's China comments on Twitter, Utah's Senator Romney wrote : "This will not age well."

China, an authoritarian one-party state with a population of 1.3 billion people, is on course to overtake the U.S. as the world's largest economy in the coming years.

It is nuclear armed, has the world's largest military, and is a highly-advanced technological power that aggressively uses cyberwarfare to advance its interests abroad and deploys digital innovation to oppress its people at home.

The Trump administration has taken China on over the issues of trade and intellectual property theft, imposing protectionist tariffs on Chinese imports and punitively sanctioning its companies for falling foul of American rules. Washington and Beijing are engaged in trade talks.

Other flash points between the U.S. and China include Beijing's supportive relationship with North Korea; its military activity in the resource-rich, strategically-important South China Sea, in which it makes disputed territorial claims; and American support for Taiwan.

Robert D. Blackwill, Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, wrote in a recent report that China is implementing a "grand strategy designed to undermine U.S.-Asian alliances, which has accelerated under [President] Xi Jinping...with the strategic goal of replacing the United States as the primary power in Asia."

Blackwill concluded: "Now the challenge for [President Trump] and his successors is to persuade Beijing, through enhanced U.S. power projection, more able alliances, and adroit diplomacy, that the United States will grow ever stronger in Asia and, with its allies and friends, will robustly confront destabilizing Chinese actions.

"If Xi Jinping and his colleagues could be brought to such a conclusion, Washington and Beijing could then work to create and sustain a new and stable balance of power in Asia and to avoid the catastrophic outcomes that a permanent confrontation between the United States and China is likely to bring.

"This is the profound diplomatic challenge for the leaderships of both countries over the decades ahead."

Together, the U.S. and China account for half of the world's defense spending, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Joe Biden 2020 China
Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at the Big Grove Brewery and Taproom on May 1, 2019 in Iowa City, Iowa. Scott Olson/Getty Images
Mitt Romney, Who Saw Russia's Threat Coming, Thinks Joe Biden Is Underestimating China | U.S.