2020 Democratic candidates debated on foreign policy Tuesday, with candidates chiming in on topics ranging from Chinese trade to North Korean nuclear development.
Democratic candidates were first asked if they agree with Trump’s steel tariffs on China. Democratic Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan answered first and said America needs a “targeted response against China.”
“I think President Trump was onto something when he talked about China,” Ryan said. “China has been abusing the economic system for a long time.”
“American workers want those jobs, and we can build the trade deals that do it,” Warren responded. “People want access to our markets all around the world, then the answer is ‘let’s make ’em raise their standards.’ Make them pay their workers more … Before they come to us and say, they want to be able to sell their products.”
Trump announced Tuesday that a trade deal with China may not happen until after the 2020 elections, according to the Washington Post. Trump imposed 25% tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese imports, raising tensions with the country.
Candidates also discussed North Korea, which “launched two short-range ballistic missiles for the second time in less than a week” Tuesday, the moderator noted. Ryan said he would not meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as Trump has. (RELATED: WSJ Corrects ‘Bombshell’ Report On North Korea Nukes)
“I don’t think presidents of the United States meet with dictators,” Ryan said. “We saw what just happened with President Trump. He goes to the demilitarized zone with the leader of North Korea. Give him a huge photo-op. Gives him global credibility … And weeks later he’s lobbing more missiles. That doesn’t make any sense.”
Democratic Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar responded, saying that the possibility has to be left open to “meet with anyone at any place.”
Trump is the first sitting U.S. President to step foot in North Korea. He made history June 30 when he entered North Korea during a meeting with Kim. The two countries have been on tense terms over denuclearization and have not yet reached a deal.
Troops in Afghanistan were brought up as well Tuesday night. Democratic South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Buttigieg, who served in Afghanistan, said that he would withdraw all troops from the country, mentioning that he thought he “was one of the last troops leaving Afghanistan.”
“Every time I see news about somebody being killed in Afghanistan, I think about what it was like to hear an explosion over there and wonder whether somebody that I served with, somebody that I knew, a friend, roommate, colleague,” Buttigieg said.
“On my watch, I will propose that any authorization for the use of military force have a three-year sunset and have to be renewed.”
“What we need is a foreign policy that focuses on diplomacy and ending conflicts by people sitting at a table,” Sanders said about foreign policy and Afghanistan.
Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke said that he would “end the wars” and “not start new wars” if elected President, while Warren vowed to never “use nuclear weapons preemptively.”
Russia was not mentioned during Tuesday’s debate, and Iran was only briefly mentioned. The U.S. and Iran have seen increased tensions following Iran shooting down a U.S. Navy drone in June. Iran also has reportedly increased uranium enrichment, violating the 2015 nuclear deal.