Vice President Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris of California squared off Wednesday in the only vice-presidential debate and exchanges seemed to get heated when the topic of China was brought up by moderator Susan Page.

Trade relations and China have been considered hot economic topics since President Donald Trump took office. The Trump administration has engaged in a trade war with China, while placing tariffs on imports from rivals and allies.

Prior to the debate, questions had surrounded how stark the differences are on trade between Trump and Joe Biden.

“Biden is not blindly pro-trade, but he doesn’t want to shrink from the world like President Trump has,” Ben Harris, a senior economic adviser on the Biden campaign, told the New York Times. “What the vice president proposes is a new approach to globalization, one in which we don’t get behind every trade deal on the grounds that more trade is always better.”

In the debate, Pence attacked Harris for opposing the USMCA trade agreement due to her objections that "it didn't go far enough on climate change."

Pence also went on the attack against both Biden and China. He said China has "taken advantage of America for decades" and called Biden "a cheerleader for Communist China over the last several decades." He would again use the phrase "cheerleading" in relation to Biden and China later in the debate.

"Lost the trade war with China? Joe Biden never fought it," Pence said at one point.

Pence, however, said the administration wants "to level the playing field" while improving the relationship with China. 

But Pence pointed the finger at China, much like Trump has done for most of the year, over the pandemic. Leading into a question for Pence, Page noted that earlier in the day Trump had blamed China for the pandemic.

"First and foremost, China is to blame for the coronavirus," said Pence, claiming that the administration took action against the country.

“[Trump] suspended all travel from China … Joe Biden opposed [that] decision," Pence said.

The comment was immediately fact-checked and reported false. "Trump did not ban all travel from China as the pandemic began," as the Los Angeles Times noted in a tweet.

Harris responded that the Trump administration's China policy resulted "in a loss of American lives, American jobs and America's standing."

She cited how a team of disease experts who monitor pandemics was pulled from China by the Trump administration. In March, Reuters reported that "the Trump administration cut staff by more than two-thirds at a key U.S. public health agency operating inside China, as part of a larger rollback of U.S.-funded health and science experts on the ground there leading up to the coronavirus outbreak."

Harris was bold in her opinion about the Trump administration's stance on the trade war.

"You lost that trade war. You lost it," Harris told Pence. 

Harris emphasized that Biden was responsible for saving the U.S. auto industry. 

She also noted that under the Trump administration, the U.S. lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs and that the American consumer has paid "thousands of dollars more for goods." Harris added that the Trump economy is a "catastrophe" due to a "failure of leadership."