Washington DC: As Democratic vice president nominee Kamala Harris took stage, she tore through Trump’s administration and accused President Donald Trump of "betraying our friends and embracing dictators" as she attacked his "unilateral approach" to his foreign policy that led to America pulling out of the landmark Iran nuclear deal and making the country less safer.

During the only vice presidential debate held in Salt Lake City, Utah on Wednesday night, the 55-year-old California Senator stressed foreign policy "might sound complicated" but really is about relationships.

"You've got to keep your word to your friends. You've got to be loyal to your friends. People who've stood with you, you've got to stand with them,” Harris said during the 90-minute debate.

"Donald Trump has betrayed our friends and has embraced dictators around the world," she said, inviting strong rebuttal from Vice President Mike Pence who said the Trump administration has "stood strong with our allies."

“We've strengthened our alliances ... and stood strong against those who would do us harm," Pence said, strongly defending his boss.

Criticising the Trump administration for taking the US out of the Iran nuclear deal and isolating America, Harris called Trump's foreign policy "unilateral", and "isolationist".

President Trump withdrew the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, in May 2018, in one of the biggest foreign policy decisions. The move was opposed by US allies – France, Britain and Germany. The landmark deal was the crowning diplomatic achievement of former president Barack Obama.

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"Pew, a reputable research firm, has done an analysis that shows that leaders of all our formerly allied countries now hold in greater esteem and respect Xi Jinping, the head of the Chinese Communist Party president, than they do Donald Trump...," Harris said. "This is where we are today because of a failure of leadership.”

On his part, Pence highlighted the Trump administration's record on combating Islamic state and said President Trump "unleashed the American military" and took down Iraqi terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a man responsible for the deaths of thousands.

He said the president had ordered operation that killed top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani early this year.

Harris highlighted that Russia interfered in the 2016 US Presidential elections and said Trump prefers to take the word of Russian President Vladimir Putin over the American intelligence community.

Harris, who aspires to be the first woman vice-president in history, and Pence were separated by plexiglass barriers during the debate. They sat 12.25 feet apart on the debate stage.

Harris, whose mother was from India and father from Jamaica, scripted history in August when she was picked up by the Democratic Party as its vice presidential nominee.

She is the first Black woman and the first Asian-American woman to be selected as the vice presidential nominee of a major political party in the US.

It is for the first time in the American history that an Indian-origin person has taken up the podium for a vice presidential debate.

(With inputs from agency)