Biden discusses Taiwan with Xi to avoid ‘conflict’

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NUSA DUA, Indonesia (TBEN) – President Joe Biden objected to China’s “coercive and increasingly aggressive actions” against Taiwan and expressed human rights concerns over Beijing’s behavior in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong during his first face-to-face meeting on Monday with President Xi Jinping, the White House said.

In a press conference after the meeting, Biden reiterated US support for its long-standing “One China” policy. He also said that despite the recent chatter of China’s saber, he does not believe that “there is an imminent attempt on the part of China to invade Taiwan”.

“It never has to come to that,” Biden added.

The meeting, in the midst of Biden’s seven-day circumnavigation of the globe, came as the superpowers strived to “manage” the differences between them as they compete for global influence amid mounting economic and security tensions. Speaking to reporters, Biden said the US would “compete vigorously, but I’m not looking for conflict,” adding, “I absolutely believe there should be no need for another Cold War” with China.

Biden and Xi also agreed that “a nuclear war should never be fought” and cannot be won, “underlining their opposition to the use or threat of the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” the White House said. That was a reference to the thinly veiled threats of Russian officials to use nuclear weapons now that the nearly nine-month-long invasion of Ukraine has failed.

Biden and Xi also agreed to “authorize key senior officials” on areas of potential cooperation, including tackling climate change and maintaining global financial, health and food stability. It was not immediately clear whether that meant China would agree to resume talks on climate change that Beijing had interrupted in protest at President Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August.

Xi and Biden greeted each other with a handshake at a luxury resort hotel in Indonesia, where they attend the Group of 20 Summit of Major Economies.

Xi called on Biden to “chart the right course” and “improve the relationship” between China and the US. He said he was ready for a “candid and in-depth exchange of views” with Biden.

Both men entered the long-awaited meeting with enhanced political status at home. Democrats triumphantly held onto control of the U.S. Senate, with a chance to increase their ranks by one in a runoff election in Georgia next month, while Xi received a third five-year term from the Communist Party’s national congress in October. break with tradition.

“We have very few misunderstandings,” Biden told reporters in Cambodia on Sunday, where he attended a meeting of Southeast Asian countries before leaving for Indonesia. “We just need to figure out where the red lines are and… what the most important things are for each of us to go into the next two years.”

Biden added: “His circumstances have changed, to say the obvious, at home.” The president said of his own situation: “I know I will come out stronger.”

White House officials have repeatedly tried to minimize any idea of ​​conflict between the two nations and have emphasized that they believe the countries can work together on shared challenges such as climate change and health security.

But relations have become more tense under successive US administrations as economic, trade, human rights and security differences have emerged.

As president, Biden has repeatedly indicted China for human rights violations against the Uyghur people and other ethnic minorities, crackdowns on democracy activists in Hong Kong, coercive trade practices, military provocations against self-ruled Taiwan and disagreements over Russia’s prosecution of its war against Ukraine. Chinese officials have largely abstained from public criticism of the Russian war, although Beijing has avoided direct aid, such as supplying weapons.

Taiwan has emerged as one of the most controversial issues between Washington and Beijing. Several times during his presidency, Biden has said that the US would defend the island — which China looked forward to eventual unification — in the event of a Beijing-led invasion. But government officials have insisted each time that the US’ One China policy has not changed. The Beijing government acknowledges that policy, while taking into account informal relations and defense ties with Taipei, and its stance of “strategic ambiguity” about whether it would respond militarily if the island were attacked.

Pelosi’s trip prompted China, officially the People’s Republic of China, to retaliate with military exercises and firing ballistic missiles into nearby waters.

The White House said Biden had “raised US objections to the PRC’s coercive and increasingly aggressive actions against Taiwan, which undermine peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the wider region and endanger global prosperity.”

Xi, according to the Chinese government’s own report of the meeting, “emphasized that the Taiwan issue is at the heart of China’s core interests, the basis of the political foundation of China-US relations, and the first red line that should not be allowed.” are crossed in China-US relations.”

At the meeting, Biden said China’s economic practices “harm American workers and families, and workers and families around the world,” the White House said.

It came just weeks after the Biden administration blocked the export of advanced computer chips to China — a national security measure that strengthens US competition against Beijing.

Xi’s government said it condemned such moves, saying: “Starting a trade war or a technology war, building walls and barriers, and pushing for decoupling and breaking supply chains goes against the principles of the market economy and undermines the international trade rules.”

Before the meeting, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said China is committed to coexisting peacefully, but will vigorously defend its interests in sovereignty, security and development.

“It is important that the US work with China to properly manage differences, promote mutually beneficial cooperation, avoid misunderstandings and miscalculations, and put China-US relations back on track of healthy and steady development,” she said during a daily briefing. in Beijing.

White House officials and their Chinese counterparts spent weeks negotiating details of the meeting, which was held at Xi’s hotel with translators interpreting simultaneously via headsets.

The leaders spoke as they sat across from each other at two long tables separated by more than twelve feet and an elaborate flower arrangement in a cavernous and windowless conference room.

US officials were eager to see how Xi approached the Biden sit-down after cementing his position as undisputed leader of the state, and said they would wait to assess whether this made him more or less inclined to open areas of cooperation with the US. Search

Each leader was flanked by nine N-95 mask-wearing aides, and in Xi’s case, at least one official recently elevated to his highest leadership in recent Congress. US officials said interacting with Xi’s top officials could lead to more substantive agreements over time.

Before meeting Xi, Biden held talks with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, the host of the G-20, to announce a range of new development initiatives for the archipelago, including investments in climate, security and education.

The Bharat Express News writers Josh Boak in Baltimore and Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report.