US President Joe Biden on Monday met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Indonesia’s Bali on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G-20) Summit.
Biden and Xi discussed several issues including the Taiwan dispute, Ukraine War, and Chinese coercive behaviour. The meeting lasted for around three hours.
Biden also raised concerns over China’s human rights record with regard to Tibet, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong regions, where the Chinese regime is accused of human rights violations. He also objected to China’s “coercive and increasingly aggressive actions” toward Taiwan.
It was the first time that Biden and Xi met in person since 2021 when Biden was sworn in as the President of the United States of America (USA).
The White House in a statement on the meeting said Biden told Xi that the United States would “continue to compete vigorously” with China, but that “competition should not veer into conflict”.
The White House said Biden and Xi also agreed that “a nuclear war should never be fought” and can’t be won, “and underscored their opposition to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine”. That was a reference to Russian officials’ thinly-veiled threats to use atomic weapons as its nearly nine-month invasion of Ukraine has faltered.
What did White House say?
Biden and Xi “spoke candidly about their respective priorities” on a range of issues, according to the White House.
Despite expressing concerns on Chinese human rights records in Xinjiang and Tibet, which China is extremely sensitive about, Biden reiterated that there must be areas of cooperation between the United States and China and that lines of communication must remain open.
“The United States and China must manage the competition responsibly and maintain open lines of communication…President Biden underscored that the United States and China must work together to address transnational challenges – such as climate change, global macroeconomic stability including debt relief, health security, and global food security,” said the White House in a statement.
Notably, Biden reiterated the US commitment to the “One China” policy and that it remains opposed to the change of status quo on the issue of Taiwan by any side.
This is significant as there have been several comments by Biden over the past year that have sparked questions whether the US policy on China and Taiwan has changed. Specifically, these questions emerge from Biden’s repeated insistence that the United States would militarily defend Taiwan in case of Chinese aggression.
China consideres the self-ruled island of Taiwan as a breakaway provice. Its unification with mainland China is a goal of Beijing and China, including its current leader Xi, have not ruled out the use of force for the purpose of unification.
Biden also raised concerns that Chinese actions could destablise the broader region.
“He raised U.S. objections to the PRC’s coercive and increasingly aggressive actions toward Taiwan, which undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the broader region, and jeopardize global prosperity,” said the White House.
Biden and Xi also discussed the Ukraine War and Xi said that a nuclear war should never place.
“President Biden raised Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine and Russia’s irresponsible threats of nuclear use. President Biden and President Xi reiterated their agreement that a nuclear war should never be fought and can never be won and underscored their opposition to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” said the White House statement.
The meeting between Biden and Xi will be followed by a visit of US Secretary of State Antony Blinkin to Beijing, said the statement.
Backdrop of Joe Biden-Xi Jinping meeting
Biden and Xi met amid strained bilateral relations that worsened due to Beijing’s recent posturing over Taiwan – including actual display of military power.
In recent time, the Biden administration has targed China over its trade policies as well. The administration is working to ensure that Beijing does not reap undue benefits from US talent and technology. In latest export control rules, US citizens working in Chinese firms might face a tough choice — quit their jobs or risk losing US citizenship.
Outlook earlier reported, “The latest tech export rules by the Joe Biden administration are an attempt to further regulate the flow of technological know-how from the United States to China and to affect the Chinese ability to produce semiconductors —commonly called chips— which are the bedrock of modern electronic industry and are used in everything from our personal computers to electric vehicles and high-end military technology.”
In Washington earlier, Biden promised that he would be “straightforward” at the meeting, spell out the US red lines and learn about Beijing from Xi.
Relations between the United States and China took a nosedive after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August. China saw it as a provocative US move in support of the island which governs itself, but which Beijing says must return to it someday.
After the Pelosi visit, China held a series of military exercises around Taiwan to make its concerns clear. Biden has indicated that the US would come to Taiwan’s aid if China invades, a stand that has exasperated tensions