U.S. President Joe Biden, following a much-awaited meeting with China President Xi Jinping today, said he saw no need for a new Cold War between the world’s two biggest economies.
Speaking at a press conference after the meeting on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, Biden said he “absolutely” believes “there need not be a new Cold War.”
The leaders of the world’s two biggest economies exchanged on disagreements ranging from Taiwan to Russia in discussions that lasted three and a half hours ahead of a G20 meeting this week. They agreed that officials from the two sides would keep talking, including through a visit to China by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The conversation, coming at a time when relations between the two have been described as the worst in decades, followed a high-profile visit by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz earlier this month, the first by a G7 leader since start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The presence of a high-level business delegation including leaders of Siemens and Volkswagen with Scholz also pointed to the big economic stakes in U.S.-China relations amid intensifying technological, geopolitical and military competition between the two. U.S.-based investors in China range from tech companies such as Microsoft to Tesla; iPhone supply chains, among many others, run through the country that has been dubbed “manufacturer to the world.”
“President Biden explained that the United States will continue to compete vigorously with the PRC, including by investing in sources of strength at home and aligning efforts with allies and partners around the world. He reiterated that this competition should not veer into conflict and underscored that the United States and China must manage the competition responsibly and maintain open lines of communication,” the White House said.
On Taiwan, where differences between the two have flared following a Taipei visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August, Biden “laid out in detail that our one China policy has not changed, the United States opposes any unilateral changes to the status quo by either side, and the world has an interest in the maintenance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” according to a White House statement.
“He raised U.S. objections to the PRC’s (People’s Republic of China’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,” according to the statement.
Beijing claims sovereignty over Taiwan, a self-ruled democracy of 24 million that is the world’s 22nd largest economy and home to many large global technology companies including semiconductor maker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, or TSMC, and Apple suppliers such as Hon Hai Precision, Pegatron and Lite-On Technology. The People’s Liberation Army carried out high-profile military exercises around the island following Pelosi’s visit.
“I do not think there is any imminent attempt on the part of China to invade Taiwan,” Biden said at the press conference.
Biden and Xi, meeting for the first time since Biden’s election, “spoke candidly about their respective priorities and intentions across a range of issues,” the White House said.
“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 – because that is what the international community expects,” according to the White House.
“President Biden raised concerns about PRC practices in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, and human rights more broadly,” the statement noted.
“President Biden also raised ongoing concerns about China’s non-market economic practices, which harm American workers and families, and workers and families around the world. He again underscored that it is a priority for us to resolve the cases of American citizens who are wrongfully detained or subject to exit bans in China,” the statement said.
The two leaders also exchanged views on key regional and global issues, the White House said. “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. President Biden also raised concerns about the DPRK’s (North Korea’s) provocative behavior, noted all members of the international community have an interest in encouraging the DPRK to act responsibly, and underscored the United States’ ironclad commitment to defending our Indo-Pacific Allies.”
“The two leaders agreed that Secretary of State Blinken will visit China to follow up on their discussions,” the White House statement concluded.
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