Biden and Xi clash over Taiwan in Bali but Cold War concerns are tepid

  • Biden and Xi meet for 3 hours before the G20
  • Both leaders stress the need to get relations back on track
  • Indonesia seeks partnerships on the global economy in the G20
  • Ukraine’s President Zelensky addresses the G20 on Tuesday

NUSA DUA, Indonesia, Nov. 14 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping held acrimonious talks on Taiwan and North Korea on Monday in a three-hour meeting aimed at preventing strained relations between the United States and China from devolving into ties. New. cold War.

Amid simmering disagreements over human rights, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and support for domestic industry, the two leaders pledged more frequent contact. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will head to Beijing for follow-up talks.

“We will compete fiercely,” Biden said after his talks with Xi on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Indonesia. “But I’m not looking for conflict, I’m looking to responsibly manage this competition.”

Beijing has long said it would bring the self-ruled island of Taiwan, which it considers an integral part of China, under its control and has not ruled out the use of force to do so. The United States in recent years has often been accused of promoting Taiwan independence.

In a statement following their meeting, Chinese state media said Xi called Taiwan the “first red line” that should not be crossed in US-China relations.

Biden said he sought to reassure Xi that US policy on Taiwan, which for decades has supported Beijing’s “one China” position and the Taiwanese military, has not changed.

He said that there is no need for a new cold war, and he does not think that China is planning a hot war.

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“I don’t think there is any imminent attempt by China to invade Taiwan,” he told reporters.

On North Korea, Biden said it is difficult to know whether Beijing has any influence on Pyongyang’s weapons testing. “Well, first of all, it’s hard to say I’m sure China can control North Korea,” he said.

Biden said he told Xi that the United States would do what it needed to do to defend itself and its allies South Korea and Japan, which would be “perhaps more opposing China” though not directed against it.

“We’re going to have to take certain actions that will be more defensive on our behalf… to send a clear message to North Korea. We’re going to defend our allies, as well as the American homeland and American capability,” he said.

Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan said before the meeting that Biden would warn Xi about the possibility of a US military build-up in the region, something Beijing is not keen to see.

Beijing has cut off a series of official channels of dialogue with Washington, including on climate change and military talks, after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi upset China by visiting Taiwan in August.

After their conversation, the White House said Biden and Xi agreed to allow top officials to resume communications on climate, debt relief and other issues.

Xi’s statement after the talks included specific warnings about Taiwan.

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“The Taiwan issue is at the core of China’s core interests, the firm foundation of the political foundation of Sino-US relations, and the first red line that must not be crossed in Sino-US relations,” Xinhua quoted Xi as saying. news agency.

“The resolution of the Taiwan issue is China’s and China’s internal affair,” Xi was quoted by state media as saying.

Taiwan’s democratically elected government rejects Beijing’s claims of sovereignty.

Taiwan’s presidential office said it welcomed Biden’s reaffirmation of US policy. “This fully shows once again that peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits are the common aspirations of the international community,” she added.

Smiles and fists

Ahead of their talks, the two leaders smiled and shook hands warmly in front of their national flags at a hotel on the Indonesian island of Bali, a day before a G20 summit set to be fraught with tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

β€œIt’s great to see you,” Biden told Xi, putting an arm around him before their meeting.

Biden raised a number of difficult topics with Xi, according to the White House, including raising US objections to China’s “increasingly aggressive and coercive measures toward Taiwan,” Beijing’s non-market economic practices, practices in “Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong and widespread human rights.” wider.”

Neither leader wore a mask to stave off COVID-19, though members of their delegations did.

Relations between the United States and China have soured in recent years due to growing tensions over issues ranging from Hong Kong and Taiwan to the South China Sea and US trade practices and restrictions on Chinese technology.

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But US officials said there have been quiet efforts by both Beijing and Washington over the past two months to mend relations.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told reporters in Bali earlier that the meeting aims to stabilize the relationship and create a “more assured environment” for US companies.

She said Biden has been clear with China about national security concerns regarding restrictions on sensitive US technologies and has raised concerns about the reliability of China’s supply chains for goods.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, host of the G20 summit, said he hoped the meeting on Tuesday could “offer concrete partnerships that can help the world in its economic recovery.”

However, one of the major topics at the G20 will be Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Bonded by their shared mistrust of the West, Xi and Putin have warmed in recent years, and they reaffirmed their partnership just days before Russia invaded Ukraine. However, China was careful not to provide any direct material support that could lead to Western sanctions against it.

Additional reporting by Nandita Bose, Stanley Widianto, Francesca Nangui, Lika Kihara, David Lauder and Simon Lewis in Nusa Dua and Yu Lun Tian and Ryan Wu in Beijing; Additional reporting by Jeff Mason and Steve Holland in Washington. Written by Kay Johnson and Raju Gopalakrishnan; Editing by Angus McSwan, Grant McCall, Heather Timmons and Rosalba O’Brien

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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