December 9, 2022

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Biden and Xi clash over Taiwan in Bali but Cold War fears are lukewarm

Biden and Xi clash over Taiwan in Bali but Cold War fears are lukewarm

  • Biden and Xi met for 3 hours before the G-20
  • Both leaders stress the need to put relations back on track
  • Indonesia seeks partnerships on global economy at G20
  • Ukrainian President Zelensky to address the G20 on Tuesday

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

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

“We will compete aggressively. But I am not looking for conflict, I am looking to manage this competition responsibly,” Biden said after his talks with Xi on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia.

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

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

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

He said that there was no need for a new cold war, and that he did not believe that China was 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.

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

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

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

Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said before the meeting that Biden would warn Xi about the potential for a US military presence in the region, something Beijing is not keen to see.

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

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

Xi’s statement after the talks contained 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 China-US relations, and the first red line that must not be crossed in China-US relations,” Xinhua quoted Xi as saying. news agency.

“Resolving the Taiwan issue is an internal affair of China and China,” Xi was quoted as saying by state media.

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

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

Smiles and hand bats

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.

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

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

Neither leader wore a mask to ward off COVID-19, although 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 ties.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told reporters in Bali earlier that the meeting was aimed at stabilizing the relationship and creating a “more assured atmosphere” 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 Chinese supply chains of goods.

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

However, one of the main topics of the G-20 will be Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Linked to a common mistrust in the West, Xi and Putin have grown close in recent years, reasserting their partnership just days before Russia invaded Ukraine. But 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 Nangue, Lika Kihara, David Lauder, Simon Lewis in Nusa Dua, 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.