US President Joe Biden said there were no immediate plans for China to invade Taiwan after he met with China’s Xi Jinping on Monday.
“I do not think there is any imminent attempt on the part of China to invade Taiwan,” Biden said during a press conference following his first in-person meeting with the Chinese president. “I’m convinced that he understood exactly what I was saying, [and] I understood what he was saying.”
The sit-down, held on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Bali, was Xi’s first meeting with Biden and his first with a US president since 2019. But Biden and Xi have spoken on the phone five times, and officials from their respective governments have met on a number of occasions.
Secretary of State Blinken will visit China to follow up on Monday’s discussions, the White House said.
A senior Biden administration official told reporters last week that the US president would raise a number of his concerns with Xi, including China’s behavior that threatens peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and US concerns about human rights violations.
According to a White House readout of the meeting, the two leaders “spoke candidly about their respective priorities and intentions across a range of issues.”
Biden said the US would continue to compete “vigorously” with China but noted that this competition shouldn’t veer into conflict.
According to the readout, Biden also raised concerns about China’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong “and human rights more broadly.”
As for Taiwan, which the US has vowed to defend in the event that China decides to invade it, Biden reaffirmed Washington’s One China policy and that the US opposes any unilateral changes to the status quo by either side.
But he criticized what he said were China’s coercive and increasingly aggressive actions toward Taiwan.
Russia, North Korea
The pair discussed wrongfully detained US citizens in China, Russia’s war on Ukraine and North Korea’s provocative behavior as well, the White House said.
Chinese state media reported that Xi warned Biden against crossing any “red line” in China-US relations, in reference to Taiwan.
Ties between the US and China have deteriorated to new lows in recent years after Beijing’s human rights violations, its failure to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, which is believed to have originated in Wuhan, its lack of cooperation on climate change, and unfair economic practices.
The Biden administration released the new US National Security Strategy last month and said China was the “only competitor with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to advance that objective.”
The National Security Strategy mentioned “Russia,” “Moscow,” or “Putin” 81 times and “China,” “PRC,” or Beijing 60 times. In comparison, Iran and Tehran were only mentioned eight times.
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