Nusa Dua (Indonesia): President Joe Biden objected to China’s “coercive and increasingly aggressive actions” toward Taiwan during his first in-person meeting on Monday with President Xi Jinping, as the leaders of the two superpowers aimed to “manage” differences between their nations as they compete for global influence.
The highlight of Biden’s seven-day, round-the-world trip to Asia, the nearly three hour sit-down came at a critical juncture for the two countries amid increasing economic and security tensions. Speaking at a news conference afterward, Biden said that when it comes to China the US would “compete vigorously, but I’m not looking for conflict. ” He added: “I absolutely believe there need not be a new Cold War” with the rising Asian power.
Biden reiterated US support for its longstanding “One China” policy, which recognises the government in Beijing while allowing for informal relations and defence ties with Taipei, and its posture of “strategic ambiguity” over whether it would respond militarily if the island were attacked. He also said that despite China’s recent saber rattling, he does not believe “there’s any imminent attempt on the part of China to invade Taiwan. ” Xi, according to the Chinese government’s account of the meeting, “stressed that the Taiwan question is at the very core of China’s core interests, the bedrock of the political foundation of China-US relations, and the first red line that must not be crossed in China-US relations. ”
Biden said he and Xi discussed Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and “reaffirmed our shared belief” that the threat or the use of nuclear weapons is “totally unacceptable”. That was a reference to Moscow’s thinly-veiled threats to use atomic weapons as its nearly nine-month invasion of Ukraine has faltered.