USA TODAY US Edition
Biden: US ‘stands ready’ to work with China
He says Taiwan policy has not wavered, sees no ‘imminent’ threat from Beijing
BALI, Indonesia – President Joe Biden said after his meeting Monday with Chinese President Xi Jinping that he is confident China is not preparing to attack Taiwan.
“I do not think there’s any imminent attempt on the part of China to invade Taiwan. And I made it clear that our policy in Taiwan has not changed at all,” Biden said at a news conference in Bali.
China has been engaging in what the United States earlier described as “provocative” behavior in the Taiwan Strait after it conducted military drills in August on the heels of a visit to the island by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
But later in the day, Biden denied a conflict was brewing. “I made it clear that we want to see cross-Strait issues peacefully resolved,” Biden said. “I am convinced he understood exactly what I was saying.”
After a three-hour meeting with the Chinese leader, Biden said the midterm elections sent a strong message around the globe “that the United States is ready to play.”
Biden sought to reassure skeptics that the United States and China can work together.
“The world expects, I believe, China and the United States to play key roles in addressing global challenges from climate change to food insecurity and for us to be able to work together,” Biden told Xi before their meeting. “The United States stands ready to do just that – work with you – if that’s what you desire.”
The meeting between the leaders of the world’s two largest economies happened on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit, which is being held this year on the resort island of Bali, Indonesia.
Biden said he and Xi also discussed the possibility of Russia using nuclear weapons in its war in Ukraine.
“We discussed Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, reaffirmed our shared belief in the threat or the use of nuclear weapons is totally unacceptable,” the president said.
Biden told reporters later that he also brought up North Korea in the meeting. “I’ve made it clear to President Xi Jinping that I thought they had an obligation to attempt to make it clear to North Korea that they should not engage in long-range nuclear tests,” he said, adding that if it did, the U.S. would have to take defensive actions.
“The world has come to a crossroads . ... The world expects that China and the United States will properly handle the relationship.” Chinese President Xi Jinping
He notably did not say whether he and Xi came to any sort of an agreement on how to approach deterrence.
Moving forward, both superpowers agreed regular talks were key.
“I’m committed to keeping the lines of communications open between you and me personally, but also our governments across the board,” Biden told Xi, emphasizing both countries share a responsibility to “manage our differences, prevent competition from becoming anything ever to near conflict, and to find ways to work together on urgent global issues.”
Xi responded: “The world has come to a crossroads. Where to go from here – this is a question that is not only on our mind but also on the mind of all countries. The world expects that China and the United States will properly handle the relationship.”
Biden and Xi last met in 2017 in Davos, Switzerland, on one of Biden’s final days as vice president. Since becoming president in 2021, Biden had spoken with Xi by phone video five times before their meeting Monday. Biden said he and Xi had a clear and candid conversation during the meeting, which was limited to the two presidents and their closest advisers. His administration said it viewed the meeting with China, which it considers the United States’ main economic rival, as an initial conversation between the leaders.
Biden said at his news conference that both leaders agreed Secretary of State Antony Blinken would visit China to follow up on their discussions.