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

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  • Ukraine’s Zelensky addresses the G20 on Tuesday

NUSA DUA, Indonesia, Nov. 14 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping engaged in blunt talks on Monday in a three-hour meeting over Taiwan and North Korea. Cold War.

Amid disagreements over human rights, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and favoring domestic industry, the two leaders vowed to communicate more frequently. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will travel to Beijing for further talks.

“We’re going to compete vigorously. But I’m not looking for conflict, I’m looking to manage this competition responsibly,” Biden said after talks with Xi on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia.

Beijing has long claimed control of the self-governing island of Taiwan, which it considers an inalienable part of China. The US has often accused Taiwan of encouraging independence in recent years.

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

Biden said he sought to reassure Xi that US policy on Taiwan had not changed, following decades of support for both Beijing’s ‘one China’ stance and Taiwan’s military.

He said there was no need for a new Cold War and that he did not think China was planning a hot one.

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

As for North Korea, Biden said it was difficult to know whether Beijing had any influence over Pyongyang’s weapons testing. “Well, first of all, it’s hard to say that I’m confident that China can contain North Korea,” he said.

Biden said he told Xi the US would do what it had to do to defend itself and allies South Korea and Japan, even if it was not directed against China but “might be more in China’s face”.

“To send a clear message to North Korea, we have to take some very defensive actions on our behalf. We are going to protect our allies, as well as American soil and American capability,” he said.

Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, said before the meeting that Biden would warn Xi about the possibility of an increased US military presence in the region.

After US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August upset China, Beijing cut off formal dialogue channels with Washington, including on climate change and military-to-military talks.

Biden and Xi agreed to allow senior officials to renew communications on climate, debt relief and other issues, the White House said after they spoke.

Xi’s statement after the talks included pointed warnings on Taiwan.

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

“Resolving the Taiwan issue is China’s and China’s internal affairs,” state media reported Xi as saying.

Taiwan’s democratically elected government rejects Beijing’s claim to sovereignty.

Taiwan’s presidential office said it welcomed Biden’s reaffirmation of US policy. “This once again fully demonstrates that the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait is the common expectation of the international community,” it said.

Smiles and handshakes

Before their talks, the two leaders smiled and shook hands in front of their national flags at a hotel on the Indonesian island of Bali, a day ahead of a tense Group of 20 (G20) summit over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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

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

Neither leader wore a mask to prevent COVID-19, although members of their delegation did.

US-China relations have been troubled in recent years by rising tensions over issues from Hong Kong and Taiwan to the South China Sea, trade practices and US restrictions on Chinese technology.

But over the past two months, both Beijing and Washington have made peaceful efforts to mend ties, US officials said.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen earlier told reporters in Bali that the meeting was aimed at stabilizing the relationship and creating “a more specific environment” for US businesses.

He said Biden was clear with China about national security concerns over restrictions on sensitive US technologies and expressed concern about the reliability of Chinese supply chains for goods.

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, who is hosting the G20 summit, said he hoped Tuesday’s meeting could “deliver solid partnerships that will help the world’s economic recovery.”

However, one of the main topics at the G20 is Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Xi and Putin have grown closer in recent years, bonded by a shared distrust of the West, and reaffirmed their partnership just days before Russia invaded Ukraine. But China is careful not to provide direct material support that could trigger Western sanctions against it.

Reporting by Nandita Bose, Stanley Vidianto, Francisca Nangoi, Laika 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; By Kay Johnson and Raju Gopalakrishnan; Editing by Angus MacSwan, Grant McCool, Heather Timmons and Rosalba O’Brien

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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