Biden, Xi Signal Openness To Repair US-China Relations

The US president is resolute in believing his Chinese counterpart would not make an attempt to invade Taiwan in the near future, contrary to what his Secretary of State and US Navy said before.

In their first meet up as respective heads of state of their countries, US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping attempted to reverse the downward trend of the international relations between their governments, urging officials to resume delayed talks on critical global issues.

The meeting of the two leaders–a result of months of planning and hours of negotiation–reportedly ended on an optimistic note towards strengthening bilateral relations while acknowledging fundamental disagreements that could jeopardize these efforts. The face-to-face happened in Bali ahead of the G20 summit.

On China’s part, the prime objective for the meeting was to send a clear message to Taiwan, according to those acquainted with the situation. Xi reportedly considers the self-governing island as the most significant red line in the US-China relations, claiming that Taiwanese independence was as incompatible with Taiwan Strait peace and stability as “fire and water.”

The tenuous US-China relations is strained further by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, causing commotion along the Taiwan Strait. At the time, Chinese embassy spokesman Liu Pengyu asserted the mainland’s sovereignty over the island as it called out the United States for its proposed US$1.1 billion arms sale to Taiwan.

“China will resolutely take legitimate and necessary counter-measures in light of the development of the situation,” Liu said.

READ: The Taiwan Paradox: The Nancy Pelosi Visit No One Asked For

According to people familiar with the matter, it was impressed in the meeting that any further visits by senior US lawmakers to Taiwan may be viewed as provocative by the Chinese, raising the prospect of a collision between the superpowers. With the possibility of the House to be flipped for the Republicans once more after the midterm elections, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is most likely to be elected Speaker. He said before that he would visit Taiwan if he becomes the leader of the House.

For his part, Biden stated that he did not believe China would make an imminent attempt to invade Taiwan and emphasized that Washington DC’s long-standing position toward the island has not changed.

This is quite distant from US State Secretary Antony Blinken’s earlier comments on China and Taiwan, claiming his observations tell that the mainland had made a “fundamental decision that the status quo was no longer acceptable, and that Beijing was determined to pursue reunification on a much faster timeline.”

If peaceful means didn’t work, then it would employ coercive means,” Blinken said. “And possibly, if coercive means don’t work, then maybe forceful means to achieve its objectives. And that is what is profoundly disrupting the status quo and creating tremendous tensions.”

It also contrasts the pronouncements made by Chief of US Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday last month, saying the United States has to be prepared to go to war with China over Taiwan this year.

But Biden seems to have emerged from the meeting with cautious optimism, and a Chinese readout of the talks indicated Beijing’s newfound willingness to engage with the US.

“I absolutely believe there need not be a new Cold War,” Biden said following the meeting. “We’re going to compete vigorously, but I’m not looking for conflict. I’m looking to manage this competition responsibly.”

During the talks, he voiced his opposition to what the White House saw as China’s coercive and more aggressive moves against Taiwan. In addition, he also reportedly raised concerns about Beijing’s treatment of ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, as well as persecution of human rights in Hong Kong.

According to the White House, the two leaders authorized senior officials to expand discussions on subjects ranging from climate change to food security. Biden also directed Blinken to visit China to follow up on the discussion.

Xi won an unprecedented third term as China’s leader, filling the elite seven-member Politburo Standing Committee–the country’s highest decision-making body–with top loyalists and allies.

The meeting comes after the US military has been reported to have been soliciting bids from Canadian mining ventures seeking American public support as part of a significant national security endeavor–supposedly as part of Washington DC’s priority to find other critical minerals resources besides Beijing.

The strained relations between the two economic giants were also partially endangered by the White House’s increasingly hawkish stance on Chinese firms, adding companies to the Pentagon’s blacklist. The blacklist includes chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation and NYSE-listed oil producer CNOOC.

For its part, Beijing has already demonstrated its willingness to cut rivals off from mineral exports, as it did a few years ago during a fishing dispute with Japan.

A Reuters nationwide survey in September found that a majority of Americans believe that the United States does not consider itself to be at war with the Chinese government, but a significant portion of the same respondents think that the communist regime considers itself to be at war with the US.

Information for this briefing was found via the The Wall Street Journal and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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