Biden-Xi Meeting: Clash Over Taiwan both Leaders Stress Need for Strengthened Ties

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Taiwan

“The Taiwan question lies 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.”

Taiwan
President Xi Jinping of China (L) is greeted by the President of the Indonesian Republic Joko Widodo at the G20 Summit on November 15, 2022 in Nusa Dua, Indonesia. [Leon Neal/Getty Images]

Taiwan, N.Korea, both Xi and Biden emphasize the need to get ties back on track

On Monday, US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping met for three hours to talk about Taiwan and North Korea. The meeting’s purpose was to prevent tense US-China talks from devolving into a new Cold War.

Despite their differences in human rights, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and assisting domestic enterprises, the two leaders decided to meet more frequently. The U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken set to travel to Beijing for additional talks.

“We intend to compete vigorously. But I’m not looking for conflict; I’m looking for a responsible way to manage this competition, “Biden spoke with reporters on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia after meeting Xi.

For a long time, Beijing has stated that it would seize control of Taiwan, which it regards as an inalienable part of China. However, it has yet to rule out employing force to do this. In past years, it has frequently been stated that the United States is assisting Taiwan in achieving independence.

According to Chinese official media, after their meeting, Xi stated that Taiwan is the “first red line” that must not be crossed in US-China relations.

Biden stated that the United States policy toward Taiwan had not altered. The United States has backed Beijing’s “One China” stance and Taiwan’s military for decades.

He stated that there was no need for a new Cold War and that he did not believe China was planning a Hot War.

Taiwan
Jake Sullivan, White House national security adviser at the White House in Washington, DC, US, on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022. [Ken Cedeno/Sipa/Bloomberg/Getty Images]

The first red line

Biden told reporters. He didn’t believe China would try to conquer Taiwan anytime soon. Instead, Biden stated that it was hard to determine whether Beijing influenced Pyongyang’s nuclear testing because of North Korea. To begin with, he said that it is hard to assert with certainty that China can handle North Korea.

Biden said he informed Xi that the U.S. would do whatever was necessary to defend itself and its allies South Korea and Japan, which could be “more in China’s face” but is not intended to harm China.

“We would have to take certain actions that would be more defensive on our behalf… to send a clear message to North Korea. We are going to defend our allies, as well as American soil and capacity,” he said.

Before the meeting, Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, indicated that Biden would warn Xi about the likelihood of a more significant U.S. military presence in the region, which Beijing does not want.

After U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August, China ceased formal talks with Washington on climate change and military-to-military cooperation.

The White House stated that after their conversation, Biden and Xi agreed to allow senior officials to discuss climate change, debt relief, and other issues again.

Xi issued stern warnings to Taiwan in his statement following the talks.

“The Taiwan matter is at the 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,” Xi was reported as saying by the Xinhua news agency.

According to state media, Xi Jinping stated that resolving the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese people and China’s internal affairs.

Beijing claims ownership of Taiwan, while Taiwan’s democratically elected government denies it.

Taiwan’s presidential office expressed relief that Biden had reaffirmed U.S. policy. “This also demonstrates that the world community wants peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” the statement stated.

Taiwan
Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak attends a working session on food and energy security during the G20 Summit on November 15, 2022 in Nusa Dua, Indonesia. [Leon Neal/Getty Images]

Difficult subjects

Before their talks, the two leaders grinned and shook hands heartily in front of their national flags at a hotel on Indonesia’s Bali island, a day before a Group of 20 (G20) summit expected to be tense due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“It’s great to see you,” Biden said to Xi as he wrapped his arm around him before the meeting.

According to the White House, Biden raised several problematic issues with Xi, including U.S. concerns about China’s “coercive and increasingly aggressive actions toward Taiwan,” Beijing’s “non-market economic practices,” and China’s actions in “Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong, and human rights more broadly.”

Both leaders did not wear masks to protect themselves against COVID-19, but other members of their delegations did.

Relations between the United States and China have been strained recently due to rising tensions over issues such as Hong Kong and Taiwan, the South China Sea, trade policies, and U.S. restrictions on Chinese technology.

However, U.S. sources claimed that Beijing and Washington had been discreetly working to mend relations over the last two months.

According to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the meeting’s purpose was to stabilize the relationship and give U.S. firms a “more certain atmosphere.”

She stated that Biden had made it plain to China that restrictions on vital U.S. technologies were a matter of national security and that he was concerned about the trustworthiness of Chinese commodity supply chains.

President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, who is hosting the G20 summit, said he hoped the meeting on Tuesday would “bring about concrete partnerships that can boost the world’s economic recovery.”

However, Russia’s war in Ukraine will be one of the G20’s primary concerns.

Because they both loathe the West, Xi and Putin have grown closer in past years. They reaffirmed their alliance just days before Russia invaded Ukraine. However, China has been careful not to provide direct material help that could give in Western sanctions.

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