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Biden doesn't foresee new cold war after Xi Jinping meeting

 UPI News logo: MainLogo UPI News 11/14/2022 Thomas Maresca & Simon Druker

Nov. 14 (UPI) -- U.S. President Joe Biden said he does not think a possible cold war with China is around the corner or necessary, after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday.

The pair spoke for more than three hours Monday in Bali, Indonesia where the two leaders are attending the G20 economic summit, for their first face-to-face meeting since Biden took office.

"He was as straightforward with me as he's been in the past. And I think that we understand one another," Biden said during a news conference.

"I absolutely believe there need not be a new cold war. We were candid and clear with each other across the board," Biden said, responding to a question about the possibility.

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Biden and Xi spoke about China's intentions towards the democratic island of Taiwan North Korean nuclear missile tests as well as Russia's aggression against Ukraine during their meeting.

The two have spoken virtually five times over the past two years, as the Chinese president had stopped all overseas travel until recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I do not think there is any imminent attempt on the part of China to invade Taiwan," Biden told reporters.

"I made it clear that we want to see cross-strait issues resolved so it doesn't have to come to that."

Biden said the world's largest trading partners should "manage our differences" and "prevent competition from becoming conflict."

After shaking hands, Biden told Xi he was eager to "find ways to work together on urgent global issues that require our mutual cooperation." The two then went behind closed doors for the remainder of their meeting, after Xi said he hoped that he and Biden would share "a candid and in-depth exchange of views" on issues of strategic importance in China-U.S. relations and on "major global and regional issues."

"We are going to compete vigorously but I'm not looking for conflict, I'm looking to manage this competition responsibly," Biden said.

"I want to make sure that every country abides by the international rules of the road."

The president also admitted during a brief question period with reporters following the meeting, that the two countries won't always see eye to eye.

"We're not going to be able to work everything out. I'm not suggesting this is Kumbaya, that everybody is going to go away with everything in agreement," Biden said.

"We were very blunt with one another about places we disagreed or where we were uncertain of each other's position.

"We agreed that we would set up a set of circumstances where, on issues that we had to further resolve details, we agreed that we would have the appropriate cabinet members sit and meet with one another to discuss the details of every issue that was raised, and we raised a lot of issues."

China reacted furiously to a Taipei visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August, launching large-scale live-fire exercises in the waters and airspace around the island in response.

Biden has also triggered denunciations from Beijing by saying that U.S. forces would defend Taiwan militarily against an attempted invasion by China, an assertion he has made several times throughout his administration.

China views the self-governing island of 23 million as a wayward province that it has vowed to retake by force, if necessary.

"Our one China policy has not changed. We oppose any unilateral change of the status quo by either side. We are committed to maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait," Biden reiterated on Monday.

"Currently, the China-U.S. relationship is in such a situation that we all care a lot about it, because this is not the fundamental interests of our two countries and peoples and it is not what the international community expects us," Xi said prior to the meeting.

"As leaders of the two major countries, we need to chart the right course for the China-U.S. relationship. We need to find the right direction for the bilateral relationship going forward and elevate the relationship."

A security summit held in Uzbekistan in September between Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin underscored a major challenge for Washington as Moscow and Beijing have formed a security alliance of multiple countries in the region with the primary goal of countering Western influence.

Biden did not touch on that summit during his public remarks on Monday.

Both leaders did agree when it came to North Korea and that country's continued long-range missile tests. Biden said China should do what it can to control the hermit republic.

"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," Biden told reporters.

"[However] It's difficult to say that I am certain that China can control North Korea.

"And I made it clear as well that if they did, they, meaning North Korea, that we would have to take certain actions that would be more defensive on our behalf, and it would not be directed against China, but would be to send a clear message to North Korea. We are going to defend our allies, as well as American soil and American capacity."

"We'd be more up in the face of China, but it wouldn't be because of China," Biden said of a possible scenario where North Korea persists with its tests.

"I'm confident China's not looking for North Korea to engage in further escalatory means."

 

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