Biden and Xi clash over Taiwan, but military action seen as unlikely
- Biden and Xi hold a three-hour meeting in Bali ahead of the G20
- Both leaders stress the need to get ties back on track
- Russia rejects reports of foreign minister’s hospitalization
- Indonesia seeks concrete progress in the global economy at the G20
- Ukraine’s Zelensky is scheduled to address the G20 on Tuesday
NUSA DUA, Indonesia, Nov 14 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Monday that the United States would improve its security posture in Asia if Beijing was unable to curb North Korea’s weapons development programs.
Biden said at a news conference after his first face-to-face talks with Xi since taking office that they had rough talks on a wide range of issues contributing to the worst US-China ties in decades.
In a statement after their meeting, Xi called Taiwan the “first red line” that must not be crossed in US-China relations, Chinese state media reported.
Biden said he tried to reassure Xi that US policy toward Taiwan had not changed, seeking to ease tensions over the self-governing island. “I don’t think there is any imminent Chinese invasion of Taiwan,” he told reporters.
He said that if Beijing is unable to contain North Korea, the United States will be more protective of America’s allies in the region.
The two sides have established a mechanism for more frequent communications, and State Secretary Antoni Blinken will travel to China to continue talks, he said.
“I think we understand each other,” Biden said.
Ahead of the talks, the two leaders smiled and shook hands warmly in front of their national flags at a hotel on the Indonesian island of Bali, a day before a Group of 20 (G20) summit expected to be fraught with tension over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“It’s great to see you,” Biden told Xi as he hugged him before the meeting, which lasted just over three hours.
However, during the meeting, Biden raised a number of difficult topics, according to the White House, including raising American objections to China’s “coercive and increasingly aggressive actions toward Taiwan,” Beijing’s “non-market economic practices” and practices in Xinjiang. , Tibet and Hong Kong, and human rights more broadly”.
Biden has previously said he is committed to keeping open lines of communication on a personal and government level.
“As leaders of our two nations, we share the responsibility, in my view, to show that China and the United States can manage our differences, prevent competition from turning into conflict, and find ways to work together on pressing global issues that require our mutual cooperation.” , Biden said in a statement to reporters.
None of the leaders wore masks to fend off COVID, although members of their delegations did.
TAIWAN NEGOTIATIONS TENSEXi said before the meeting that relations between their two countries did not meet global expectations.
“Resolving the Taiwan issue is China’s issue and China’s internal affairs,” Xi said, according to state media.
“Anyone who wants to separate Taiwan from China will violate the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation.”
Beijing, which claims Taiwan as its own, has long said it will bring Taiwan under its control and has not ruled out using force to do so. Taiwan’s democratic government strongly opposes China’s claims to sovereignty and says only the island’s 23 million residents can decide its future.
There was some early drama in Bali over Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who rebuked the Western media for a report that said he was taken to a local hospitalwho suffers from heart disease.
“This is a kind of game that is not new in politics,” Lavrov said. “Western journalists need to be more honest.”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called it “the height of fakery” and released a video of Lavrov sitting outdoors in shorts and a T-shirt reading documents.
However, Bali I Governor Wayan Koster told Reuters that Lavrov had briefly visited a local hospital for a “check-up” and that the Russian was in good health. Indonesian officials declined to comment.
Lavrov is representing Putin at the G20 summit – the first since Russia invaded Ukraine in February – after the Kremlin said Putin was too busy to attend.
US-China relations have been roiled in recent years by rising tensions over issues ranging from Hong Kong and Taiwan to the South China Sea, trade practices and US restrictions on Chinese technology.
But US officials said Beijing and Washington had been making quiet efforts to mend relations over the past two months.
US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen he told reporters in Bali earlier that the goal of the meeting was to stabilize their relations and create a “more certain atmosphere” for American companies.
She said Biden has been clear with China about national security concerns about restrictions on sensitive US technologies and expressed concerns about the reliability of China’s commodity supply chains.
Biden and Xi, who held five phone or video calls since Biden became president in January 2021, the last time they met in person was during the Obama administration when Biden was vice president.
The G20 summit was hosted by Indonesian President Joko Widodo he hoped Tuesday’s gathering could “yield concrete partnerships that can help the world in its economic recovery.”
However, one of the main topics at the G20 will be Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Xi and Putin have grown closer in recent years, bound by a shared distrust of the West, and reaffirmed their partnership just days before Russia invaded Ukraine. But China has been careful not to provide any direct material support that could trigger Western sanctions against it.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang emphasized the “irresponsibility” of nuclear threats during a summit in Cambodia, suggesting China is uncomfortable with Russia’s nuclear rhetoric, a Biden administration official said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he would address the G20 via video link on Tuesday.
Reporting by Nandita Bose, Fransiska Nangoy, Leika Kihara, David Lawder and Simon Lewis in Nusa Dua, Yew Lun Tian and Ryan Woo in Beijing; Authors: Kay Johnson, Raju Gopalakrishnan; Editing: Robert Birsel, Tom Hogue and Alison Williams and Angus MacSwan
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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