Biden tells skeptics the U.S., China can work together after Xi meeting – USA TODAY

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  • President Joe Biden said he remains hopeful that the U.S. and China can work together.
  • Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed tensions with Taiwan and Russia’s war on Ukraine.
  • The meeting between the leaders of the world’s two largest economies happened on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit.

BALI, Indonesia – President Joe Biden said he is confident China is not preparing to attack Taiwan, following his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“I do not think there’s any imminent attempt on the part of China to invade Taiwan. And I made it clear that our policy in Taiwan has not changed at all,” Biden told reporters during a press conference in Bali.

China has been engaging in what the United States had earlier described as “provocative” behavior in the Taiwan Strait, after it conducted military drills in August on the heels of a visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the island.

But later in the day, Biden denied a conflict was brewing. “I made it clear that we want to see cross-Strait issues peacefully resolved,” Biden said. “I am convinced he understood exactly what I was saying.”

Following a three-hour meeting with the Chinese leader, Biden said the midterm elections sent a very strong message around the globe “that the United States is ready to play.”

Biden attempted to reassure skeptics that the U.S. and China can work together.

“The world expects, I believe, China and the United States to play key roles in addressing global challenges from climate change to food insecurity and for us to be able to work together,” Biden told Xi prior to their meeting. “The United States stands ready to do just that – work with you – if that’s what you desire.”

The meeting between the leaders of the world’s two largest economies happened on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit, which is being held this year on the resort island of Bali.

Biden said he and Xi also discussed the potential for Russia to use nuclear weapons in its war in Ukraine.

“We discussed Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, reaffirmed our shared belief in the threat or the use of nuclear weapons is totally unacceptable,” Biden said.

Biden told reporters later he also brought up North Korea during the meeting. 

“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 said, adding that if it did, the U.S. would have to take defensive actions.

He notably did not say whether he and Xi came to any sort of an agreement on how to approach deterrence. 

More discussions to be had

Moving forward both super powers agreed regular talks were key.

“I’m committed to keeping the lines of communications open between you and me personally, but also our governments across the board,” Biden told Xi on Monday, emphasizing both countries share a responsibility to “manage our differences, prevent competition from becoming anything ever to near conflict, and to find ways to work together on urgent global issues that require our mutual cooperation.”

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Xi responded by saying, “The world has come to a crossroads.  Where to go from here – this is a question that is not only on our mind but also on the mind of all countries. The world expects that China and the United States will properly handle the relationship.”  

Biden and Xi last met in 2017 in Davos, Switzerland, on one Biden’s final days as vice president. Since becoming president in 2021, Biden had spoken with Xi by phone video five times, prior to their meeting on Monday.

Biden said he and Xi had a clear and candid conversation during the meeting that was limited to the two presidents and their closest advisers.

His administration said it viewed the meeting with China, which it considers to be the United States’ main economic rival, as an initial conversation between the leaders.

Biden at his news conference that both leaders agreed Secretary of State Antony Blinken would visit China to follow up on their discussions.

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Biden to meet China’s Xi face-to-face on Monday

President Joe Biden is set to meet in person China’s President Xi Jinping amid increasingly strained relations. U.S.-China expert Patricia Kim says this is a chance for the two to talk about “tough issues, as well as areas for cooperation.” (Nov. 10)