Biden: 'There Need Not Be a New Cold War'

President meets with China's Xi Jinping
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 14, 2022 10:35 AM CST
Biden: 'There Need Not Be a New Cold War'
President Biden speaks during a news conference on the sidelines of the G20 summit meeting on Monday in Bali, Indonesia.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Biden had his first face-to-face meeting as president with China's Xi Jinping on Monday, and he sounded an optimistic tone afterward. "I absolutely believe there need not be a new Cold War," he said after the sit-down in Bali, Indonesia, per the AP. "I'm convinced that he understood exactly what I was saying, and I understood what he was saying," Biden told reporters, per the Washington Post. "I've met many times with Xi Jinping, and we were candid and clear with one another across the board." The highlight of Biden’s seven-day, round-the-world trip to Asia, the nearly three-hour meeting came at a critical juncture for the two countries amid increasing economic and security tensions.

Speaking at a news conference afterward, Biden said that when it comes to China, the US would "compete vigorously, but I'm not looking for conflict," per the AP. Biden reiterated US support for its long-standing "One China" policy, which recognizes the government in Beijing while allowing for informal relations and defense ties with Taiwan, and its posture of "strategic ambiguity" over whether it would respond militarily if the island were attacked. He also said that despite China's recent saber-rattling, he does not believe "there's any imminent attempt on the part of China to invade Taiwan."

Xi, according to the Chinese government's account of the meeting, "stressed that the Taiwan question is 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." Biden said he and Xi discussed Russia's aggression against Ukraine and "reaffirmed our shared belief" that the threat or the use of nuclear weapons is "totally unacceptable." That was a reference to Moscow's thinly veiled threats to use atomic weapons as its nearly nine-month invasion of Ukraine has faltered.

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While there were no watershed breakthroughs, the meeting brought each side long-sought, if modest victories. In addition to the oblique condemnation of Russian nuclear threats, Biden appeared to secure from Xi the resumption of lower-level cooperation from China on a range of shared global challenges. Meanwhile, Xi, who's aimed to establish China as a geopolitical peer of the US, got symbolic home turf for the meeting, and Biden's forceful "One China" policy commitment.

(More US-China relations stories.)

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