US not seeking conflict with China, Joe Biden says after Xi Jinping talks

The White House says the two leaders discussed Taiwan, cooperation, competition and human rights at a summit in Bali, Indonesia.

I’m looking to manage this competition responsibly,’ says United States President Joe Biden (right), pictured here with Chinese President Xi Jinping [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

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US ,President Joe Biden has stressed that Washington is seeking to avoid conflict or a cold war with Beijing after meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Bali, Indonesia.

The two presidents met on Monday for the first time in person since Biden took office last year. Separate statements from their offices said they called for cooperation to confront international challenges.

“President Biden underscored that the United States and China must work together to address transnational challenges – such as climate change, global macroeconomic stability including debt relief, health security, and global food security – because that is what the international community expects,” the White House said.

The official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, also cited Xi as saying that the “two sides should work with all countries to bring more hope to world peace, greater confidence in global stability, and stronger impetus to common development”.

The meeting follows a spike in tensions between the two countries after top US lawmaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan earlier this year and Biden vowed to defend the self-ruled island – which Beijing claims as its own – if China invades it.

“On Taiwan, [Biden] laid out in detail that our one China policy has not changed, the United States opposes any unilateral changes to the status quo by either side, and the world has an interest in the maintenance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” the White House said.

Under the “one China policy”, the US recognises the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in Beijing over the Republic of China (ROC) in Taipei  as the sole and legal government of China. But Washington takes no position on Taiwan’s sovereignty, contending that its future should be determined by peaceful means.

This policy is different to the PRC’s “one China principle”, under which it insists that Taiwan is an inalienable part of its territory.

On Monday, Biden told reporters that Washington does not believe that there is an immediate threat of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

“I absolutely believe there need not be a new Cold War,” Biden said. “I’ve met many times with Xi Jinping. And we were candid and clear with one another across the board. And 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.”

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