Saturday March 25th, 2023 1:25PM

Biden, Xi clash on Taiwan but aim to ‘manage’ differences

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (AP) — President Joe Biden objected directly to China’s “coercive and increasingly aggressive actions” toward Taiwan during the first in-person meeting of his presidency with Xi Jinping, as the two superpower leaders aimed on Monday to “manage” their differences in the competition for global influence.

The nearly three-hour meeting was the highlight of Biden’s weeklong, round-the-world trip to the Middle East and Asia, and 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 U.S. would “compete vigorously, but I’m not looking for conflict.”

He added: “I absolutely believe there need not be a new Cold War” between America and the rising Asian power.

Biden reiterated U.S. support for its longstanding “One China” policy, which recognizes the government in Beijing — while allowing for informal American relations and defense ties with Taipei, and “strategic ambiguity” over whether the U.S. 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-U.S. relations, and the first red line that must not be crossed in China-U.S. relations.”

Biden said he and Xi also discussed Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and “reaffirmed our shared belief” that the use or even the threat 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.

Chinese officials have largely refrained from public criticism of Russia’s war, although Beijing has avoided direct support of the Russians, such as supplying arms.

While there were no watershed breakthroughs, the Biden-Xi meeting brought each side long-sought, if modest, gains. In addition to the shared 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 has aimed to establish China as a geopolitical peer of the U.S., got symbolic home turf for the meeting as well as Biden’s forceful One China policy commitment.

The White House said Biden and Xi agreed to “empower key senior officials" to work on areas of potential cooperation, including tackling climate change and maintaining global financial, health and food stability. Beijing had cut off such contacts with the U.S. in protest of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan in August.

China and the U.S. are the world’s worst climate polluters, and their one-on-one climate contacts are seen as vital to staving off some of the most dire scenarios of climate change. Biden's first stop on his long overseas trip was in Egypt for a major climate conference.

The two leaders agreed to have U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken travel to Beijing to continue discussions.

Xi and Biden warmly greeted each other with a handshake at a luxury resort hotel in Indonesia, where they are attending the Group of 20 summit of large economies.

“As the leaders of our two nations, we share responsibility, in my view, to show that China and the United States can manage our differences, prevent competition from becoming anything ever near conflict, and to find ways to work together on urgent global issues that require our mutual cooperation," Biden said to open the meeting.

Xi called on Biden to “chart the right course" and “elevate the relationship” between China and the U.S. He said he wanted a “candid and in-depth exchange of views."

Both men entered the highly anticipated meeting with bolstered political standing at home. Democrats triumphantly held onto control of the U.S. Senate, with a chance to boost their ranks by one in a runoff election in Georgia next month, while Xi was awarded a third five-year term in October by the Communist Party's national congress, a break with tradition.

But relations between the two powers have grown more strained under successive American administrations, with economic, trade, human rights and security differences at the fore.

As president, Biden has repeatedly taken China to task for human rights abuses against the Uyghur people and other ethnic minorities, crackdowns on democracy activists in Hong Kong, coercive trade practices, military provocations against self-ruled Taiwan and differences over Russia and Ukraine.

The White House said Biden specifically mentioned U.S. concerns about China's actions in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, and the plight of Americans it considers “wrongfully detained” or subject to exit bans in China.

Taiwan has emerged as one of the most contentious issues. Multiple times in his presidency, Biden has said the U.S. would defend the island — which China has eyed for eventual unification — in case of a Beijing-led invasion. But administration officials have stressed each time that the U.S. China policy has not changed.

Pelosi's trip prompted China, officially the People's Republic of China, to retaliate with military drills and the firing of ballistic missiles into nearby waters.

The White House said Biden “raised U.S. objections to the PRC’s coercive and increasingly aggressive actions toward Taiwan, which undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the broader region, and jeopardize global prosperity.”

In the meeting, Biden said China's economic practices “harm American workers and families, and workers and families around the world," the White House said.

The meeting came just weeks after the Biden administration blocked exports of advanced computer chips to China — a national security move that bolsters U.S. competition against Beijing.

Xi's government said he condemned such moves, saying, “Starting a trade war or a technology war, building walls and barriers, and pushing for decoupling and severing supply chains run counter to the principles of market economy and undermine international trade rules.”

Although the two men have held five phone or video calls during Biden's presidency, White House officials said those encounters were no substitute for an in-person meeting. They said sitting down with Xi was all the more important after the Chinese leader strengthened his grip on power with a third term and because lower-level Chinese officials have been unable or unwilling to speak for their leader.

White House officials and their Chinese counterparts spent weeks negotiating details of the meeting, which was held at Xi’s hotel with translators providing simultaneous interpretation through headsets. Each leader was flanked by nine N-95 mask-wearing aides, and in the case of Xi, at least one official newly elevated in the recent Congress to its top leadership.

U.S. officials were eager to see how Xi approached the meeting after consolidating his position as the unquestioned leader of the state — whether that made him more or less likely to seek out areas of cooperation.

Biden said Xi was as he's always been.

“I didn’t find him more confrontational or more conciliatory,” Biden said. "I found him the way he’s always been, direct and straightforward."


Associated Press writers Josh Boak in Baltimore and Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2023
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Voting rights groups sue again to block Nevada hand-count
Two Nevada voting rights groups have filed the latest lawsuit seeking to shut down a controversial hand-count of all paper ballots in rural Nye County
5:32PM ( 2 minutes ago )
Biden, Xi clash on Taiwan but aim to ‘manage’ differences
The White House says President Joe Biden has objected to what it says is China's “coercive and increasingly aggressive actions” toward Taiwan during his meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping
5:16PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Louisiana grand jury convenes in Black man's deadly arrest
A Louisiana grand jury began hearing evidence Monday in the deadly 2019 arrest of Ronald Greene
5:16PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Budweiser stalls to be less prominent at World Cup stadiums
Budweiser beer stands at the eight World Cup stadiums are being moved aside to less prominent spots just days before the games start
4:37PM ( 56 minutes ago )
Zelenskyy calls liberation of Kherson 'beginning of the end'
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has made a triumphant visit to the newly liberated city of Kherson
4:36PM ( 58 minutes ago )
Prosecutors: No criminal charges expected from Giuliani raid
Prosecutors have notified a judge in New York that they do not plan to criminally charge Rudy Giuliani in connection with a probe into his interactions with Ukrainian figures
4:34PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Handshake sparks climate hope, but officials remain worried
A handshake Monday between U.S. President Joe Biden and China’s President Xi Jinping has lifted spirits thousands of miles away at the U.N. climate talks in Egypt
2:28PM ( 3 hours ago )
Turkey detains Syrian suspect in deadly Istanbul bombing
Turkish police said they have carried out a pre-dawn raid in Istanbul and detained a Syrian woman suspected of links to Kurdish militants who allegedly carried out a bomb attack on a bustling pedestrian avenue in Istanbul
1:50PM ( 3 hours ago )
Sam Bankman-Fried's downfall sends shockwaves through crypto
Sam Bankman-Fried received numerous plaudits as he rapidly achieved superstar status as the head of cryptocurrency exchange FTX: the savior of crypto, the newest force in Democratic politics and potentially the world’s first trillionaire
1:46PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Jennifer Siebel Newsom takes stand at Weinstein trial
Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a documentary filmmaker and the wife of California governor Gavin Newsom, has taken the stand at the trial of Harvey Weinstein
3:27PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Top 25: No. 1 South Carolina, No. 2 Stanford showdown set
South Carolina remains the unanimous choice at No. 1 in The Associated Press women's basketball poll
12:59PM ( 4 hours ago )
3 dead in University of Virginia shooting; suspect sought
Officials say a shooting near a University of Virginia parking garage killed three people wounded two others and sent police on a manhunt Monday in search of a student suspected in the attack
10:37AM ( 6 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Israel confirms US probe into Shireen Abu Akleh's killing
Israel has confirmed that the United States government has started an investigation into the fatal shooting of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh
4:43PM ( 51 minutes ago )
Threats to schools across US may be coming from overseas
Federal agents believe a recent spate of threats and false reports of shooters at high schools and colleges across the U.S. may be coming from outside of the country
3:40PM ( 1 hour ago )
US says Iran threats to ex-officials Pompeo, Hook persist
The Biden administration has determined that Iranian threats against former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and one of his former top aides remain credible and persist
2:22PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Biden, Xi seek to 'manage our differences' in meeting
President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are holding their first in-person meeting since the U.S. president took office nearly two years ago
8:01AM ( 9 hours ago )
Biden, Xi shake hands as they meet amid superpower tensions
President Joe Biden is meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday for their first in-person meeting since the U.S. president took office nearly two years ago
4:54AM ( 12 hours ago )
Global stocks mixed amid inflation hopes, virus unease
Asian stocks have declined while Europe opened higher as optimism about lower U.S. inflation competed with unease over Chinese virus cases
4:01AM ( 13 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Wall Street slips, gives back some of last week’s big gains
Stocks fell on Wall Street, giving back some of their huge gains made last week on hopes the worst of the nation’s inflation may finally have passed
4:33PM ( 1 hour ago )
Late slide leaves stocks lower after a wobbly day of trading
Stocks closed lower on Wall Street, easing back after posting a big gain last week on hopes that the worst of the nation’s inflation may finally have passed
4:11PM ( 1 hour ago )
MacKenzie Scott acknowledges another $2B in donations
Megadonor and novelist MacKenzie Scott announced almost $2 billion in donations in a short blog post Monday that emphasized her interest in supporting people from underserved communities
3:33PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
Slutty Vegan CEO talks new cookbook, plans to go global
In the past few years, Slutty Vegan, an Atlanta-based eatery, has attracted a cult-like following with its raunchy approach to veganism
12:24PM ( 5 hours ago )
Stocks waver on Wall Street; big tech firms weigh on indexes
Stocks wavered on Wall Street as markets cool down following their biggest weekly gain since the summer
12:04PM ( 5 hours ago )
Tech leads stocks lower in early trading on Wall Street
Stocks are off to a weak start on Wall Street as markets cool down following their biggest weekly gain since the summer
10:06AM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
Louisiana grand jury convenes in Black man's deadly arrest
A Louisiana grand jury began hearing evidence Monday in the deadly 2019 arrest of Ronald Greene
5:16PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Appeals court ruling keeps Biden student debt plan on hold
President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive student loan debt for millions of borrowers lost another battle in court on Monday when a federal appeals court panel agreed to a preliminary injunction halting the program while an appeal plays out
5:07PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Suspect caught in fatal shooting of 3 U.Va. football players
Police have captured a University of Virginia student suspected of fatally shooting three members of the school’s football team as they returned to campus from a field trip
4:59PM ( 35 minutes ago )
High court rules against Arizona GOP leader in records fight
The Supreme Court has cleared the way for the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol to get phone records belonging to the leader of the Arizona Republican Party
4:56PM ( 38 minutes ago )
Former Kansas detective, 3 others accused of sex trafficking
A former Kansas police detective and three other men have been charged in a federal indictment with operating a sex trafficking operation involving teenage girls in the 1990s
4:55PM ( 39 minutes ago )