Biden calls China the ‘most serious competitor’ to the US, in his first foreign policy address
President spoke on the phone with the leader of the People’s Republic of China
US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke on the phone for the first time and appeared to disagree on most issues, although the Chinese leader warned that a confrontation would take place. «disaster» for both countries.
While Xi Jinping called for «mutually beneficial» cooperation, Biden named China «America’s most serious competitor» and promised «surpass» Beijing.
After meeting with a bipartisan group of senators in the Oval Office on Thursday to discuss infrastructure upgrades, Biden commented on his two-hour conversation with the Chinese leader and noted: «If we don’t move, they will eat us with giblets».
«They are investing billions of dollars on a range of transportation, environmental and other issues. We just have to step up our efforts», – added the president.
According to the White House, in an interview with Xi Jinping, Biden stressed that maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region is one of the priorities for the United States..
Biden also expressed concern about «coercive and unjust» Beijing’s trade practices, as well as human rights concerns, including the repression in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, and China’s aggressive behavior in Asia, including against Taiwan.
Xi Jinping, in turn, said that a confrontation between the countries would turn «disaster» and that both sides must restore communication channels to avoid misunderstandings, said the PRC Foreign Ministry.
The problems associated with Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Taiwan, the Chinese leader called issues «sovereignty and territorial integrity», expressing the hope that the United States will take a cautious approach in this area.
During his tenure as Vice President, Biden spoke frequently with Xi Jinping and held many meetings with him, totaling more than 24 hours..
On Thursday, he said that he is well acquainted with the Chinese leader and that their conversation was successful. However, a senior administration official told reporters that Biden would «practical, stubborn and perceptive» in relations with Beijing, but wants to maintain communication channels with it.
Chinese officials expressed some optimism about improving bilateral relations under Biden and called on Washington to accommodate Beijing.
Press releases from both sides highlight areas for potential cooperation, from climate change to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic