After meeting with Xi Jinping in Bali, the US president doesn’t think China will “invade” the island
US President Joe Biden told reporters on Monday he didn’t see China “invading” Taiwan any time soon, after he had a “direct and straightforward” meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The two leaders met face to face in Bali, Indonesia, on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
“I do not think there’s any imminent attempt [on the part] of China to invade Taiwan,” Biden said at a short press conference afterward, adding, “We want cross-strait issues to be resolved.”
The US leader had brought up Beijing’s “coercive and increasingly aggressive actions” towards Taipei but told Xi the US policy towards Taiwan had not changed, according to the White House readout of the meeting. According to US media, however, Congress has been preparing to apply to Taiwan the same mechanisms Washington has used to arm Ukraine over the past year.
The three-hour meeting on Monday afternoon was the first for both leaders since Biden became the US president in 2021. Their last in-person chat was on the sidelines of the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos, according to Xi.
Accompanying Biden to the meeting were National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Biden told reporters that Blinken would visit China in the coming months, to follow up on Monday’s agenda.
The Taiwan question is a core interest of China’s, the foundation of Beijing’s relations with Washington, and “the first red line that must not be crossed in China-US relations,” Xi told Biden during the meetings, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.
“We hope to see, and are all along committed to, peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, but cross-strait peace and stability and ‘Taiwan independence’ are as irreconcilable as water and fire,” the Chinese leader said.
Xi also expressed hope that the US would “match its words with action” and abide by the ‘One China’ policy and the three joint communiques it had signed with Beijing.
The government in Beijing considers Taiwan part of China’s sovereign territory. Since 1949, however, the island has been ruled by the US-backed nationalists, who left the mainland after losing the civil war to the communists.