Biden and Xi to Meet, Will Discuss ‘Red Lines’ on Taiwan, Nukes

Biden and Xi to Meet, Will Discuss ‘Red Lines’ on Taiwan, Nukes
U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Chinese leader Xi Jinping during a virtual summit from the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Nov. 15, 2021. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
Andrew Thornebrooke

U.S. President Joe Biden announced that he'll meet with Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping next week for their first in-person meeting since Biden took office.

Biden said at a White House press conference that he and Xi would confer on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, and that the two leaders would discuss several critical issues, including Taiwan, nuclear proliferation, and managing conflict and competition between their countries.

“What I want to do with him when we talk is lay out what each of our red lines are, understand what he believes to be in the critical national interests of China, what I know to be the critical interests of the United States, and to determine whether or not they conflict with one another and, if they do, how to resolve it and how to work it out,” Biden said.

Among the key issues to be discussed is the future of Taiwan, in view of China’s ambition to extend its political power over the island, he said.

The CCP, which rules China as a single-party state, claims that Taiwan is a breakaway province of China that must be united with the mainland. Xi has vowed to make unification a reality and refuses to rule out the use of military force to do so.

However, Taiwan is a self-governing democracy and has never been controlled by the CCP.

For its part, the United States maintains agreements with China against unilaterally attempting to change the status quo and will provide arms for Taiwan’s defense.

Biden said the stance is fundamentally the same as it was when it was established in 1979 and that the United States wouldn’t be pushed into accepting a different status quo.

“The Taiwan doctrine has not changed at all from the very beginning,” Biden said, noting that the United States is “not willing to make any fundamental concessions” on the issue.

Another critical issue to be discussed is the CCP’s growing nuclear arsenal, which the Pentagon believes will reach at least 1,000 warheads by 2030.

Biden said he isn’t convinced that Xi would fully commit to realizing Chinese military and economic dominance but that steps should be taken to increase transparency between the two nations regarding their nuclear arsenals.

“I do think that it remains to be seen whether Xi Jinping has decided or backed off of his initial judgment that he wanted China to have the most powerful military in the world, as well as the largest economy,” Biden said.

He noted that it’s “important to discuss” the number and location of the regime’s nuclear weapons and to work on increasing access for the sake of international cooperation and strategic stability.

To that end, Biden underscored that he had communicated to Xi that the United States isn’t looking for conflict with China and would seek to manage competition between the two powers responsibly.

“I’ve told him: I’m looking for competition, not conflict.”

Andrew Thornebrooke is a national security correspondent for The Epoch Times covering China-related issues with a focus on defense, military affairs, and national security. He holds a master's in military history from Norwich University.
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