President Joe Biden spoke with President Xi Jinping on Feb.10, issuing greetings and well wishes for the Chinese Lunar New Year. The conversation lasted two hours and touched on areas of disagreement such as Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Taiwan.
“I spoke today with President Xi to offer good wishes to the Chinese people for Lunar New Year. I also shared concerns about Beijing’s economic practices, human rights abuses, and coercion of Taiwan. I told him I will work with China when it benefits the American people,” Biden tweeted after his phone call with Xi.
According to Biden, this was not the first time that Xi and Biden met; they spent around 24 hours in meetings and traveled about 17,000 miles together. But it was the first time there was contact between the two great nations since March 2020, when Donald Trump laid sanctions on China for their lack of transparency in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Biden says China is going to “eat our lunch”
Biden recently told U.S. senators that if they don’t step up their game against China and get moving with infrastructure projects that China was going to “eat our lunch.”
“They’re investing billions of dollars dealing with a whole range of issues that relate to transportation, the environment, and a whole range of other things. We just have to step up,” Biden said.
Biden’s Press Secretary Jen Psaki was confronted about Biden’s comment on how China is “going to eat our lunch,” and she replied, “I think that the President’s view is that we’re “in a competition with China,” and he’s clear-eyed about the depth of that challenge. And so the conversation he had with President Xi was certainly a reflection of that. And there were issues raised that reflected our approach, including a passionate statement of the values of the United States and a defense of those values in that conversation as well. That’s his view, and it’s reflected in our administration’s policy.”
Biden will not move quickly on removing the tariffs laid upon China by the Trump administration and will first discuss with allies in the region before taking action.
Xi told Biden that Hong Kong and Taiwan were none of his business, stating that they were a matter of “sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Xi warned “not to cross China’s red line” and that a confrontation would be a disaster for both nations.
Despite that, the Chinese Communist Party-affiliated Global Times had excellent things to say about the two leaders’ phone call. It remarked that Biden said that the U.S.’s most significant trait is ‘possibility’ and that Xi “hopes such possibility will lead the bilateral ties to a positive direction.” Biden and Xi agreed to work together to cooperate on issues such as climate change and nuclear disarmament.
“Anti-China atmosphere was created under former US President Donald Trump’s rei[g]n. So Biden is facing domestic pressure to avoid getting too close to China. But choosing to hold the phone call with the Chinese leader on Chinese New Year’s Eve demonstrates Biden’s willingness to improve ties, and to bring divergences under control,” said Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University.
“As perhaps one of the signals of goodwill, on Tuesday, Biden withdrew US policy that required US schools and universities to disclose their partnerships with Confucius Institutes,” the Global Times reported.
Gordon Chang, a China expert and well known for his book “The Coming Collapse of China,” has claimed that cooperation only goes one way with the Chinese communist regime. “The Communist Party has been very clear. They say that if you don’t cooperate with us on everything, we’re not going to cooperate on anything,” Chang said in an interview with the Epoch Times.