(TibetanReview.net, Nov15’22) – In a meeting dominated by discussions about their governments’ respective priorities and intentions across a range of issues, US President Joe Biden has raised human rights issues and Tibet during his talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at Bali, Indonesia, on Nov 14 ahead of the Group of 20 Summit. Concerns about Beijing’s record in Xinjiang and Hong Kong have also figured in the meeting. Xi has made it clear that to China the paramount issue was US policy towards Taiwan.
“President Biden raised concerns about PRC practices in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, and human rights more broadly. On Taiwan, he laid out in detail that our one China policy has not changed, the United States opposes any unilateral changes to the status quo by either side, and the world has an interest in the maintenance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” said a White House statement after the meeting.
“He raised US objections to 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,” the statement added.
On broader issues, President Biden has made it clear that the US will continue to compete vigorously with China including by investing in sources of strength at home and aligning efforts with allies and partners around the world.
And he has reiterated that this competition “should not veer into conflict” and underscored that the two countries “must manage the competition responsibly and maintain open lines of communication”.
For this purpose, the two leaders have discussed the importance of developing principles that would advance these goals and tasked their teams to discuss them further.
“They welcomed ongoing efforts to address specific issues in US-China bilateral relations, and encouraged further progress in these existing mechanisms, including through joint working groups. They also noted the importance of ties between the people of the United States and the PRC,” the statement said.
In China’s readout on the meeting published by the official Xinhua news agency, Xi has said, “The Taiwan question is at the very core of China’s core interests, the bedrock of the political foundation of China-US relations, and the first red line that must not be crossed in China-US relations.”
Beijing views Taiwan as an inalienable part of China. But the self-ruled island’s democratically-elected government rejects Beijing’s claims of sovereignty over it, while the United States has in recent years been frequently accused by China of encouraging Taiwan’s independence.
The two presidents had met before, both as vice presidents. The Nov 14 meeting, which lasted over three hours, was their first in-person meeting since 2017 during the World Economic Forum in Davos. And it was their first meeting as presidents since Joe Biden won his election two years ago.
Their long-awaited talks took place as bilateral relations were at their lowest in decades, marred by disagreements over a host of issues from Taiwan to trade.