US President Joe Biden has promised to be less confrontational towards China than his predecessor Donald Trump, even as he outlined the same sticky foreign policy issues with Beijing and dismissed it as an autocracy.
“We’re going to hold China accountable to follow the rules,” Biden insisted, arguing that he and Xi were on the same wavelength, even if their styles of government were fundamentally different. “Whether it relates to the South China Sea or the North China Sea or the agreement made on Taiwan or a whole range of other things. The thing I admire about dealing with Xi is he understands.”
Biden continued to wax poetic about the parallels between himself and his Chinese counterpart, explaining that “No leader can be sustained in his position unless they represent the values of the country. I’ve told you before, Americans value the notion of freedom. America values human rights.”
We don’t always live up to its expectations, but it’s a value system and we’re founded on that principle.
He explained that Washington was looking forward to building back the relationship between the US and China better than before, declaring, “We’re not looking for confrontation, although we know there’ll be steep, steep competition.”
“They have the overall goal to become the leading country in the world, the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world. That is not going to happen on my watch, because the United States is going to continue to grow and expand.” — Biden on China pic.twitter.com/8enFFJnihT
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 25, 2021
While Biden acknowledged China has “the overall goal to become the leading country in the world, the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world,” he attempted to dispel any possibility that this might come to pass.
“That is not going to happen on my watch, because the United States is going to continue to grow and expand,” the president reassured reporters during the Thursday press conference. He did not clarify exactly where the US felt it might “expand,” though Washington has recently flexed its military muscles in the South China Sea, working together with Taiwan in an effort to box in Beijing’s naval power.
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The Biden administration’s first meeting with Xi Jinping’s administration, at which neither Xi nor Biden personally appeared, was considered something of a bust. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken complained about the treatment of China’s Muslim population in Xinjiang – comments that Beijing dismissed as “absolutely ridiculous and contrary to the facts,” and which have also triggered parallels to the US’ own treatment of the Muslim population in the Middle Eastern countries it has invaded.
China also tore into the US for what it called Washington’s ongoing interference in Hong Kong, which saw a US-backed uprising in the months preceding the Covid-19 outbreak.
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