Biden will press Xi Jinping on Taiwan, human rights, global traffic rules

President Biden will raise issues such as China’s recent intensified military coercion against Taiwan, human rights violations and Beijing’s weakening of international order on Monday at his first face-to-face, virtual summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The two leaders are expected to speak for several hours in the evening at a secure teleconference as part of Mr Biden’s attempt to “protect” US-China relations in an effort to avoid a conflict, according to a senior administration official. who oriented. journalists at the meeting.

“The president will be very direct and honest about areas where we are concerned about China’s behavior,” the official said.

These areas include threats from China against the rule-based international order, unfair economic practices such as government support for Chinese industry, economic coercion by foreign nations, and “China’s coercive and provocative behavior toward Taiwan,” the official said.

China has carried out major air strikes in Taiwan’s air defense zone in recent weeks, and has at one time sent more than 150 warplanes to threaten the autonomous island’s government.

China has also conducted major naval exercises that appear to be the practice of an invasion of the island, located about 100 miles off the coast of China.

During the summit, Mr Biden will also bring up Chinese technology theft and cyber attacks.

Sir. Biden will press Mr Xi on human rights, such as the crackdown on democracy in Hong Kong and the mass repression of Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang, where as many as 1 million people have been placed in concentration camps.

“I would like to note that these are differences that need to be addressed directly, not put aside in any way, as China often would like to do,” the official said.

Despite the differences, Mr Biden hopes to get Mr Xi’s help with potential areas of “adaptation”, such as climate change and health security, the official said.

China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases and has promised to meet international reductions by 2060, when most current world leaders are likely to be dead.

No specific agreements are expected as a result of what the White House calls “leadership-level engagement” aimed at ensuring that competition does not get out of control.

“This is not a meeting where we expect results to come out,” the official said.

The official said the extensive engagement and interaction between the United States and China in the past has changed dramatically. Until 2017, Washington sought extensive trade and economic ties with Beijing and often ignored Chinese illegal activities.

“Our two countries are in a fundamentally different place with each other than we have been in the past,” the official said.

The Biden administration is pursuing a double-track approach to China, which seeks to confront Beijing with its looming activities both in China and abroad, while at the same time pursuing cooperation on issues such as climate change.

So far, Chinese leaders have rejected the approach. Instead, the Chinese are demanding that the United States abandon harsh policies introduced under the Trump administration.

“We believe that intense competition requires intense diplomacy,” the senior official said of the idea behind the virtual summit.

Mr. Biden hopes to make clear to Mr Xi all US intentions and goals regarding global competition.

“The Biden administration is not trying to change China through bilateral engagement,” the official said. “Rather, we try to shape the international environment in a way that benefits us and our allies and partners.”

The meeting comes amid a meeting of the Chinese Communist Party last week that further cemented Mr Xi’s position as supreme leader of China, which has abandoned its previous practice of serving only two terms as party general secretary and chairman of the Central Military Commission. the power behind the party.

The senior official said Mr Biden hopes to match the Chinese leader and his strengthened position by signing the $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill ahead of the summit.

The point of signing the bill will be to emphasize to Mr Xi that the United States is strengthening its position to be able to compete more effectively with China on the world stage, the official said.

When confronting China on the “road rules” regarding international disputes, Mr Biden is expected to point out that the current system is based on principles that many nations have adopted.

The president will push to maintain a system built on democratic norms and principles, the official said.

China is expected to raise the issue of a new security arrangement between the US, Australia and the UK involving the sale of nuclear submarines to Australia.

“It is certainly possible that we will hear from them about it,” the official said.

With regard to Taiwan, Mr Biden will say that the position of the United States remains consistent and clear and will be reaffirmed at the summit.

“We have been quite clear and direct, both in emphasizing what we have said and making it clear to Beijing that it should not characterize our own position, as we have seen a few times,” the official said.

Mr. Biden and Mr. Xi has held two long phone calls that resulted in the creation of several working groups.

While it will not be personal, Monday’s meeting will be the first time the two leaders speak face to face.

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