Biden says he doesn’t see ‘imminent’ threat of Taiwan invasion

US President Joe Biden (left) speaking with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Bali on Nov 14, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

BALI - President Joe Biden said that he doesn’t believe Chinese President Xi Jinping plans an “imminent” attack on Taiwan, after a highly anticipated in-person meeting intended to stabilise a deteriorating relationship between the countries.

“I do not think there’s any imminent attempt on the part of China to invade Taiwan,” Mr Biden said at a news conference after meeting for about three hours with Mr Xi on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Bali, Indonesia.

“I absolutely believe there need not be a new Cold War.”

Mr Biden added of Mr Xi: “I didn’t find him more confrontational or more conciliatory; I found him the way he’s always been, direct and straightforward.”

Mr Xi Jinping warned Mr Biden not to cross Beijing’s “red line” over the island of Taiwan in Monday’s summit meeting between the two, state media reported.

“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,” Mr Xi was reported to have told Mr Biden, state news agency Xinhua said, following the over three-hour talks.

Mr Biden, however, told Mr Xi that China’s “aggressive” actions on Taiwan put peace at risk.

After their three-hour summit, the White House said Mr Biden had raised objections to China’s “coercive and increasingly aggressive actions toward Taiwan”, adding they “undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the broader region”.

Taiwan has become the biggest flashpoint between the countries. China broke off many routine contacts with the US earlier this year after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a visit to the self-governing island.

Mr Biden has repeatedly promised the US would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack.

Beijing views Taiwan as an inalienable part of China. 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 independence. 

Any move to calm tensions would be welcomed in Asia, where many governments saw Ms Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan as an unnecessary provocation.

US allies and partners - including South Korea, Japan and Taiwan - have also failed to fully endorse Mr Biden’s efforts to deny China advanced chip technology, a move Beijing has said was intended to maintain American “hegemony”. AFP, BLOOMBERG

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