Biden says his intent is to responsibly manage relationship with China

San Francisco: A day after meeting his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, US President Joe Biden said he intends to responsibly manage America’s relationship with China.

“I’m also intent on responsibly managing the competition between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, as we talked a little bit about yesterday, President Xi and I. That’s what the world expects of us and I promise you that’s what we’re doing,” Biden told a gathering of chief executives in his address to APEC CEO Summit on Thursday.

A day earlier, Biden had a four-hour-long meeting with Xi.

“I met with Xi yesterday, leader to leader, to make sure there’s no miscommunication between us. As always, I’ve met with them more than any other world leader because when I was vice president, it was concluded that I should get to know him. It was inappropriate for the president of the United States to be meeting with the vice president,” he said.

The US president said his discussions with Xi have always been candid and constructive.

“We’ve had, prior to this, 68 hours of private meetings… I again emphasised to President Xi that the United States does not seek conflict. And yesterday, we announced the resumption of military-to-military communication channels to reduce the risk of accidental miscalculation. And it exists,” he said amidst applause from the audience.

“This is not, as my generation would say back in the day, all Kumbaya, but it’s straightforward. We have real differences with Beijing when it comes to maintaining a fair and level economic playing field and protecting your intellectual property. We’re going to continue to address them with smart policies and strong diplomacy,” he said.

Biden said the US is de-risking and diversifying and not decoupling its economic relationship with China.

“We’ve also taken targeted action to protect our vital national security interest. We’ll be firm in standing up for our values and our interests. And I was very straightforward as he (Xi) was with me yesterday,” Biden said.

Biden asserted that the United States will continue to remain a Pacific power.

“(I) Had that brief discussion initially with President Xi… and I reminded him, why we were so engaged in the Pacific. It is because we’re a Pacific nation, and because of us there’s been peace and security in the region allowing you to grow. He didn’t disagree,” Biden said.

“By the way, it was a very good, straightforward meeting. We aren’t going anywhere. For decades, America’s enduring commitment to the region has been a springboard that’s enabled growth, transformative growth, ensuring the open flow of commerce, and lifted millions of people out of poverty,” said the president.

“Today that relationship goes both ways. The United States remains vital to the future of the region, and the region is more vital than ever to the United States of America. This was my administration’s outlook from day one. And we have clearly laid out our approach with our Indo-Pacific strategy. We’re delivering across the board, including when it comes to our shared economic agenda,” Biden said.

The United States, he said, has deep ties with fellow APEC economies.

“More than 60 per cent of US exports go to fellow APEC economies. Robust, two-way investment between the United States and APEC countries supports good jobs and new opportunities all across the region,” he said.

“American businesses, significantly represented here in this auditorium, are the largest source of foreign direct investment in APEC economies,” he added.