During the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) global trade summit in San Francisco, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned U.S. President Joe Biden that the Taiwan issue is the most significant threat to peace in U.S.-China relations.
Xi’s statement: On Wednesday, Xi emphasized the preference for a peaceful reunification with Taiwan but indicated conditions where the use of force might be considered, a senior U.S. official told reporters, referring to Xi's comments on Taiwan. China has long claimed that the self-governed island is part of its territory, previously noting that they will reunify the island with force if necessary.
Biden’s response: President Biden reiterated the U.S.’ commitment to maintaining peace and stability. The U.S. follows a “strategic ambiguity” policy on the China-Taiwan conflict, recognizing Beijing's claim to Taiwan without endorsing it. Despite being Taiwan's primary military and defense aid provider, the U.S. does not explicitly commit to intervening in a conflict.
“President Biden responded very clearly that the long-standing position of the United States was ... determination to maintain peace and stability,” the official said, according to Reuters. “President Xi responded: look, peace is ... all well and good but at some point we need to move towards resolution more generally.”
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Foreign Ministry’s warning: Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying also warned the U.S. about supporting Taiwan's independence on X.
“The U.S. side should take real actions to honor its commitment of not supporting ‘Taiwan independence,’ stop arming Taiwan and support China’s peaceful reunification. China will realize reunification, and this is unstoppable,” Hua wrote in a post.
Biden calls Xi a "dictator": Biden emphasized their differences in governance during a press conference following the summit and later referred to Xi as a "dictator" once again, which he previously said for the first time in June.
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“Well, look, he is. He's a dictator in the sense that he's a guy who runs a country that is a communist country, that is based on a form of government that is totally different than ours,” Biden told a reporter, according to Fox News.
Other issues: Biden and Xi also addressed and claimed to have made "real progress" on various other issues, including military conflicts, drug-trafficking and artificial intelligence. Biden stressed the importance of restoring military-to-military contacts to prevent accidents and miscalculations. Xi also expressed discontent with U.S. sanctions in the tech sector, emphasizing the impact on China's development. Biden acknowledged the competitive relationship but committed to managing it responsibly.
No agreement: However, no agreements were reached on detained U.S. nationals, and Taiwan remains a contentious issue. China's increased military activity aims to compel Taiwan to accept Beijing’s sovereignty, despite strong opposition from Taipei. Senior U.S. military officers suggest that Xi has ordered the People's Liberation Army to be prepared for a possible invasion of Taiwan by 2027. Beijing has not ruled out the use of force and has not disclosed specific war preparation details.
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