Biden raises concerns over human rights, detained US citizens in meeting with Xi

US President Joe Biden Xi Jinping USA China Chinese President

US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Wednesday exchanged views on regional and global issues, including Russia’s refusal to stop its war against Ukraine. In a meeting with Xi in San Francisco, Biden said that he raised the concerns of the US regarding China’s actions, including human rights and coercive activities in the South China Sea.

Addressing a press conference following his meeting with Xi, the US president said, “Today, President Xi and I also exchanged views on a range of regional and global issues, including Russia’s refusal to stop the war, brutal war of aggression against Ukraine and conflict in Gaza. As I always do, I raised areas where the United States has concerns about the PRC’s actions, including detained and exit-banned US citizens, human rights, and coercive activities in the South China Sea.”

“We discussed all three of those things. I gave them names of individuals that we think are being held, and hopefully, we can get them released as well. No agreement on that,” Biden said.

A White House readout of the meeting said that President Joe Biden raised concerns of China’s “human rights abuses” in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong during his nearly four-hour-long talks with Xi Jinping.

The US President said he stressed the need for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

“I also stressed the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits. It’s clear we object to Beijing’s non-market economic practices that disadvantage American businesses and workers and we will continue to address that. I also named what we thought number of those were,” Biden said.

He said the talks with Xi were “some of the most constructive and productive discussions we’ve had.” He said, “I have been meeting Xi since both of us were Vice President, about 10 years. Our meetings have always been candid and straightforward. We haven’t always agreed.” He added that his talks with Xi Jinping have always been “straightforward.”

Biden has confirmed the re-establishment of direct military-to-military contacts with China. He emphasised the importance of maintaining open and clear channels of communication to avoid potential miscalculations that could lead to serious consequences in relations between the two major powers.

Biden said, “President Xi Jinping and I tasked our teams to maintain a policy and law enforcement coordination going forward to make sure it works…Secondly, and this is critically important, we’re reassuming military-to-military contacts, direct contacts…So, we are back to direct, open, clear, direct communications on a direct basis.”

He also highlighted the necessity of direct and transparent communication to prevent “vital miscalculations.”

“Vital miscalculations on either side can cause real trouble with a country like China or any other major country. So I think we’ve made real progress there as well,” Biden said on Wednesday (local time).

The meeting, held on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), followed efforts between the US and China to increase high-level communication amid continued tensions.

Addressing a press conference post the meeting, Biden doubled down on his comments of Xi being a dictator. In response to a question, Biden said, “Well look, he is. He is a dictator in the sense that he is a guy who runs a country that is communist.”

Biden highlighted the work carried out by his Biden administration. Notably, Quad is a strategic security dialogue between Australia, India, Japan and the United States.

In response to a question, he said, “You may recall I did a few little things like get the Quad together. Allow Australia to have access to new submarines, moving in the direction of work with the Philippines. So our actions speak louder than words.” 

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