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Biden underscores US' support for "free and open" Indo-Pacific in meeting with Xi

California: US President Joe Biden on Wednesday (local time) met Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and underscored the US support for a "free and open Indo-Pacific that is connected, prosperous, secure, and resilient." Biden reaffirmed the US' "iron-clad" commitment to defending its Indo-Pacific allies, according to the White House's readout of the meeting.
The White House's readout of Biden's meeting with Xi stated, "President Biden underscored the United States' support for a free and open Indo-Pacific that is connected, prosperous, secure, and resilient. The President reaffirmed the United States' ironclad commitment to defending our Indo-Pacific allies."
"The President emphasized the United States' enduring commitment to freedom of navigation and overflight, adherence to international law, maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea and East China Sea, and the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," it added.
During the meeting, Biden raised concerns over China's human rights abuses, including in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong.
"President Biden underscored the universality of human rights and the responsibility of all nations to respect their international human rights commitments. He raised concerns regarding PRC human rights abuses, including in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong," according to the White House readout.
On Taiwan, Biden stressed that the one-China policy of the US has not changed and has been consistent across decades and administrations. He called for restraint in China's use of military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Biden emphasised that it remains a priority to resolve the cases of US nationals who have been wrongfully detained or subject to exit bans in China.
The White House readout of the meeting stated, "He reiterated that the United States opposes any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side, that we expect cross-strait differences to be resolved by peaceful means, and that the world has an interest in peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait."
Joe Biden raised concerns about China's "unfair trade policies, non-market economic practises, and punitive actions against US firms, which harm American workers and families." The White House readout further said, "The President emphasized that the United States will continue to take necessary actions to prevent advanced U.S. technologies from being used to undermine our own national security, without unduly limiting trade and investment."
According to the White House, the two leaders held a "candid and constructive discussion" on various bilateral and global issues, including areas of potential cooperation and exchanged views on areas of difference. Biden and Xi welcomed the resumption of bilateral cooperation to combat global illicit drug manufacturing and trafficking, including synthetic drugs like fentanyl, and the establishment of a working group for ongoing communication and law enforcement coordination on counter-narcotics issues.
The two leaders welcomed the resumption of high-level military-to-military communication, the US-China Defence Policy Coordination Talks and the US-China Military Maritime Consultative Agreement meetings. The two sides are also resuming telephone conversations between theater commanders.
Biden and Xi affirmed the need to address the risks of advanced artificial intelligence systems and improve artificial intelligence safety through US-China government talks. During the meeting with Xi Jinping, Biden stressed that the US and China are in competition and added that the US will continue to invest in the sources of American strength at home and align with allies and partners around the world.
He emphasised that the United States will always stand up for its interests, its values, and its allies and partners. The White House readout of the meeting said, "He reiterated that the world expects the United States and China to manage competition responsibly to prevent it from veering into conflict, confrontation, or a new Cold War."
Biden reaffirmed that the US will continue to support Ukraine's defence against the Russian offensive to ensure Kyiv emerges from this war as a "democratic, independent, sovereign, and prosperous nation that can deter and defend itself against future aggression," according to the White House. He also reiterated US support for Israel's right to defend itself against terrorism and stressed the importance of all nations using their influence to prevent expansion of the conflict.
During the meeting, Joe Biden and Xi Jinping underscored the importance of working together to accelerate efforts to tackle the climate crisis. They stressed the importance of responsibly managing competitive aspects of the ties, preventing conflict, maintaining open lines of communication, cooperating on areas of shared interest, upholding the United Nations Charter, and treating each other with respect and finding a way to live peacefully.
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.
"I think it's paramount that you and I understand each other clearly leader to leader, with no misconceptions or miscommunication," Biden said at the start of the summit.
Xi Jinping arrived in the US on Tuesday (local time) and the meeting marked the first encounter between the two leaders in a year. Previously, the two leaders held a meeting in Bali in 2022.

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