Chinese President Xi Jinping warned President Joe Biden that Taiwan is a “red line” that the United States must not cross as the two work to elevate China-U.S. relations.
Xi gave Biden this boundary after over three hours of talks during their first in-person bilateral meeting since Biden took office, per China’s state media agency Xinhua.
“The Taiwan question is at the very core of China’s core interests, the bedrock of the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, and the first red line that must not be crossed in China-U.S. relations,” Xi reportedly told Biden.
Xi, who was reelected to the presidency for an unprecedented third five-year term, spoke of Taiwan as “China’s Taiwan.”
“We will continue to strive for peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and the utmost effort, but we will never promise to renounce the use of force,” Xi said of Taiwan.
Biden has previously said that the U.S. military would defend Taiwan if “there was an unprecedented attack,” which strained relations between the two world powers. The relationship was already on rocky footing after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) trip to the self-governing island in August.
Prior to the G-20 summit, Biden told his Chinese counterpart on Monday evening local time in Bali, Indonesia, that the two countries had a shared responsibility to manage their differences and prevent competition from leading to conflict.
“The world expects, I believe, China and the United States to play key roles in addressing global challenges, from climate changes to food insecurity, and for us to be able to work together,” Biden said Monday. “The United States stands ready to do just that, work with you, if that’s what you desire.”
Xi expressed his desire for this cooperation as well, hoping to “chart the right course for the China-U.S. relationship.”
Senior administration officials briefed the press on Monday morning local time that Biden’s priority was establishing “guardrails” so that “we have clear rules of the road and that we do all of that to ensure that competition does not veer into conflict.”