Vice President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping met at the annual annual Washington-Beijing Economic and Security Dialogue, and in the State Dining Room on Sunday, Liu expressed his hope that the two countries would strengthen coordination in the international arena, including on the fight against terrorism. Biden spoke about the new security challenges the country faces and the deepening links with the international community, including China.
Biden said both he and Xi were “shocked” by the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. “I know our troops are increasingly engaged in the global war on terror, and the atrocities that are being committed by ISIS, al-Qaida, Boko Haram, ISIL and others have shaken many of our citizens around the world. This atrocity must end and those responsible for it must be held accountable,” Biden said. He then highlighted the growing impact of social media in the “universal” interconnected world, and recalled the importance of the Internet to advancing human rights and freedom.
While Biden praised China’s enormous number of private-sector jobs, he also raised concerns about the country’s threats to intellectual property, which could threaten its leading position as a producer of high-tech products. “China is the world’s largest economy and our largest trading partner, and we’ll continue to work together to make America more competitive,” Biden said. “I have no question the United States and China will overcome our differences in order to maximize our mutual interests in the future of our countries.”
The vice president also talked about greater tensions in Asia, in particular in the South China Sea. “With China’s rapid rise, the risk of global tension is rising, with each passing day more visible, more threatening,” Biden said. He also spoke about the development of a “new norm” in the region for the use of force and coercion when it comes to disputes. The vice president also expressed his concern over China’s treatment of human rights defenders and the detention of journalists. “Media freedom is vital to an open and democratic society, and we cannot accept China’s efforts to stifle the free flow of information,” Biden said. “This is not a place where it’s appropriate for the expression of different views.”
While laying out the challenges, Biden also addressed the significance of the region for U.S. foreign policy. “I believe the greatest threats to America’s security and prosperity come from abroad, not within, and they are rooted in instability,” Biden said. He cited a United Nations report from April that determined the Asia-Pacific will host a generation of “major powers” — referring to the U.S., China, India, and Russia — that are increasingly uniting to address global problems.
“The United States will continue to play a major role in the Asia-Pacific, bolstering our alliances and partnerships there. But for the challenges and opportunities the region and the world faces, we cannot do without China,” Biden said. “The rise of China is a success story with enormous potential for both the People’s Republic of China and our broader trans-Pacific economic and security partners. We are all better off when China is playing by the rules, and the rules can only become more liberal and open if China embraces them.”
Xi stressed the importance of Chinese-American relations. “The two-way ties of China and the United States are not only deeply rooted in history and tradition, but also borne of a mutually beneficial trade of potential, and mutual understanding and benefit,” Xi said. “Since ancient times, China and the United States have had deep historical and cultural ties. And as the greatest countries of the world, I believe that China and the United States will always stand shoulder to shoulder in promoting the path of peace and cooperation in the world.”
Both are set to meet again later this week in Florida, when Xi will attend the APEC Summit in Palm Beach, Florida.
Published Dec. 21, 2016