Did Biden make a series of promises to Xi? « Khabarhub
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Did Biden make a series of promises to Xi?

28 June 2023  

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WASHINGTON: U.S. efforts to ease tensions with China are complicated by apparent differences of opinion over what commitments each side has made to the other.

Chinese officials and state media insist that U.S. President Joe Biden has made a series of promises to China’s Xi Jinping — described by Beijing as the “four no’s and one no-intention” — which ought to guide official U.S. conduct toward China.

“I hope the U.S. side will … stick to the consensus President Biden and I arrived at during our meeting in Bali [Indonesia] and put relevant positive expressions into practice,” Xi was quoted by China’s state media as telling visiting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on June 19.

Xinhua, China’s leading state media, quoted Blinken as saying that the U.S. side “will abide by the promises made by President Biden.”

Running through the list of four promises it says had been made, Xinhua reported that Blinken said the United States “does not seek ‘a new cold war,’ does not seek to change China’s [political] system, does not seek to oppose China through strengthening alliances, does not support Taiwan independence, has no intention to enter into conflict with China.”

But when asked to confirm that Blinken made those remarks, the State Department referred VOA to a series of interviews Blinken conducted after his meeting with Xi in Beijing, as well as remarks the secretary delivered at a press availability.

While several of the reported commitments generally reflect existing U.S. policy, Blinken did not mention any promises Biden had made to Xi in his public remarks. He reiterated the administration’s efforts to strengthen the U.S.’s technological and industrial position at home as well as alliances and partnerships abroad.

On the question of Taiwan, Blinken said that while the Biden administration does not support Taiwan’s independence, “the concern that we have is China changing its policy, when it comes to resolving these differences peacefully.”

“We’re using engagement to try to advance our interests and to protect them,” Blinken said of the Biden administration’s overall position toward China, including his trip to Beijing.

China policy

The Biden administration’s most comprehensive description of its China policy was delivered by Blinken in May 2022.

“We do not seek to transform China’s political system,” the secretary said. “Our task is to prove once again that democracy can meet urgent challenges, create opportunities, advance human dignity; that the future belongs to those who believe in freedom and that all countries will be free to chart their own paths without coercion.”

Biden quoted in 2021

Chinese state media first quoted Biden as having made the promises to Xi when the two met for a virtual summit in November 2021.

Biden was quoted as saying: “I’d like to clearly reiterate that the United States does not seek to change China’s political system, does not seek to oppose China via strengthening alliances, has no intention to enter into conflict with China, that the United States is committed to carrying out its long-held ‘one China’ policy, does not support Taiwan independence, wishes to see peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”

The following year, China’s then-State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi sought to invoke those points to criticize members of the Biden administration in a keynote speech delivered at the Asia Society in September 2022.

“President Biden has emphasized on multiple occasions that the U.S. does not seek to fight a ‘new cold war,’ does not seek to change China’s political system, does not seek to oppose China via strengthening alliances, does not support Taiwan independence, has no intention to enter into conflict with China,” Wang stated, before voicing Beijing’s frustration.

“For two orchestras to collaborate, it is mandatory that the two conductors first set a common tone, but at the same time, all the players are required to sound their harmonious notes, in accordance with the same set of score. However, what we have witnessed is that Team USA appears to have been working with two sets of scores and has failed to turn the political will expressed by their leader into logical policies, which has in turn caused confusion on the part of the Chinese people as well as people of various countries,” according to Wang.

“The three principles proposed by Chairman Xi [concerning bilateral relations], i.e., China and the United States ought to respect each other, peacefully coexist, collaborate for win-win, together with the ‘four no’s and one ‘no-intention’ expressed by President Biden, form a perfect framework,” Wang said.

“What Team USA ought to do right now is to put into practice what President Biden has said about the ‘four no’s and one no-intention’ and get bilateral relations back on track,” Wang continued.

Wei Jingsheng, one of China’s most prominent dissidents now living in exile, noted the difference between a statement and a promise in an interview with VOA.

“While statements are simply statements, the word ‘promise’ implies obligation and a pact reached between two parties,” Wei pointed out.


Publish Date : 28 June 2023 10:22 AM

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