President Biden and President Xi of the People’s Republic of China Virtual Meeting

Washington, DC…Good to see you, Mr. President. Next time, I hope we get to do it face to face like we used to when we traveled through China. We’ve spent an awful lot –- a lot of time talking to one another, and I hope we can have a conver- — candid conversation tonight as well. Maybe I should start more formally, although you and I have never been that formal with one another.

Good evening to everyone here in the United States, and good morning to you, Mr. President, in Beijing. I’m happy we had found time to meet, and I look forward to a candid and forthright discussion like all the discussions we’ve had thus far.

As I’ve said before, it seems to me our responsibility as leaders of China and the United States is to ensure that the competition between our countries does not veer into conflict, whether intended or unintended. Just simple, straightforward competition.

It seems to me we need to establish some commonsense guardrails, to be clear and honest where we disagree, and work together where our interests intersect, especially on vital global issues like climate change.

None of this is a favor to either of our countries –- what we do for one another -– but it’s just responsible world leadership. And you’re a major world leader, and so is the United States.

How our bilateral relationship evolves, seems to me, will have a profound impact not only on our countries but, quite frankly, the rest of the world.

We have a responsibility to the world, as well as to our people. It’s why we believe –- and you and I have talked about this — all countries have to play by the same rules of the road, why the United States is always going to stand up for our interests and values and those of our allies and partners.

If past is prologue, I am sure that today we’ll be discussing those areas where we have concerns — from human rights, to economics, to ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific.

And I think it’s very important, as I’ve told other world leaders when they ask about our relationship, is that we have always communicated with one another — with one another very honestly and candidly. And it’s — we never walk away wondering what the other man is thinking.

And I think that’s an important ingredient for this relationship: to be open and candid, in terms of our relationship.

And I think it’s important we communicate honestly and directly to one another about our priorities and our intentions.

I look forward to getting down to business and — on the extensive and substantive of agenda we have ahead of us. And I thank you very much.

And thank you for your congratulatory call when I won the election. It was very gracious of you.

Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

PRESIDENT XI: (As interpreted.) Good to see you, Mr. President, and your colleagues.

It’s the first time for us to meet virtually. Although it’s not as good as a face-to-face meeting, I’m very happy to see my old friend.

PRESIDENT BIDEN: Thank you.

PRESIDENT XI: (As interpreted.) Right now, both China and the United States are at critical stages of development, and humanity lives in a global village, and we face multiple challenges together.

As the world’s two largest economies and permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, China and the United States need to increase communication and cooperation.

We should each run our domestic affairs well and, at the same time, shoulder our share of international responsibilities and work together to advance the noble cause of world peace and development.

This is the shared desire of the people of our two countries and around the world, and the joint mission of Chinese and American leaders.

A sound and steady China-U.S. relationship is required for advancing our two countries’ respective development and for safeguarding a peaceful and stable international environment, including finding effective responses to global challenges such as climate change, which you referenced, and the COVID pandemic.

China and the United States should respect each other, coexist in peace, and pursue win-win cooperation.

I stand ready to work with you, Mr. President, to build consensus, take active steps, and move China-U.S. relations forward in a positive direction. Doing so would advance the interests of our two peoples and meet the expectation of the international community.

I now look forward to a wide-ranging and a comprehensive discussion with you, Mr. President, on overarching issues.

Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.

Below is the readout of their conversation…

Readout of President Biden’s Virtual Meeting with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China
NOVEMBER 16, 2021

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. met virtually on November 15 with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The two leaders discussed the complex nature of relations between our two countries and the importance of managing competition responsibly. As in previous discussions, the two leaders covered areas where our interests align, and areas where our interests, values, and perspectives diverge. President Biden welcomed the opportunity to speak candidly and straightforwardly to President Xi about our intentions and priorities across a range of issues.

President Biden underscored that the United States will continue to stand up for its interests and values and, together with our allies and partners, ensure the rules of the road for the 21st century advance an international system that is free, open, and fair. He emphasized the priority he places on far-reaching investments at home while we align with allies and partners abroad to take on the challenges of our time.

President Biden raised concerns about the PRC’s practices in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, as well as human rights more broadly. He was clear about the need to protect American workers and industries from the PRC’s unfair trade and economic practices. He also discussed the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific, and communicated the continued determination of the United States to uphold our commitments in the region. President Biden reiterated the importance of freedom of navigation and safe overflight to the region’s prosperity. On Taiwan, President Biden underscored that the United States remains committed to the “one China” policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances, and that the United States strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

President Biden also underscored the importance of managing strategic risks. He noted the need for common-sense guardrails to ensure that competition does not veer into conflict and to keep lines of communication open. He raised specific transnational challenges where our interests intersect, such as health security. In particular, the two leaders discussed the existential nature of the climate crisis to the world and the important role that the United States and the PRC play. They also discussed the importance of taking measures to address global energy supplies. The two leaders also exchanged views on key regional challenges, including DPRK, Afghanistan, and Iran. Finally, they discussed ways for the two sides to continue discussions on a number of areas, with President Biden underscoring the importance of substantive and concrete conversations.

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