Biden, Xi Hold ‘Very Blunt’ Talks on Taiwan, Human Rights, Competition

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President Joe Biden met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Nov. 14 for the duo’s first face-to-face meeting of Biden’s presidency. They discussed the future of Taiwan, human rights in China, and global competition but appeared to reach no new ground on any of the issues.

“We had an open and candid conversation about our intentions and our priorities,” Biden said after the meeting, which took place on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.

“He was clear, and I was clear that we’ll defend American interests and values, promote universal human rights, and stand up for the international order, working in lockstep with our allies and partners.”

Biden told Xi that the United States would continue to “compete vigorously” with China by investing in domestic manufacturing and allies, according to a statement issued by the White House.

Biden also explained to Xi that China and the United States would need to cooperate on transnational challenges, including climate change, economic instability, and health and food security.

White House Journalist Assaulted

Moments before Biden and Xi were set to hold their discussion, a White House TV producer shouted a question to Biden, asking if the president would raise concerns about China’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang and elsewhere. A member of the Chinese delegation immediately grabbed the journalist and shoved her toward the exit in an attempt to forcibly remove her from the room. White House aides physically intervened and said the woman should be allowed to stay.

AFP White House reporter Sebastian Smith filed a travel report detailing the issue.

“Right at the end as we were being ushered out, the pool TV producer called out to President Biden, asking whether he would raise human rights during the talks,” Smith wrote. “Instantly, a man from the Chinese side (he was wearing a white COVID mask with a Chinese flag on it) yanked the producer backward by the backpack. She lost balance without falling and was pushed toward the door. Two White House staff members intervened, saying the producer should be left alone.”

By Andrew Thornebrooke

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