Biden Has No Intention to Change "One China" Policy

China Times, September 11, 2021


On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, Chinese President Xi Jinping had a telephone conversation with President Joe Biden on the morning of September 10. This is the first phone conversation between them since New Year’s Eve in February this year, and lasted 90 minutes. According to China’s Xinhua News, Xi emphasized that U.S.-China relations are not a selective question of whether to do a good job, but a must-answer question of how to do a good job. Relevant departments of the two countries can continue to engage in dialogue and advance coordination and cooperation on climate change, epidemic prevention, economic recovery and major international and regional issues. Mr. Biden responded that the United States has no intention to change its “One China” policy. The White House press release indicated that the United States continues to work hard and handle competition between the two countries to ensure that competition does not veer into conflict.


According to Xinhua News, Xi and Biden agreed that in-depth communication between the two heads of China and the United States is very important for leading to the correct development of U.S.-China relations. They agreed to establish task forces to conduct extensive dialogues conducive to the betterment of U.S.-China relations. Xi indicated that for some time, due to the U.S. policy on China, U.S.-China relationship has run into serious difficulty. This serves neither the fundamental interests of the people of the two countries, nor the common interests of countries around the world. Whether they can handle their relationship well bears on the future of the world. It is a question of the century to which the two countries must provide a good answer. When China and the United States cooperates, the two countries and the world will benefit; when China and the United States are in confrontation, the two countries and the world will suffer. Getting the relationship right is not an option, but something they must do and do well.


Xi Jinping highlighted an ancient Chinese poem: “Mountains and rivers may block the way, yet another village will appear amidst willow trees and blooming flowers.” On the basis of respecting each other’s core concerns and properly managing differences, the relevant departments of the two countries may continue their engagement and dialogue to advance coordination and cooperation, adding more positive elements to the relationship between the two countries.


President Biden said that the United States has no intention to change the one-China policy. The United States looks forward to strengthening communication and cooperation with China on important issues such as climate change. The White House press release didn’t mention Mr. Biden’s content on the one-China policy. It only stated that Biden and Xi had extensive and strategic discussions, and the two sides agreed to have open and honest contacts on a series of issues. President Biden made it clear that the United States continues to work hard and handle the competition between the United States and China responsibly. He also emphasized the United States’ long-term concern for peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-pacific region. The two leaders also discussed the responsibility of both nations to ensure competition does not veer into conflict.


When Xi and Biden called for the first time on February 11 this year, the White House press release indicated that Mr. Biden expressed his concerns to Xi on issues about repression in Hong Kong, human rights violations in Xinjiang, and an increasingly tough attitude towards Taiwan. This time the White House press release did not mention these contents. A White House ranking official stated that the Biden administration will not back down on issues of democratic values such as Taiwan. Reuters quoted senior American officials as saying that Washington is currently focusing on improving its own competitiveness. Even if China does not cooperate with the United States on issues such as tracing the origin of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Whie House does not have any plans to impose sanctions on China at this moment. The Chinese Communist Party will hold its 20th National Congress next year, so it is difficult for Beijing to show weakness. However, despite tough rhetoric, Beijing's actions are actually quite restrained.


Spokeswoman Joanne Ou of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that it will instruct our representative office in Washington to receive de-briefing on the talk on a routine basis to ensure that the United States policy towards Taiwan remains unchanged. Taiwan will continue to deepen cooperation with the United States and other countries with similar ideas, jointly defending the shared values of democracy, freedom, and human rights, as well as the peace, stability and prosperity of the Taiwan Strait and the Indo-Pacific region.


In response to second telephone call between Biden and Xi, Alexander Huang, an associate professor at the School of Strategic Studies, Tamkang University, stated that from the point of view of large international structures, the two top nuclear-armed economies and military powers cannot maintain at daggers drawn and infinitely let the conflict spiral up. They need to exercise restraints when the time is right. It should be noted that under the general atmosphere of global pandemic prevention, climate change, bilateral trade and avoidance of conflicts in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea, when U.S.-Taiwan relations are under phased pressure, the two sides have to ameliorate the situation. In these circumstances, the United States will not provoke Beijing. How does Taiwan view this situation? High-ranking national security officials in Taiwan need to comprehensively review and respond to this situation.


Professor Emeritus Shi Yinhong of Nanjing University School of Government indicated that the focus of Mr. Biden is to urge joint efforts with China so as to prevent U.S.-China relations deteriorating from competition into military conflict. This will do great harm to both sides. Therefore, crisis management and control must be strengthened. Shi pointed out that the most impressive thing is Xi's reiteration that the deterioration of U.S.-China relations is all due to the wrong policies of the United States.



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