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US Not Seeking Conflict with China but Will Push Back on ‘aggression and Intimidation’: Joe Biden

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Sep 21, 2023 #Joe Biden

Last Updated: September 20, 2023, 21:04 IST

New York, United States of America (USA)

President Joe Biden has told world leaders that the US is not seeking conflict with China but it will “push back on aggression and intimidation” as his administration seeks to “responsibly manage” its tense relationship with Beijing.

Addressing the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Biden said his administration is also ready to work together with China on issues where progress hinges on “our common efforts.” “When it comes to China, I want to be clear and consistent: We seek to responsibly manage the competition between our countries so it does not tip into conflict,” Biden said in his address to the Heads of State and Government at the 193-member UN General Assembly on the opening day of the General Debate.

Tensions between Washington and Beijing escalated earlier this year following an incident involving a spy balloon over American airspace, China’s support for Russia’s conflict in Ukraine, trade disputes and human rights.

“I’ve said, “We are for de-risking, not decoupling with China,” Biden said.

“We will push back on aggression and intimidation and defend the rules of the road, from freedom of navigation to overflight to a level economic playing field that has helped safeguard security and prosperity for decades,” Biden said as his administration sought to counter China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region and its military might.

Biden’s comments come as his administration has increased outreach to China, even as Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping have gone nearly a year without having a face-to-face meeting. However, the Biden administration has taken the lead in having regular channels of communication with Beijing to avoid conflict.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan recently met with China’s foreign minister Wang Yi. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo have both made recent trips to China for meetings with government and business officials.

Meanwhile, Chinese Vice President Han Zheng met on the sidelines of the General Assembly on Monday with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.

“I had a candid and constructive meeting with People’s Republic of China Vice President Han Zheng about responsibly managing our bilateral relationship and addressing global and regional issues,” Blinken posted on X.

US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry also met Vice President Zheng on the margins of the 78th UN General Assembly in New York City on Tuesday.

The two sides discussed the critical importance of bilateral and multilateral efforts to address the climate crisis, including promoting a successful COP 28.

Secretary Kerry reiterated the urgency of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, which will require ambitious action by the United States and China. He also emphasised the need for China to raise ambition in efforts to, among other things, accelerate decarbonisation and reduce emissions of super pollutants like methane, the State Department said in a press release.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)

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