WASHINGTON, Nov 14 (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping held their first in-person talks since 2017 on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, on Monday. Here are some takeaways from the three-and-a-half hour meeting:
Biden reiterated that the U.S. one-China policy with regard to Taiwan, the self-governed island claimed by Beijing, had not changed. While the White House readout of the leaders' meeting was consistent with the administration's statements on the issue, Biden was more explicitly critical of China's pressure on Taiwan than in statements earlier this year following his calls with Xi.
The readout said Biden had raised objections to China's "coercive and increasingly aggressive actions toward Taiwan," which he said undermined peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the broader region, and jeopardized global prosperity.
Xi too was explicit about Taiwan, calling it the "first red line" that must not be crossed in China-U.S. relations. He said he hoped the United States would match its words with action and abide by the one-China policy.
Beijing had halted a series of formal dialogue channels with Washington – including on climate change and military-to-military talks – after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's August trip to Taiwan, a move U.S. officials had called "irresponsible."
While there was no announcement of a formal resumption of those dialogue mechanisms, both leaders signaled they sought to enhance senior official-level communications between their countries, with Chinese state media reporting that both Biden and Xi had agreed to maintain strategic communications and conduct regular consultations.
The White House said Biden and Xi agreed to "deepen constructive efforts" to address issues such as climate change, health and food security.
There have been fewer than usual senior-level visits between China and the United States in recent years due largely to China's strict COVID-19 prevention measures. But the U.S. readout, published before China's, said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken would travel to China to follow up on the leaders' meeting. The State Department said the visit could happen early next year.
NO NUKES IN UKRAINE
Ukraine's Western allies have accused Russia of threatening to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, though Russia denies doing so, and China has refrained from criticizing Russia for the invasion or from calling on it to withdraw its troops.
But according to the White House statement, Biden and Xi "underscored their opposition to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine".
Referring to U.S. sanctions on Chinese firms, Xi said China opposed politicizing and weaponizing economic and trade ties as well as exchanges in science and technology.
He said starting a trade or technology war, building walls and barriers, and pushing for decoupling and severing supply chains ran counter to the principles of market economy and undermine international trade rules.
Biden told reporters after the meeting there was no need for concerns about a new Cold War between the United States and China.
On North Korea, Biden said he made it clear to Xi that China had an obligation to make sure North Korea did not resume nuclear testing, although it was difficult to determine if Xi had that influence.
"It's difficult to determine whether or not China has the capacity. I'm confident China's not looking for North Korea to engage in further escalatory means because I've made it clear and I made it clear from the very beginning and last year as well," Biden told reporters.
At the same time, Biden warned Xi that such actions by North Korea would result in bolstered U.S. and allied military capabilities in Northeast Asia.
"In essence, Biden argued that North Korea's provocations come at China's expense, and therefore Beijing should exercise some of the leverage it has over Pyongyang to restrain them," said Jacob Stokes, an Indo-Pacific expert at the Center for a New American Security.
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.