China on Monday ignored US President Joe Biden’s comment that his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping lacked democratic bones in his body, but said the two countries should focus on working together and dealing with differences.
In an interview with CBS Television on Saturday, Joe Biden said he has not spoken to President Xi since he was sworn in on Jan. 20, but that he met him many times when they were vice presidents of their respective countries in the past.
“I know him pretty well,” said Joe Biden, adding that when they speak they “have a lot to talk about”.
Joe Biden described Xi as “very bright” and “very tough” but without “a democratic, small D, bone in his body,” which highlighted the Chinese leader’s autocratic functional style.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin asked about his reaction to Joe Biden’s comment and escaped direct response.
“President Xi Jinping had many contacts with President Biden. Maintaining communication between China and the US at all levels contributes to mutual understanding and the development of bilateral relations,” he said.
“China is determined to build a relationship with the US that is non-conflict-free and based on non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation,” he said.
“In the meantime, China will continue to vigorously maintain its national sovereignty, security and development interests. The two sides should meet halfway, focus on cooperation, resolving differences, and the solid and steady development of China-US relations promote benefit to both their peoples and the people of every other country in the world, “he said.
After the Biden administration took power last month, there was much speculation about the likely course of politics the US president would pursue in light of the tough Beijing policies of his predecessor Donald Trump of promoting relations between the two largest economies the world hit a new low.
The top diplomats from both countries had their first contacts two weeks earlier.
Newly appointed U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and senior Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi had an open and frank phone conversation, according to observers, in which both sides wanted to highlight the issues that will shape relations between the two major economies of the world over the next four Years.
Mr. Yang, a member of the Political Bureau of the ruling Communist Party of China and director of the CPC Foreign Affairs Commission office, is Beijing’s most important man for Washington.
While Antony Blinken Yang Jiechi said that the Biden government would hold China accountable for its abuses of the international system and with him raised the issue of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong and Myanmar, the Chinese diplomat said both sides should respect core interests and choices in the political system of others.
Yang Jiechi said the US should “correct its mistakes made over a period of time” in an overt reference to the Trump administration’s hardline policies towards China that are pushing relations between the two countries to new lows.
He said the US should work with China to maintain the spirit of conflict, confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.
The Taiwan issue, the most important and sensitive core issue in China-US relations, affects China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Yang Jiechi told Blinken.
China regards Taiwan as part of its mainland and fears that the US will increase its engagement in Taipei with military and political support.
The US should strictly adhere to the one-China principle, Yang said, adding that matters relating to Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet are all internal affairs of China and do not allow interference from outside forces.
Any attempt to slander and smear China will be unsuccessful, and China will continue to stand firm in its sovereignty, security and development interests, Yang said.
He urged the US to play a constructive role in promoting peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, which affects the disputed South China Sea, where America seeks to step up its commitment to allies to contain Beijing.
China claims almost the entire 1.3 million square miles of the South China Sea as its territory. China has established military bases on man-made islands in the region, which are also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.