On Wednesday night, President Biden gave a unique solo press conference in Northern California following his meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping. He reported advancements on important American goals in relation to China and expressed some optimism for the release of the hostages currently detained by Hamas.
The president stated that he is heavily engaged in discussions to secure the release of the hostages. He reassured that he is making every effort to bring them back, but clarified that this does not involve sending in the military.
He expressed a moderate amount of optimism, repeating, “I am mildly hopeful.”
We gathered for several hours at the Filoli Historic House & Garden located in Woodside, California, which is in close proximity to San Francisco.
Mr. Biden’s main goals for the talks were to restore military communication and address the issue of fentanyl, and he reported progress in these areas.
“Today, based on the previous months of diplomatic efforts from our teams, Mr. Biden stated that we have achieved significant advancements. He announced, “I am happy to share that after a long pause, the United States and PRC [People’s Republic of China] will resume cooperation on counternarcotics.” Additionally, he emphasized the significance of resuming direct military contact between the two nations.
The heads of state convened on the fringes of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in San Francisco, where representatives and leaders from other top economies are also gathering this week.
A high-ranking member of the administration informed the press on Wednesday that the United States and China have initiated “policy-level talks” regarding military affairs. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will hold a meeting with his Chinese counterpart once a new defense minister is appointed by China. The official also stated that senior military leaders, such as the commander of the U.S. Pacific forces stationed in Hawaii, will communicate with their Chinese counterparts.
According to a high-ranking government official, the United States is collaborating with China to create a strategy for addressing the production of fentanyl precursors by certain companies. The official stated that China has taken action against multiple companies based on information provided by the U.S. and is implementing measures to limit the availability of these supplies.
During their conversation, Mr. Biden and Xi discussed Taiwan, with a senior administration official describing it as a significant exchange. The U.S. official reported that Xi expressed China’s preference for a peaceful reunification, but also mentioned the possibility of using force. Mr. Biden emphasized the importance of maintaining peace and stability and requested that China respect the electoral process in Taiwan. The official stated that Xi acknowledged the value of peace, but also highlighted the need for progress towards a resolution.
Joe Biden often characterizes the connection between the United States and China as a competitive one.
During his meeting with Xi, Mr. Biden emphasized the importance of maintaining a balance between competition and conflict. He also stressed the need for responsible management of this competition, stating that this is the goal of the United States. Furthermore, he expressed his belief that both countries should engage in open and honest communication, as it is what the world expects from them. Additionally, he acknowledged the responsibility to work together for the benefit of their respective citizens and the global community.
However, on Wednesday, the president did not retract a previous statement he had made referring to Xi as a “dictator.”
The president informed reporters that he was leaving the room after stepping away from the microphone.