Biden retracts his threats towards China and tries to calm tension
The US President Joe Biden said Wednesday that the United States doesn’t seek conflict with China, despite tensions over the downing of a Chinese balloon that US officials have described as intended for espionage purposes.
“We’re not seeking conflict, and this is the case so far,” Biden said in an interview with the Newshour show on PBS network.
Biden’s comments appeared aimed at easing tensions over the huge Chinese balloon that flew over the US mainland before being shot down by the Pentagon off the East Coast on Saturday.
Biden added that his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, faces enormous problems, including his country’s fragile economy.
He noted that China is constrained in its ability to confront the United States due to its need to protect international trade, which puts Xi in an unenviable position.
Although Xi also described him as having great potential, Biden said, “So far, he has an economy that is not working well”.
Referring to China’s relatively hidden support so far for its ally Russia in its invasion of Ukraine, Biden said, “Everyone assumed that China would join Russia with all its weight,” adding that this is not the case.
Biden justified the matter by saying that Xi had drawn lessons from the strong Western reaction against Russia, including the imposition of massive economic sanctions on it.
Biden recounted that he told the Chinese president during a phone conversation between them this summer, “This isn’t a threat, just an observation… Look what happened to Russia”.
During that conversation, Biden mentioned that 600 US companies have left Russia since its invasion of Ukraine began a year ago.
Biden and Xi met for the first time since assuming the presidency in 2021 when they attended the G20 summit in Bali last November.
Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the last-minute cancellation of a trip to Beijing over tensions over the balloon.