Xi Jinping’s Blunt Statement Raises Tensions Amidst U.S.-China Relations
In a direct and assertive exchange during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping reportedly informed U.S. President Joe Biden of China’s intention to reunify with Taiwan. This revelation comes as tensions between the two nations continue to simmer, with Xi highlighting the sensitive issue during discussions on various diplomatic fronts.
Former and current U.S. officials, speaking to NBC News, disclosed that Xi made the statement during a meeting at the APEC summit, addressing Biden directly about China’s plans regarding Taiwan. Contrary to earlier speculations, Xi emphasized that there is currently no set timetable for the reunification operation and debunked predictions of a specific timeline by 2025 or 2027.
Xi allegedly conveyed to Biden that China’s preference is for a peaceful reunification with Taiwan rather than resorting to force. The Chinese president went on to request a public announcement from Biden during the summit, denouncing Taiwan’s independence and expressing support for China’s reunification plan. However, the White House rejected this request, maintaining its stance on Taiwan’s autonomy.
The warning from Xi coincides with China’s increased assertiveness towards Taiwan, marked by proximity-testing air and naval exercises and “cognitive warfare” campaigns aimed at undermining faith in democratic institutions among the Taiwanese populace.
Officials close to the matter noted that Xi’s language was assertive but not aggressive, with one U.S. official highlighting that it echoed his longstanding tough stance on Taiwan. Despite Xi’s warning, Biden has reiterated the U.S. commitment to defend Taiwan in case of a Chinese invasion, although the White House has had to clarify and temper these statements in subsequent communications.
The developments underscore the delicate nature of U.S.-China relations and the intricacies surrounding the Taiwan issue, which continues to be a focal point in the geopolitical landscape.