US-China relations: key quotes from Xi Jinping and Joe Biden’s virtual summit

  • Leaders held talks for more than 3½ hours by video link on Tuesday
  • These are some of the main points they raised during the meeting

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Joe Biden met in a virtual summit on Tuesday, their first “face-to-face” meeting since Biden entered the White House.

The meeting lasted more than 3½ hours, and statements issued by both sides described it as a candid exchange. Here are some of the main points each leader raised, based on readouts from the Chinese foreign ministry and the White House.

Xi Jinping:

“In the next 50 years, the most important thing in international relations is that China and the United States must find the right way to get along.”

“Such moves are extremely dangerous, just like playing with fire. Whoever plays with fire will get burnt,” Xi said of US involvement in the Taiwan Strait. “If the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces provoke or cross our red line, we will have to take decisive measures.”

“We are willing to engage in dialogue on human rights issues on the basis of mutual respect, but we do not approve of interfering in other countries’ internal affairs through human rights issues.”

“The US should stop abusing or overstretching the concept of national security to suppress Chinese businesses. It is imperative for China and the US to maintain communication on macroeconomic policies, support world economic recovery and guard against … risks.”

“As the leader of China, I can serve the 1.4 billion Chinese people, and together, create a better life with them … My attitude is, ‘I shall put aside my own well-being and live up to people’s expectations’.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping, in Beijing, during the virtual meeting on Tuesday


Joe Biden:

“Our responsibility as leaders of China and the United States is to ensure that the competition between our countries does not veer into conflict, whether intended or unintended. Just simple, straightforward competition.”
“We need to establish some common sense guardrails, to be clear and honest where we disagree, and work together where our interests intersect, especially on vital global issues like climate change.”

“We have a responsibility to the world, as well as to our people. It’s why we believe … all countries have to play by the same rules of the road, why the United States is always going to stand up for our interests and values and those of our allies and partners.”

Biden “underscored that the United States remains committed to the one-China policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three joint communiques and the six assurances, and that the United States strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”, according to the White House readout.

He also emphasised that the US “will continue to stand up for its interests and values and, together with our allies and partners, ensure the rules of the road for the 21st century advance an international system that is free, open and fair”.

US President Joe Biden, at the White House, speaks during the summit.


Author: Cat Wang, SCMP

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