“Final night time, I used to be on the cellphone for 2 straight hours with Xi Jinping,” Biden mentioned Thursday as he met with a bipartisan group of senators to debate infrastructure within the Oval Workplace.
“And also you all know in addition to I do, these of us — and it was a great dialog I do know him nicely we have spent numerous time collectively over time I used to be vice chairman. However, you understand, if we do not get transferring, they will eat our lunch,” he added, outlining China’s efforts to put money into rail and different transportation.
Biden prioritized financial and navy points, and talked about potential areas of cooperation, together with local weather change and nuclear proliferation, whereas calling China out on a variety of points associated to its nefarious use of expertise, unfair commerce and human rights abuses, the senior official mentioned.
The official mentioned previous to the decision that Biden would additionally name Xi out on human rights abuses of China’s Muslim minority Uyghurs and hostile actions towards Hong Kong.
Biden deliberate to “point out that this is not nearly American values, it is about common values,” the senior official mentioned earlier than the cellphone name.
A White Home readout of the decision launched Wednesday night mentioned Biden “affirmed his priorities of defending the American folks’s safety, prosperity, well being, and lifestyle, and preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
Biden, the readout added, “underscored his basic issues about Beijing’s coercive and unfair financial practices, crackdown in Hong Kong, human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and more and more assertive actions within the area, together with towards Taiwan.”
The administration is planning a sweeping evaluate of the Trump administration’s posture towards China, together with its crackdown on unfair commerce practices and antagonistic navy actions in Asia, all whereas acknowledging pursuing a strong Indo-Pacific technique, in line with an administration official. This implies embracing China the place attainable, whereas calling it out in different issues, corresponding to its human rights abuses.
One factor that can stay in place is the Trump administration’s tariffs on China.
“We’ve got maintained the tariffs that have been laid down over the course of the previous few years, not as a result of we predict that that commerce warfare was significantly profitable, however moderately as a result of we consider that we have now to very fastidiously, in session with allies and companions, in session with the Congress, work by means of the sources of leverage we have now,” the senior official mentioned.
Administration officers have additionally condemned China’s assaults on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. Final week, the US Navy additionally despatched a guided-missile destroyer by means of the Taiwan Strait, the primary time in the course of the Biden administration a US warship has gone by means of the waterway that separates China and Taiwan.
The official mentioned that the Biden administration discovered “deep issues” with the best way by which the Trump administration had approached competitors with China, and it is without doubt one of the points they’re now reviewing as a part of a broader China coverage.
“As we speak I used to be briefed on a brand new DoD-wide China process power that Secretary Austin is standing up to have a look at our technique and operational ideas, expertise and power posture and a lot extra,” the President mentioned as he visited the Pentagon for the primary time since he was inaugurated.
Biden mentioned the duty power would draw on civilian and navy consultants throughout the Division of Protection and would supply suggestions to Austin “throughout the subsequent few months” on “key priorities and determination factors.”
“It would require an entire authorities effort, bipartisan cooperation in Congress, and robust alliances and partnerships. That is how we’ll meet the China problem and make sure the American folks win the competitors of the long run,” Biden mentioned.
Whereas Biden had engaged with Xi in his position as vice chairman, the decision was their first leader-to-leader engagement.
Biden “clearly spent numerous time with Xi Jinping over time though this can be their first leader-to-leader name,” the senior official mentioned earlier than the decision.
“He is aware of what he needs to put down with regard to China’s actions and insurance policies” and needs to make sure “open traces of communication … so we are able to work by means of challenges,” the senior official added.
CNN’s Donald Judd, Paul LeBlanc and Kate Sullivan contributed to this report.