President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s three-hour meeting will be meaningless if the US does not respond to Chinese misconduct, said Gordon Chang.
“While Washington talks with China, Xi’s regime continues unacceptable and dangerous conduct, and we do not impose costs,” Chang, a China expert, told Fox News. “Only when we impose costs will the situation improve from our standpoint.”
Biden and Xi, for the first time since Biden took office, met in person at the G-20 summit in Indonesia on Monday. The US president raised concerns about Beijing’s “coercive and increasingly aggressive actions toward Taiwan,” China’s human rights practices, North Korean military escalations and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the White House.
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“He has the power to enforce the red lines, but the issue is political will,” Chang said. “It is not clear Biden will employ American power to enforce them.”
“This meeting may have established some order in the Taiwan Strait, but the issue is whether Xi Jinping believes Biden,” he added. “Xi has seen Biden’s failure to impose costs on China for openly supporting the Russian military in Ukraine and may believe he can similarly ignore Biden’s warnings on Taiwan.”
Beijing views Taiwan as an inalienable part of China. The self-ruled island’s democratically-elected government rejects Beijing’s claims of sovereignty over it, while China has accused the US in recent years of encouraging Taiwan independence.
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Xi told Biden that the Taiwan question was at the “very core of China’s core interests” and the “first red line” in bilateral ties that must not be crossed.
Biden reiterated US support for its longstanding “One China” policy, which recognizes the government in Beijing and said the US remains committed to maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits. The US president also said that he does not believe there is “any imminent attempt on the part of China to invade Taiwan.”
“For years, Chinese officials have been talking about the moon and Mars as sovereign Chinese territory,” Chang said, doubtful of Biden’s claim. “The only limit to Chinese ambition is the outer boundary of the universe.”
At the meeting, Xi told Biden he looks forward “to bringing China-US relations back to the track of healthy and stable growth.” Chang, however, was skeptical of China’s call for improved relations.
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“By improving relations, Beijing means talking and delaying America doing anything effective about China’s unacceptable conduct,” he said.
Chang pointed to reports that Chinese police service stations have been established in at least 54 locations across 30 different countries, including one in New York City. They purportedly allow Chinese authorities to monitor its citizens abroad and “carry out policing operations on foreign soil.”
“The police station in New York is more about American feebleness than Chinese aggression,” Chang told Fox News. “Beijing obviously felt it could get away with opening a police station in America because American presidents had allowed Chinese consular officials and Ministry of State Security agents to openly operate on our soil for decades.”
“It’s time to show the Chinese that we now have zero-tolerance for violation of our sovereignty,” he added. “We do that by, among other things, closing down that New York police station.”
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Despite talk that the Xi-Biden meeting was a step in the right direction for the two superpowers, which many had feared were heading towards a new Cold War, Chang was not as convinced.
“We should remember that good relations are not necessarily friendly relations. Good relations are getting what you want,” he said. “The Chinese know this. We should too.”