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Biden, Xi agree that 'nuclear war should never be fought': White House

Biden, Xi agree that 'nuclear war should never be fought': White House

US President Joe Biden, left, arrives with Chinese President Xi Jinping for a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit meeting, Nov 14, 2022, in Bali, Indonesia. (Photo: AP/Alex Brandon)

NUSA DUA, Indonesia: US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed in talks Monday (Nov 14) that nuclear weapons should never be used, including in Ukraine, the White House said.

"President Biden and President Xi reiterated their agreement that a nuclear war should never be fought and can never be won and underscored their opposition to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine," it said in a statement.

The pair held their first face-to-face talks since Biden took office on the sidelines of a G20 meeting expected to be dominated by the war in Ukraine.

The pair shook hands at the start of the meeting, with Biden saying the superpowers shared the responsibility to show the world that they can "manage our differences, prevent competition from becoming conflict".

The White House said he had told Xi that Washington would "continue to compete vigorously" with China, but "this competition should not veer into conflict".

Biden raised objections to China's "coercive and increasingly aggressive actions toward Taiwan," adding that they "undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and in the broader region", the White House said after three hours of talks aimed at avoiding conflict between the rival superpowers.

And he told Xi the world should encourage North Korea to act "responsibly", after a record-breaking series of missile launches by Pyongyang and growing fears of a new nuclear test.

Biden brought up other difficult topics during the meeting, according to the White House readout, including Beijing's "non-market economic practices", and practices in "Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, and human rights more broadly".

Biden said beforehand he was committed to keeping lines of communication open on a personal and government level.

"As the leaders of our two nations, we share responsibility, in my view, to show that China and the United States can manage our differences, prevent competition from turning into conflict, and to find ways to work together on urgent global issues that require our mutual cooperation," Biden said in remarks delivered in front of reporters.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to China to follow up on the discussions, the White House said.

Chinese state media reported that Xi had warned his US counterpart not to cross Beijing's "red line" over the island of Taiwan.

"The Taiwan question is at the very core of China's core interests, the bedrock of the political foundation of China-US relations, and the first red line that must not be crossed in China-US relations," Xi was reported to have told Biden, state news agency Xinhua said, following the talks.

In a statement, Beijing's foreign ministry said Xi told Biden that the world was "big enough" for their two countries to prosper and that they shared "more, not less" interests.

"Under the current circumstances, China and the United States share more, not less, common interests," Xi told Biden, adding that Beijing does not seek to challenge the US or "change the existing international order" and calling for the two sides to "respect each other".

The two leaders were also reported to have discussed the situation in Ukraine, with Xi telling Biden Beijing was "deeply concerned" about the conflict.

"China has all along stood on the side of peace and will continue to encourage peace talks," the Chinese leader was reported to have said.

"We support and look forward to a resumption of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine."

Source: Agencies/jo

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