November 14, 2022 Biden, Xi meet during G20 summit

By Simone McCarthy and Nectar Gan, CNN

Updated 0639 GMT (1439 HKT) November 15, 2022
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10:22 a.m. ET, November 14, 2022

Key takeaways from China's readout of Xi and Biden's meeting

Chinese leader Xi Jinping spoke with US President Joe Biden for more than three hours in their first in-person meeting as top leaders.

China’s Foreign Ministry has released a 1,600-word readout of what it says was discussed during their talks, and here are the main takeaways:

  • China-US relations: In an apparent attempt to address US concerns about China’s ambitions, Xi told Biden “China does not seek to change the existing international order or interfere in the internal affairs of the United States, and has no intention to challenge or displace the United States.” He noted that China-US relations should not be a zero-sum game because the world is big enough for the two countries to coexist and "prosper together."
  • Taiwan: Xi stressed “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.” He urged the US to match its words with actions and abide by its one-China policy. The US' one-China policy acknowledges Beijing’s position that Taiwan is part of China, but does not accept its claim of sovereignty over the self-governing island.
  • Defending China’s system of governance: Xi pushed back at Biden framing the US' rivalry with China as “democracy versus authoritarianism,” claiming China has what he termed “Chinese-style democracy.” He said neither the US or China “should try to remould the other in one’s own image, or seek to change or even subvert the other’s system.”
  • Economic decoupling: Xi criticized the US for attempting to build "walls and barriers," and push for "decoupling and severing supply chains." “We oppose politicizing and weaponizing economic and trade ties as well as exchanges in science and technology,” he said.
  • Ukraine: Xi said China is “highly concerned” about the current situation in Ukraine and "has all along stood on the side of peace and will continue to encourage peace talks. But the readout made no direct mention of what the White House readout said was Xi and Biden’s joint opposition to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
  • Communication: According to the readout, the two leaders instructed their teams to promptly follow up and implement the common understandings reached between them. They also agreed to maintain regular contact.

9:32 a.m. ET, November 14, 2022

Xi launches this week of diplomacy more powerful than ever before

From CNN's Nectar Gan in Bali, Indonesia and Simone McCarthy in Hong Kong

U.S. President Joe Biden, right, and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands before a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit meeting, on November 14, in Bali, Indonesia.
U.S. President Joe Biden, right, and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands before a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit meeting, on November 14, in Bali, Indonesia. (Alex Brandon)

Xi Jinping’s handshake with US President Joe Biden has sent a clear message: the Chinese leader is now firmly back on the world stage.

Xi took no overseas trips since the start of the pandemic as China heavily restricted its borders and ramped up a stringent zero-Covid policy. Instead, the leader of the world's second largest economy conducted "cloud diplomacy" beaming into events via video-link and hosting summits online, even as his counterparts returned to business as usual.

But now, as Xi emerges back onto the world stage with his participation at the G20 and APEC summits in Bali and Bangkok this week, he is doing so having concentrated more power than ever before at home -- consolidated his status as the strongest Chinese leader since Chairman Mao Zedong.

Three weeks before Xi traveled to Bali, Indonesia to meet with Biden on the sidelines of the G20 summit, he was anointed a norm-shattering third term in office at the Communist Party’s National Congress.

The key political meeting also saw Xi retiring key party leaders seen as not in his inner circle and stacking the party’s top ranks with his staunch allies, some of whom were sitting at the table alongside Xi during his meeting with Biden on Monday evening.

While Xi took one international trip prior to that major leadership reshuffle, it was for a regional meeting of that saw Russia, China, India and Central Asian leaders gather in Uzbekistan one month prior to the leadership reshuffle at home.

Now, as he has consolidated power at home, it's clear that Xi is prepared to more squarely focus his attention on the international stage to address perceived threats to China there -- with the meeting with Biden being a key milestone in that new chapter of Xi's third term.

9:28 a.m. ET, November 14, 2022

Biden says he's not certain how much influence Beijing has on North Korea's provocations

From CNN's Kevin Liptak in Bali, Indonesia

US President Joe Biden says he isn’t certain whether China has the ability to influence North Korea’s decision-making when it comes to nuclear or missile tests.

But he said he believes Chinese leader Xi Jinping does not want further escalatory action by Pyongyang, and sought to underscore what further provocations from the North might mean for the US presence in the region.

“I made it clear to President Xi Jinping that I thought they had an obligation to attempt to make it clear to North Korea that they should not engage in long range nuclear tests and I made it clear as well that if they did, they meaning North Korea, that we would have to take certain actions that would be more defensive on our behalf and it would not be directed against…China,” Biden said at a news conference in Bali after meeting with Xi for several hours.

“It's difficult to determine whether or not China has the capacity” to convince Kim Jong Un to back off his tests, Biden said. “I'm confident China is not looking for North Korea to engage in further escalatory means.”

9:26 a.m. ET, November 14, 2022

Biden says no "imminent attempt" by China to invade Taiwan

From CNN's Kevin Liptak in Bali, Indonesia

President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference on the sidelines of the G20 summit meeting in Bali, Indonesia, on November 14.
President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference on the sidelines of the G20 summit meeting in Bali, Indonesia, on November 14. (Alex Brandon/AP)

US President Joe Biden says he did not interpret any "imminent attempt" by China to invade self-governing Taiwan after meeting for more than three hours with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Biden said in their talks, he made clear the US policy toward Taiwan had not changed, despite saying four times ahead of the talks the US would defend Taiwan militarily if China were to move on the self-governing island.

"I made it clear that we want to see cross-strait issues peacefully resolved, so it never has to come to that," Biden said of any potenital conflict over Taiwan.

"I'm convinced that that he understood exactly what I was saying," Biden said of the conversation on Taiwan.

9:22 a.m. ET, November 14, 2022

Biden says he will manage China and Xi's competition "responsibly"

From CNN's Betsy Klein

US President Joe Biden said he plans to manage China and its leader Xi Jinping’s competition “responsibly” as he recapped their three-hour meeting Monday evening in Bali, detailing topics of an “open and candid” discussion. 

“We had an open and candid conversation about our intentions and our priorities. It was clear – he was clear and I was clear that we’ll defend American interests and values, promote universal human rights, and stand up to the international order and work in lockstep with our allies and partners,” Biden told reporters.

He continued, “We’re going to compete vigorously, but I’m not looking for conflict. I’m going to manage his competition responsibly.”

Biden said he told Xi that the US One China policy “has not changed” and the US “(opposes) unilateral change in the status quo by either side.”

He said the US and China “should be able to work together where we can to solve global challenges that require every nation to do its part.” 

Other topics included Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and a shared “belief in the threat for the use of nuclear weapons is totally unacceptable.”

Biden reiterated that Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to China for follow-up meetings.

9:20 a.m. ET, November 14, 2022

Biden touts the strength of US democracy in the midterm elections after Xi meeting

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

U.S. President Joe Biden holds a news conference following his meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping, ahead of the G20 leaders' summit, in Bali, Indonesia, on November 14.
U.S. President Joe Biden holds a news conference following his meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping, ahead of the G20 leaders' summit, in Bali, Indonesia, on November 14. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

US President Joe Biden began his press conference in Bali by speaking about the "strength and resilience" of American democracy following the recent midterm elections.

During the campaign season, the President sought to cast the election as a referendum on election denialism and political violence, warning the future of American democracy was in danger and on the ballot in November.

Since Biden's departure from Washington for his multi-leg international trip, results from Arizona and Nevada have shown that Democrats are poised to keep a majority in the US Senate.

"What we saw was the strength and resilience in American democracy. We saw it in action. The American people prove once again that democracy is who we are," Biden said from the podium on Monday after his meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Biden said the elections showed "a strong rejection of election deniers at every level from those seeking to lead our states and noses to get to serve in Congress and also those seeking to oversee the elections. And there was a strong rejection of political violence and voter intimidation."

9:12 a.m. ET, November 14, 2022

Biden addresses the press following Xi meeting

President Joe Biden walks to speak during a news conference on the sidelines of the G20 summit meeting in Bali, Indonesia on November 14.
President Joe Biden walks to speak during a news conference on the sidelines of the G20 summit meeting in Bali, Indonesia on November 14. (Alex Brandon/AP)

US President Joe Biden is delivering comments to media in Bali, following the conclusion of his roughly three-hour meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

9:09 a.m. ET, November 14, 2022

Taiwan question is at the "very core of China’s core interests": Chinese Foreign Ministry

From CNN's Nectar Gan in Bali, Indonesia

Chinese leader Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden had a “candid and in-depth exchange of views” on strategically important issues in bilateral relations as well as major global issues, according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry readout of the two leaders’ meeting.

In the 1,600-word readout, the ministry said the world is big enough for the two countries to coexist and prosper together. 

“The two sides should form a correct perception of each other’s domestic and foreign policies and strategic intentions,” it said.

“China does not seek to change the existing international order or interfere in the internal affairs of the United States, and has no intention to challenge or displace the United States.”

The ministry said Xi gave a full account of China’s position on the Taiwan issue during the meeting.

“He stressed that 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,” it said.

"Anyone that seeks to split Taiwan from China will be violating the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation; the Chinese people will absolutely not let that happen!" it added.

Xi also defended China’s human rights records and governance system, saying that China has “Chinese-style democracy” that fits its national conditions, according to the readout. He acknowledged the differences between China and the US, but stressed that they should not become “an obstacle to growing China-US relations.”

“The Chinese nation has the proud tradition of standing up for itself. Suppression and containment will only strengthen the will and boost the morale of the Chinese people,” the readout said.

10:12 a.m. ET, November 14, 2022

China says its supports peace talks on Ukraine, following Biden-Xi meeting, but makes no direct mention of nuclear threat

Chinese leader Xi Jinping told US President Joe Biden during a meeting Monday that China is "highly concerned about the current situation in Ukraine" and "has all along stood on the side of peace and will continue to encourage peace talks," according to a readout released by China's Foreign Ministry.

"We support and look forward to a resumption of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. At the same time, we hope that the United States, NATO and the EU will conduct comprehensive dialogues with Russia," Xi told Biden, according to the readout.

Xi also enumerated steps the international community to take to address the crisis, and called for "confrontation between major countries must be avoided."

But the Chinese side's account lacked direct mention of a key point presented in a readout released by White House following the roughly three-hour meeting between the two leaders.

"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," the White House account of the meeting said.

Instead, Beijing's statement referenced “the four things the international community must do together” that Xi suggested “recently,” without specifying the occasion and what those things are.   

In early November in his meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Xi said the international community should jointly support efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the war and should come together to oppose the threat or actual use of nuclear weapons.