Biden: US-China Ties Hinge on Trust 12/04 07:22
Emerging from a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, U.S. Vice
President Joe Biden said Wednesday that U.S.-China relations depend on trust
and a positive notion of each other's motives. Neither leader made public
mention of a major clash over disputed airspace that's pitted China against the
U.S. and its Asian allies.
BEIJING (AP) -- Emerging from a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping,
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday that U.S.-China relations depend
on trust and a positive notion of each other's motives. Neither leader made
public mention of a major clash over disputed airspace that's pitted China
against the U.S. and its Asian allies.
Appearing somber and subdued, Biden said the relationship between the two
major powers will significantly affect the course of the 21st century. If the
U.S. and China can get that relationship right, the possibilities are
limitless, Biden said as reporters were allowed in briefly after he met with Xi
"This new model of major country cooperation ultimately has to be based on
trust and a positive notion about the motive of one another," Biden said.
Biden said he had come to Beijing because complex relationships require
sustained engagement at high levels. He said Xi's candor and constructive
approach had left an impression on him.
"Candor generates trust," Biden said after a meeting that ran more than an
hour longer than scheduled. "Trust is the basis on which real change ---
constructive change --- is made."
The two leaders had a second meeting involving larger delegations and a
working dinner planned for later Wednesday.
Absent from Biden's comments was any discussion of U.S. concerns over
China's new air defense zone. Only a day earlier, Biden pledged to raise those
concerns "with great specificity" with Xi and other Chinese leaders, adding
that China's move was deeply concerning.
"This action has raised regional tensions and increased the risk of
accidents and miscalculation," Biden said in Tokyo Tuesday after meeting with
Japanese President Shinzo Abe.
Japan has been on edge for the past two weeks since China unilaterally
declared any planes flying through the zone must file flight plans with
Beijing. The airspace sits atop tiny islands that are at the center of a
long-running territorial dispute between China and Japan.
The U.S. refuses to recognize the zone, but Biden has avoided calling
publicly for Beijing to retract it, wary of making demands that China is likely
to snub. Rather, the vice president hoped to persuade China not to enforce the
zone or establish similar zones over other disputed territories.
After meeting with Biden, Xi said the U.S.-China relationship had gotten off
to a good start this year "and has generally maintained a momentum of positive
development." But he said the global situation is changing, with more
pronounced challenges and regional hotspots that keep cropping up.
"The world as a whole is not tranquil," Xi said through a translator, adding
that the U.S. and China shoulder important responsibilities for upholding
peace. "To strengthen dialogue and cooperation is the only right choice facing
both of our countries."
Added Biden, "The way I was raised was to believe that change presents
At the start of his visit to Beijing, Biden urged Chinese students to
challenge orthodoxy and the status quo, drawing an implicit contrast between
the authoritarian rule of China's government and the liberal, permissive
intellectual culture he described in the United States.
"I hope you learn that innovation can only occur where you can breathe free,
challenge the government, challenge religious leaders," Biden told young
Chinese citizens waiting at the U.S. embassy to get visitor visas processed.
Biden said he hoped they would learn during their visit that "innovation can
only occur where you can breathe free."
"Children in America are rewarded --- not punished --- for challenging the
status quo," he said.
Biden's comments were not immediately reported by Chinese state media and
were not likely to be widely known in China. A one-minute excerpt of his speech
posted by the Sina news website included Biden's comment about challenging the
"status quo," but left out the one about challenging the government.
When Biden arrived later at the Great Hall of the People, a ceremonial
edifice steps away from Tiananmen Square, any tensions between the U.S. and
China were papered over as Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao welcomed him with
an elaborate honor guard. A military band played the two countries' national
anthems as Biden and Xi stood amid the massive hall's marble floors and
crisscrossing red carpets.