WASHINGTON, D. C., AP – US President Joe Biden says China is in for “extreme competition” from his country but that the new relationship he wants to forge need not be one of conflict.
In an interview broadcast on Sunday, Biden acknowledged that he has yet to speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping since his inauguration on January 20 but noted that the two leaders had met many times when both men served their countries as vice president.
“I know him pretty well,” Biden said in an excerpt of the interview aired on Sunday by CBS’ Face the Nation.
When they do speak, they will have “a whole lot to talk about,” Biden said.
Biden appears to be concentrating his initial telephone diplomacy on US allies.
He so far has spoken with the leaders of Canada, Mexico, the UK, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Australia and the NATO secretary-general.
He also worked in a conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In the interview, Biden described Xi as “very bright” and “very tough” but without “a democratic, small D, bone in his body”.
Biden, in the interview taped on Friday, said he has said to Xi ” all along, that we need not have a conflict”.
But, Biden added, there will be “extreme competition. And I’m not going to do it the way that he knows. And that’s because he’s sending signals as well”.
Biden said he will not pursue US-China relations in the way that his predecessor Donald Trump did but will focus on “international rules of the road”.