In a pivotal meeting in San Francisco, Chinese President Xi Jinping conveyed to President Joe Biden a definitive message: Beijing plans to reunify Taiwan with mainland China.
However, as three current and former U.S. officials report, the timeline for this reunification remains undecided.
Xi emphasizes peaceful reunification with Taiwan, rejects military speculations
Xi, in a group session with several American and Chinese officials, emphasized China’s preference for a non-military, peaceful reunification with Taiwan.
This approach contrasts with the anticipations of some U.S. military leaders who speculated about China’s plans to take control of Taiwan by either 2025 or 2027.
Xi dismissed these predictions, stating clearly to Biden, “They were wrong because he has not set a time frame.”
Biden rejects China’s request on Taiwan ahead of summit
Before the summit, Chinese diplomats requested Biden to endorse China’s peaceful reunification goal with Taiwan publicly and disavow support for Taiwanese independence.
This request was denied by the White House, with a National Security Council spokesperson declining to comment.
These discussions provided new insights into a crucial summit to reduce Sino-American tensions.
U.S. officials react to Xi’s warning on Taiwan reunification
Although Xi’s warning about Taiwan’s reunification echoed his previous public statements, it drew significant attention from U.S. officials, given the heightened tensions and the upcoming crucial presidential election in Taiwan.
Senator Lindsey Graham responded to these revelations with urgency, advocating for bipartisan measures to deter China, including defense support for Taiwan and drafting severe pre-invasion sanctions against China.
Xi’s straightforward approach in Biden dialogue on Taiwan
Officials familiar with the Biden-Xi dialogue described the Chinese President as forthright and candid, yet not confrontational.
A U.S. official with knowledge of the conversation noted, “His language was no different than what he has always said. He is always tough on Taiwan. He’s always had a tough line.”
The Biden administration remains vigilant to prevent military conflict with China, especially over Taiwan.
Xi’s stance on Taiwan, economic goals, and election worries
Xi has previously declared at the Chinese Communist Party Congress that military action against Taiwan would be considered if it declared independence with foreign support.
While Xi aims to double China’s economy by 2035, experts speculate that China might refrain from attacking Taiwan to avoid jeopardizing these economic ambitions.
At the San Francisco summit, Xi expressed concerns about the candidates in the forthcoming Taiwanese presidential election.
Critical points from Biden-Xi summit: Taiwan, relations, and diplomacy
He also acknowledged the significant influence of the U.S. on Taiwan.
In response to Biden’s request for China to respect Taiwan’s electoral process, Xi indicated that while peace is preferred, China must work towards a definitive resolution.
The summit, marking the first meeting between Biden and Xi in a year, was a significant diplomatic effort following strained relations due to a Chinese spy balloon incident.
Post-summit, Biden underscored the importance of a rational and manageable U.S.-China relationship to avoid conflict.
U.S. Intelligence raises concerns about potential Taiwan invasion by 2027
CIA Director William Burns disclosed that U.S. intelligence suggests Xi has directed his military to prepare for a possible Taiwan invasion by 2027.
Biden has previously stated that the U.S. would defend Taiwan in such an event, though the White House later moderated these comments.
The U.S., under its longstanding “One China” policy, recognizes Beijing as the sole legal government of China while maintaining informal ties with Taiwan. Biden, following the summit, reiterated this policy, emphasizing its unchanged nature.
Chinese official Hua Chunying, reflecting on the conference, stressed on social media platform X that Taiwan’s issue is paramount in China-U.S. relations, underscoring China’s unwavering commitment to peaceful reunification.