Biden: US-China ties to improve ‘very shortly’


US President Joe Biden said he expected ties with China to improve “very shortly” after a spat over an alleged spy balloon earlier this year derailed relations.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday at the end of the Group of Seven (G-7) summit in Japan, Biden said the US’s move to shoot down a “silly balloon that was carrying two freight cars worth of spying equipment” changed the dynamic after his meeting with President Xi Jinping in November in 2022.
“I think you’re gonna see that began to thaw very shortly,” Biden said. He added that his administration was considering whether to lift sanctions on Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu, whom Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is seeking to meet at an event in June in Singapore.
Biden has previously voiced optimism the two would schedule a long-anticipated phone conversation, though he didn’t give any indication on how soon that might take place. Beyond the balloon incident, China has accused the US of seeking to contain its rise by restricting access to advanced technology and providing support to Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its territory.
Biden also reiterated that the US would intervene if China moved to invade Taiwan, saying there needs to be a “mutually agreed” outcome between Beijing and Taipei.
“There is clear understanding among most of our allies that, in fact, if China were to act unilaterally, there would be a response,” Biden said.
China has long opposed any US official engagement with Taiwan, and said again in a statement over the weekend that the matter “must be resolved by the Chinese.”
“No one should underestimate the determination, resolve and capability of the Chinese people in safeguarding China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
China also hit back against a G-7 initiative to counter “economic coercion,” saying the US’s sanctions and export controls “makes the US the real coercer that politicises an weaponises economic and trade relations.”

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