US President Joe Biden anticipates the US rivalry with China will take the form of “extreme competition” rather than conflict between the two world powers.
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.
“He’s very tough. He doesn’t have — and I don’t mean it as a criticism, just the reality — he doesn’t have a democratic, small D, bone in his body,” Biden said.
“I’ve said to him all along, that we need not have a conflict. But there’s going to be extreme competition,” Biden said.
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.
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”.