Biden spoke with China’s ‘number-2 person’ in India

File photo of US President Joe Biden. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP)

U.S. President Joe Biden on Sunday evening said he exchanged views with Chinese Premier Li Qiang on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi.

Chinese President Xi Jinping did not travel to India and was represented by Qiang.

“I met with Xi’s number-two person in India today,” Biden said at a news conference in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi on Sunday.

Biden last met Xi in person on the sidelines of last year’s G20 summit in Bali.

Biden said he thought Xi had his hands full right now.

“He has overwhelming unemployment with his youth, so, he’s trying to figure out, I suspect just like I would.

“Trying to figure out what to do about the particular crisis they’re having now.

“But I don’t think it’s a crisis relating to conflict between China and the United States,” Biden went on to say.

Asked whether he expected China’s economic struggles to lead it to invade Taiwan, Biden said that he believed the opposite was true.

“I don’t think (China’s lack of growth) is going to cause China to invade Taiwan.

“And matter of fact, the opposite, it probably doesn’t have the same capacity that it had before,” said Biden.

He stressed that Washington had no intention to hurt China.

“We’re all better off if China does well, if China does well by the international rules,” he said.

Biden was in Hanoi following the India summit to bolster relations with Vietnam amid efforts to counter China’s influence in the region.

It was Biden’s first real press appearance in the context of the G20 summit.

In New Delhi, he had not taken questions from the media in any formal format.

U.S.-China ties have been severely strained by a raft of issues, including China’s backing of Russia’s war in Ukraine, threats from Beijing against Taiwan and ongoing trade disputes. (dpa/NAN)

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