Biden to Urge CCP to Pivot on Human Rights at Meeting in San Francisco: White House

Iris Tao
By Iris Tao
November 15, 2023Politics

President Joe Biden is meeting with Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping, in San Francisco on Nov. 15 to tackle a range of contentious issues, including human rights.

The leaders and their delegates are convening at a Georgian revival-style estate south of San Francisco for what will likely be a four-hour-long talk.

“I’ve always found our discussions straightforward and frank, and I’ve always appreciated it,” President Biden said in his opening remarks at the beginning of the meeting.

President Biden said he’s known the Chinese leader for a long time and hasn’t always agreed with him, but their discussions have always been open, frank, and productive.

“I value our conversation because I think it’s paramount that you and I understand each other clearly, leader to leader, with no misconceptions or miscommunication. We have to ensure that competition does not veer into conflict,” he said.

The CCP leader began his remarks by addressing global economic issues affecting China. He said the global economy is improving slowly, protectionism is on the rise, and supply chains are under threat.

“All these are grave problems,” he said.

The two leaders are meeting on the margins of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ summit, which is taking place in San Francisco from Nov. 11 to Nov. 17.

According to the White House, President Biden will assert a firm stance on the human rights abuses of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and demand changes during the meeting.

“As is always the case, when we have meetings like this with foreign leaders, particularly when human rights are an issue, the president never shies away from raising that,” White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told reporters during a call ahead of the meeting.

Mr. Kirby declined to share what the president had on his agenda for human rights or describe the expected mood and tone of the discussion ahead of the meeting.

“But I think you can fully expect that the president will raise our concerns over human rights in China to include the issue of the Uyghurs,” he said, referring to a Muslim ethnic minority in China’s far west who are systematically repressed by the communist regime.

Mr. Kirby, however, was unable to provide a clear answer when asked whether the United States has the potential to persuade Beijing to alter its direction on human rights.

“We’re certainly going to continue to raise our concerns,” he told reporters. “We will be able to do that in a candid, forthright way, as we always do. We absolutely believe that the situation needs to be remedied,” he said.

“I wish I could be perfectly predictive on results here, but I can tell you there’ll be no slackening of our desire to see the situation changed.”

Ahead of the meeting lawmakers and rights groups urged the president to emphasize the regime’s severe human rights abuses, which include its decadeslong persecution of the spiritual group Falun Gong, repression of ethnic minorities, Christians, and Tibetans, and rollback of freedoms in Hong Kong.

There are no plans for the two leaders to issue any form of joint statement following the meeting. Instead, each government will present its own account of the talks. President Biden is scheduled to hold a press conference after the bilateral meeting.

Besides human rights, the two leaders are expected to discuss a wide range of potentially contentious issues, including the future of Taiwan, cooperation on fentanyl, China’s intervention in democratic elections, and the regime’s growing support for Russia and Iran, according to the White House.

Rather than expecting a big reset, both sides are approaching the meeting with the objective of stabilizing their relationship.

This is the two leaders’ second in-person meeting since President Biden took office. Both last met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, in November 2022.

With Taiwan’s upcoming election in 2024, the topic of Taiwan is currently a major concern for the two countries.

President Biden is anticipated to voice his concern over China’s attempt to interfere in Taiwan’s elections. The stakes are too high to ignore for the Biden administration, since the outcome could result in a government that is more friendly to China than the United States.

While President Biden is expected to reaffirm America’s support for the “One China” policy, he will also express the U.S. commitment to provide Taiwan with the weapons it needs to continue its self-defense, required under U.S. law.

“I think we can fully expect that the President will make it clear on Taiwan that there is no change to our One China policy, that we do not support Taiwan’s independence, and that we do not want to see the tensions across the Taiwan Strait devolve into any kind of conflict,” Mr. Kirby said.

During the meeting, both sides may agree to resume military-to-military dialogue.

Some members of Congress have asked President Biden to bring up the issue of Americans wrongfully detained in China. It’s uncertain whether this is a priority for President Biden and whether the meeting will produce a positive outcome on this matter.

“Despite repeated concessions from Washington over the past year, Beijing has made none and continues to threaten core U.S. interests,” Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.) told The Epoch Times.

He said that the Biden administration should walk away from today’s meeting if the CCP refuses to address even the most basic issues, such as releasing all Americans wrongfully detained in China and ending its military harassment of Taiwan.

From The Epoch Times