Why China Just Agreed With Biden That Nuclear Weapons Should Not Be Used: Chinese President Xi Jinping once again distanced his government from Russian threats of nuclear conflict in Ukraine, telling U.S. President Joe Biden during an in-person discussion on Monday that a nuclear conflict should never be fought.
The world leaders met for the first time since President Biden entered the White House on Monday, speaking for three hours ahead of the G-20 summit taking place in Bali, Indonesia. Presidents Biden and I shook hands before engaging in talks described as “candid” by the White House.
According to a statement, Biden discussed Ukraine, North Korea, Hong Kong, Tibet, Taiwan, and global human rights issues. According to the statement, Biden criticized the Chinese government for engaging in “coercive” tactics against Taiwan. Despite his criticism, however, Biden told the Chinese president that the United States remains supportive of the “One China” policy, meaning the U.S. federal government recognizes that there is only one state known as China, that it is a communist state known as the People’s Republic of China, and that Taiwan is a part of China.
The White House confirmed that the two leaders agreed that a “nuclear war should never be fought and can never be won” and that they “underscored their opposition to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine.”
In many ways, it’s good news. China’s opposition to the use of nuclear weapons may already be part of the reason why the Russian Foreign Ministry published a statement on its weapons recommitting to avoiding the use of nuclear weapons. This statement, however, could prove even more influential and may pressure the Kremlin to continue to dial down its nuclear rhetoric.
The comments not only suggest China isn’t planning on assisting Russia with its military campaign in Ukraine, but also indicate that Chinese military leaders won’t make the kinds of threats heard from Russian authorities if an invasion of Taiwan takes place in the future. President Xi’s comments may also be entirely strategic, paving the way for a takeover of Taiwan without resorting to extreme military measures or expecting the West to use weapons of mass destruction against his soldiers.
China “Uncomfortable” With Russia’s Rhetoric
Ahead of the G-20 summit this week, Chinese officials also spoke out against Russia’s heated rhetoric over the Ukraine conflict.
Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang spoke “rather extensively” about China’s policy regarding Ukraine, according to an anonymous U.S. administration official. According to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the Chinese PM “put clear emphasis on sovereignty, on the irresponsibility of nuclear threats, the need to ensure that nuclear weapons are not used in the way that some have suggested.”
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.