By: Jake Smith, Daily Caller News Foundation
Chinese President Xi Jinping warned U.S. President Joe Biden last month that China will reunify with Taiwan, NBC News reported on Wednesday.
Xi and Biden met during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in November to find common ground on several pressing issues, including strengthening military communications and halting the production of fentanyl products. During one of their meetings at the summit, Xi point-blank told Biden that China plans to reunify with Taiwan, according to former and current U.S. officials who spoke to NBC.
Xi noted that predictions China would retake the island by 2025 or 2027 were false because Beijing hasn’t yet set a timetable for the operation, the officials told NBC. Xi also told Biden that China would prefer that it peacefully reunify with Taiwan rather than have to take the island by force.
Beijing requested that Biden make a public announcement during the summit denouncing Taiwan’s independence and an expression of support for China’s plan to reunify with Taiwan, the officials told NBC. The White House rejected the request, although Secretary of State Antony Blinken previously made a similar statement immediately after being told to do so by Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi during a June press conference in Beijing.
Xi’s warning comes alongside China acting increasingly confrontational toward Taiwan by conducting air and naval exercises dangerously close to the island. China has also employed “cognitive warfare” campaigns within the island to undermine the Taiwanese people’s faith in their democratic institutions and elected officials.
Officials close to the matter told NBC that Xi was assertive with Biden but not aggressive.
“[Xi’s] language was no different than what he has always said. He is always tough on Taiwan. He’s always had a tough line,” a U.S. official told NBC.
Biden has on multiple occasions said that the U.S. would go to war to defend Taiwan if China ever invaded. The White House has had to walk back these statements.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.