Doesn’t have a democratic — with a small “D” — bone in his body. But he’s a smart, smart guy. He’s one of the guys, like Putin, who thinks that autocracy is the wave of the future and democracy can’t function in an ever — an ever-complex world. – US President Joe Biden on Xi JinpingRemarks by President Biden in Press Conference
MARCH 25, 2021
Washington DC: US President Joe Biden sees a stiff competition with China. He underscores China’s overall goal to become the leading country in the world, the wealthiest country in the world, and the most powerful country in the world but at the same time goes on to emphasise “that’s not going to happen on my watch because the United States are going to continue to grow and expand”.
That’s not where I make the decision; that’s where I make sure we’re all on the same page – Biden on his meeting with allies
The US President was addressing the first press conference in the White House Briefing Room on Thursday March 25 2021.
Biden drew attention to the fact that he has known Jinping for a long time. He especially pointed out that by the time he left office as Vice President, he had spent more time with Xi Jinping than any world leader had, “because President Obama and the Chinese President Hu decided we should get to know one another since it was inappropriate for the President of the United States to spend time with the vice president of another country”.
He told journalists, how he had spent hours upon hours with him alone going into details. He is very, very straightforward. Doesn’t have a democratic — with a small “D” — bone in his body. But he’s a smart, smart guy. He’s one of the guys, like Putin, who thinks that autocracy is the wave of the future and democracy can’t function in an ever — an ever-complex world, Biden said.
When Biden was elected Jinping had called to congratulate him and they had a conversation lasting two hours. It was then that Biden had made it clear to him what he had told him in person on several occasions: that the US was not looking for confrontation, although it was ready for “steep, steep competition”. The Chinese leader was also told in frank and clear terms that China shall have to “play by the international rules: fair competition, fair practices, fair trade”.
In order to compete effectively, the US is going to invest in American workers and American science. Biden recalled how back in the ‘60s, US used to invest a little over 2 percent of the entire GDP in pure research and investment in science. Today, it’s 0.7 percent, and said he was going to change that. The future relates to technology, quantum computing, a whole range of things, including in medical fields, the US President said as he reiterated “we’re going to make real investments. China is out investing us by a longshot, because their plan is to own that future”.
Biden said that he has also told Jinping that the US is going to reestablish its alliances. It’s not anti-Chinese, he said adding he has also talked about it.
Regarding the “so called” Quad meeting earlier this month, Biden said that it got the Chinese’s attention but that’s not why he did. “I met with our allies and (discussed) how we’re going to hold China accountable in the region: Australia, India, Japan, and the United States — the so-called Quad. Because we have to have democracies working together.
Biden said he also told Jinping in straight terms: “as long as you and your country continues to so blatantly violate human rights, we’re going to continue, in an unrelenting way, to call to the attention of the world and make it clear — make it clear what’s happening.” further the US President said – “And he understood that. I made it clear that no American President — at least one did — but no American President ever back down from speaking out of what’s happening to the Uighurs, what’s happening in Hong Kong, what’s happening in-country.”
Turning attention to Russia, Biden said, its not talking about communism anymore. It’s about an autocracy. Demand decisions made by a leader of a country — that’s what’s at stake here. We’ve got to prove democracy works.
Biden said that the next major initiative, he will be announcing on Friday 26 March in Pittsburgh, in detail. It is to rebuild the infrastructure — both physical and technological infrastructure in the US— to compete and create significant numbers of “really good-paying jobs”.
We rank 13th globally in infrastructure. China is investing three times more in infrastructure than the United States is, Biden said adding what’s the first thing that businesses asked? “What’s the closest access to an interstate highway? How far am I from a freight rail? Is there enough water available for me to conduct my business?” All the things that relate to infrastructure. He went on to underscore that the future rests on whether or not we have the best airports that are going to accommodate air travel, ports that you can get in and out of quickly, so businesses decide.
Driving home the point that infrastructure needs focused attention, Biden said: “More than one third of our bridges — 231,000 of them — need repairs. Some are physical safety risks or preservation work. One in five miles of our highways and major roads are in poor condition. That’s 186,000 miles of highway. Aviation: 20 percent of all flights — 20 percent of all flights weren’t on time, resulting in 1.5 million hours lost in production. Six to ten million homes in America still have lead pipes servicing their water lines. We have over 100,000 wellheads that are not capped, leaking methane”.