Joe Biden finds time to put in a talk with Xi, just ahead of the mid terms.
The call happens through a confidential Zoom link.
Both men appear on the screen simultaneously.
High level assistants are in the room on either side but are not seen on screen.
Biden makes the call on Sunday at 8 pm Washington DC time – 9 am Beijing time on Monday.
Biden – Good morning.
Xi – Good evening to you.
Biden – Thank you.
Xi – I wish you well in the elections on Tuesday.
Biden – Thank you so much.
Xi – How do you think it’s going to turn out?
Biden – It’s going to be close. Very close. Closer than the polls estimate. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to our in person meeting.
So, Xi, you are now president for another 5 years.
Xi – What do you think about that?
Biden – I don’t think it’s a good idea.
Xi – Why not?
Biden – Leadership, like anything else, needs to be freshened up. You’ve done 10 years, like Hu Jintao did before you, now let someone else become president.
Xi – China is going through a difficult period and it’s best the nation have a seasoned leader.
Biden – There will always be one crisis or another, so that’s not a good excuse.
Xi – You’re trying to undermine our economy by not selling us the microchips we need…
Biden – We have to. Otherwise you’ll be wanting to take over the world.
Xi – We have no such ambitions. You’re misinformed.
Biden – You can deny it but that’s what we’re seeing. So, for us it’s simple. You want to be king of the world, go ahead, but don’t do it with our chips. Make your own.
Xi – We will.
Biden – You have 1.4 billion people, while we have less than a quarter of that. And as you’ve shown everyone watching, you can make stuff. Your people are very capable. So, make the chips you need.
Xi – It will take us time but we will.
Biden – Our two nations are locked in competition, such that we have never seen. And it could be that you and your country will end up beating us. It could be that you will make the chips you need and they may even be better than the ones we make. And it could be, also, that you will be able to make better ships and better planes and better submarines and better weapons than we do. If so, then, you will be able to convince the world that your technology is more effective and faster than ours.
Other nations will go to you for equipment and knowledge and advice, instead of us.
It could happen.
Xi – Will you want to start a war, then?
Biden – No. Let me assure you, that we will never harm you because you have become better than us.
Xi – Thank you.
Biden – What you pose to us is a great challenge. Can we keep producing and inventing at such pace that we will keep an advantage over you? I think we can and that we will.
It will depend on all of us, here in America and the West, to match and surpass your creative capacities.
To do that we will have to overcome our polarization and work better together.
Xi – You’ll never do it. Which is why I think you’re in decadence. How come nearly half of your voters elected Donald Trump? Then he doesn’t want to accept the election results and worse, he may run again.
Biden – It is a risk in our political system, that people with autocratic instincts will gain power. But they will not last. And I will tell you now, that Donald Trump will not be reelected president of this country.
Xi – You can’t be sure.
Biden – I am. One hundred percent sure. Mark my words. I can say that because I have great confidence in the good judgment of the majority of Americans. We have people who are troubled, confused and resentful, but we will learn to work with them and help them overcome their difficulties, so we can become a more united and effective nation.
Most in our nation have faith that our political system is the best there is. We offer liberty and immigrants from all over the world want to join us.
Let me ask you, are people from all over the world wanting to immigrate to China?
Xi – We won’t let them. There’s enough of us already. Although, we invite talented people to come and contribute to the building of our powers. Those can stay.
Biden – Our openness to the world has made us very rich. We will remain open because it is in our best interest.
Xi – You cannot control your borders. What happens in your borders would never happen in ours.
Biden – You would do what you did in Hong Kong and with the Uyghurs in Xinjiang province?
Xi – Again, you are misinformed. We have been hard on those peoples because we wish to correct them, but it is for their own good.
Biden – We would never resort to the violence you’ve used controlling those populations.
You get away with it because you do not allow the fundamental freedoms of a democracy, just like Putin.
Xi – You and NATO, have come too close to Russia, so Putin had little choice but to invade Ukraine. However, we do think it’s time that negotiations be started to reduce the loss of life. For you to continue to support Ukraine in a battle that they cannot win is a crime against humanity.
Biden – Hmm. Interesting how you change things around. NATO and America are the bad guys. Never mind the willingness of Ukrainians to die in defense of their land.
Tell me something, if Putin chose to fire nuclear weapons, what position would you take?
Xi – We are against it. I don’t agree with you or NATO, but nuclear weapons should not be used because of the risk of escalation.
We have worked very hard to build what we have and we’re confident one day we will be the number one nation in the world. Then, we will allow freedom of speech and cut back on the surveillance of our citizens.
To preserve our gains, my government is working with some people close to Putin, to make sure that no nuclear weapons will be used.
Biden – Does Putin know about it?
Xi – I don’t think so.
Understand that we are doing this not to spare you any trouble but to spare ourselves a calamity. That in your desperation, if you are hit by a nuclear weapon, you will send missiles our way.
Biden – I won’t say who we will hit and who we won’t, but defend ourselves and the West, we will.
If, indeed, you are trying to prevent a nuclear war, thank you very much.
I don’t want to keep you longer, and I appreciate very much your time.
Our nations are tied in a fierce competition for supremacy.
We, and the West, see it as a challenge for us to become a better people, while respecting our fundamental freedoms and that of others.
Our systems are different. We think ours is better. May the world benefit from our competition.
Xi – Good night.