US President Joe Biden has expressed hope that the relations between China and the US, which had previously deteriorated after the latter shot down a suspected spy balloon earlier this year, will improve “very shortly”.
Biden made this statement during a press conference following the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, where he explained that Washington’s decision to shoot down a “silly balloon that was carrying two freight cars worth of spying equipment” changed the dynamic of relations after talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in November of the previous year.
However, the planned meeting between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and officials in Beijing that was intended to improve relations was cancelled due to the incident.
During the press conference in Hiroshima, Biden was asked why the planned hotline between the US and China was not operational yet. He responded by saying, “You’re right, we should have an open hotline. At the Bali conference, that’s what President Xi and I agreed we were going to do and meet on… It [the balloon] got shot down and everything changed in terms of talking to one another. I think you’re going to see that begin to thaw very shortly.”
The Biden administration faced criticism from China for targeting trade in advanced microchips, citing risks of military use. However, Biden defended these actions during the G7 summit, stating that they were necessary for maintaining the status quo and that the US had secured a commitment from its allies to prevent the provision of such material to China.
— Additional information from AFP.