On Wednesday, the US President Joe Biden said that he has put a renewed focus on diplomacy and is not seeking conflict with China or Russia in his first address to Congress.
The speech was focused on selling major investments at home where Biden told lawmakers, “We´re in a competition with China and other countries to win the 21st century,” Biden said, warning: “Autocrats think democracies can´t compete.”
In a two-hour first phone conversation, Biden told President Xi Jinping, “We welcome the competition — and that we are not looking for conflict.” “But I made absolutely clear that we will defend America´s interests across the board.”
“America will stand up to unfair trade practices that undercut American workers and industries, like subsidies for state-owned enterprises and the theft of American technologies and intellectual property.”He said.
While addressing an unusually small audience due to corona restrictions, Biden said, “I also told President Xi that we will maintain a strong military presence in the Indo-Pacific just as we do with Nato in Europe — not to start a conflict but to prevent one.”
He warned that China´s most powerful leader in years had firm plans for the future. “He´s deadly earnest on becoming the most significant, consequential nation in the world,” Biden said.
“There is no wall high enough to keep the virus out,” Biden said, alluding to Trump´s cherished wall on the Mexican border. Similar to his message on China, Biden said he did not seek worse relations with Russia.
In his first three months in office, Biden has imposed sanctions over Russia´s purported poisoning of ailing dissident Alexei Navalny and over its alleged interference in US elections and hacking operations.
“I made very clear to Putin that we are not going to seek escalation but their actions will have consequences.”Biden said.
“We´ll be working closely with our allies to address the threats posed by both of these countries through diplomacy and stern deterrence,” Biden said.
The Biden administration is separately reviewing policy on North Korea after Trump´s unusually personal diplomacy that included three meetings with leader Kim Jong Un.
Biden also said he was reasserting US priorities by ending “the forever war” in Afghanistan — where he is pulling out remaining troops after 20 years.
“We went to Afghanistan to get the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11.”He told lawmakers, with millions watching on television.
“We delivered justice to Osama bin Laden and we degraded the terrorist threat of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. After 20 years of American valour and sacrifice, it’s time to bring our troops home,” he said.
“The terrorist threat has evolved beyond Afghanistan since 2001, and we will remain vigilant against threats to the United States.”He said.