The competition between the U.S. and China will determine whether the world moves into the future under democracy or under autocracy, President Joe Biden told reporters Thursday.
Biden made the comments at his first in-person press conference since taking office at the White House. He argued that Chinese Leader Xi Jinping is a “smart guy” who believes “autocracy is the way of the future.” Biden said he will soon convene a meeting of major democracies to make sure they are “on the same page” when it comes to competing with China. He argues that he doesn’t begrudge China for its goal of becoming the world’s most powerful nation, but that the U.S. will work to stop them.
Biden said Xi “doesn’t have a democratic — with a small ‘D’ — bone in his body. He’s one of the guys, like Putin, who thinks that autocracy is the way of the future, and that democracy can’t function in an ever-complex world.”
“We have to have democracies working together,” he continued, adding that they need to “hold China accountable.” (RELATED: Biden To Sign Order Protecting US Manufacturing As Carrier Strike Group Enters South China Sea)
BIDEN: “I have known Xi Jinping a long time. Allegedly, by the time I left office as Vice President I had spent more time with Xi Jinping than any other world leader…he is a smart, smart guy.” pic.twitter.com/f4bun3MDXQ
— Danny De Urbina (@dannydeurbina) March 25, 2021
Biden’s administration has condemned China’s ongoing “genocide” against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang as well as its destruction of Democracy in Hong Kong. The administration teamed with Canada, the U.K., and the E.U. to impose sanctions against Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials in Xinjiang. Biden has yet to impose any wide-reaching sanctions or other punishments on China, however.
Biden also downplayed the idea that the struggle for the future is between communism and democracy, creating a distinction between former Russian communism and what he called China’s “autocracy.”
“You don’t have Russia talking about communism anymore. It’s about autocracy,” he said.