President Biden on Wednesday told world leaders that the U.S. does not want a new cold war with China and reiterated the U.S. commitment to the “One China” policy for Taiwan.
Addressing the United Nations General Assembly amid rising tensions between the U.S. and China, Mr. Biden sought to reassure world leaders that Washington remains committed to keeping the peace.
“Let me be direct about the competition between the United States and China,” he said. “As we manage a shift in geopolitical trends, the United States will conduct itself as a reasonable leader.”
“We do not seek conflict,” he said. “We do not seek a cold war.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping did not attend this year’s General Assembly.
In August, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, became the highest-ranking official to visit Taiwan in decades, sparking a series of Chinese military exercises surrounding the island 100 miles off of the mainland.
Beijing claims Taiwan as part of China and thus its territory. The government in Taipei, which formally calls itself the Republic of China, is denounced as illegitimate.
Under the Biden administration, the United States has adhered to the so-called “One China” policy, under which Washington has long acknowledged Beijing’s position that Taiwan is part of China, even though the United States maintains informal diplomatic relations and substantial defense ties with the island democracy — and does not technically recognize Chinese sovereignty over it.
The White House has warned that China’s reaction to the high-profile stopover could cast a far-reaching shadow over U.S.-Chinese relations for the foreseeable future.
Mr. Biden said the U.S. remains committed to striving for a peaceful resolution to conflicts in the region and upholding peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
In a recent interview on CBS’s “60 minutes,” Mr. Biden also reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the One China policy after sparking controversy earlier in the week by declaring that U.S. forces would defend Taiwan if China launches “an unprecedented attack” on the self-governed island.
Shortly after the interview aired, the White House said the U.S. policy toward China had not changed.
Mr. Biden said at the U.N. that the policy has “helped prevent conflict for four decades.”
“We continue to oppose unilateral changes in the status quo by either side,” the president said.
• Jeff Mordock contributed to this story.