Washington — President Biden said Sunday that he is seeking stability in the contentious U.S.-China relationship while he visited the region to strengthen U.S. ties with China’s neighbors.
“I don’t want to contain China,” Mr. Biden told reporters during a news conference in Hanoi, Vietnam. “I just want to make sure that we have a relationship with China that is on the up and up squared away, everybody knows what it’s all about.”
Mr. Biden visited India for the G20 summit before traveling to Vietnam to upgrade the relationship between the two countries to a comprehensive strategic partnership. The designation puts the U.S. on the same level with Hanoi as China and Russia.
“Having India cooperate much more with the United States, be closer to the United States, Vietnam being closer with the United States, it’s not about containing China. It’s about having a stable base, a stable base in Indo-Pacific,” he said.
Mr. Biden insisted that building partnerships in the region was not about isolating or hurting China, saying “we think too much in Cold War terms.” Chinese President Xi Jinping was absent from the G20 summit in New Delhi, but Mr. Biden said he met with Premier Li Qiang, who serves in the country’s No. 2 post. Mr. Biden said the two discussed “stability.”
“I want to see China succeed economically,” Mr. Biden said. “But I want to see them succeed by the rules.”
Vice President Kamala Harris, who met last week with Asian leaders at a summit in Jakarta, said tension in any relationship should be expected when there’s “competition of any sort.”
“But that does not mean that we are seeking conflict,” she told “Face the Nation” in an interview that aired Sunday.