U.S. President Joe Biden and his team staked out early opposition to Chinese territorial claims in a series of calls to Asian allies, as Beijing warned that trying to contain the country was “mission impossible.”
Biden reaffirmed in a telephone call with the Japanese prime minister the U.S.’s commitment to defend uninhabited islands controlled by Japan and claimed by China that have been a persistent point of contention between the Asian powerhouses. Meanwhile, newly confirmed U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken rejected Chinese territorial claims in a call with his Philippine counterpart and emphasized U.S. alliances in talks with top Australian and Thai officials.
While some observers had anticipated a ratcheting down of U.S.-China tensions under Biden, the series of calls didn’t indicate any softening of security policies in Asia. Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this week called for the world to abandon “ideological prejudice” and shun an “outdated Cold-War mentality” as he signaled in his first international address since Biden entered the White House that Beijing would continue to forge its own path regardless of criticism.