The United States working with its partners and allies is going to hold China accountable to follow the rules, US President Joe Biden has said, as he referred to his recent meeting with leaders from Quad countries involving Australia, India and Japan.
"Earlier this month, and apparently got the Chinese attention, that's not why did it, I met with our allies and -- how we're going to hold China accountable in the region, Australia, India, Japan, the United States, the so-called Quad, because we have to have democracies working together," he said.
Addressing his first solo news conference in the East Room of the White House on Thursday, Biden said that soon he is going to invite an alliance of democracies to come to Washington, DC to 'discuss the future'.
"We are going to make it clear that, in order to deal with these things, we are going to hold China accountable to follow the rules, to follow the rules, whether it relates to the South China Sea or the North China Sea or the agreement made on Taiwan or a whole range of other things," he asserted.
The conference was attended by 30 reporters from various media outlets, including two foreign correspondents.
Biden, in response to a question, said he sees stiff competition with China.
"China has an overall goal -- and I don't criticize them for the goal, but they have an overall goal to become the leading country in the world, the wealthiest country in the world, and the most powerful country in the world.
"That's not going to happen on my watch because the United States is going to continue to grow and expand," he said.
After becoming the 46th President of the United States on January 20, Biden has spoken with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping over the phone once.
The phone call, he said, lasted for two hours.
Biden said as vice president during the Obama administration, he spent hours together with Xi.
"It was very, very straightforward. He doesn't have a democratic with a small D bone in his body, but he's a smart, smart guy.
"He's one of the guys like Putin who thinks that autocracy is the wave of the future. Democracy can't function in an ever complex world," he said.
"So, when I was elected and he called to congratulate me, I think to the surprise of the China experts who were his people on the call as well as mine listening, we had a two-hour conversation, for two hours.
"And we made several things clear to one another. I made it clear to him again what I told him in person on several occasions, that we're not looking for confrontation, although we know there will be steep, steep competition," he added.
"Two, that we'll have strong competition but we'll insist that China play by the international rules, fair competition, fair practices, fair trade.
"Thirdly, in order to compete effectively, I indicated that we're going to deal with China effectively, and we're going to need three things to do that I'm telling our people. First, we're going to invest in American workers and American science," the US President.
Biden said he is setting up his administration to be able to do that.
"The second thing we're going to do is we're going to reestablish our alliances," he asserted.
"I've been very clear with it. It's not anti-Chinese. We have talked about it."
Biden says his plan is to run for re-election in 2024
President Biden has said his plan is to run for re-election in 2024, signalling that at the age of 82 years he may seek a second term in the White House.
Biden also said he 'would fully expect' that Vice President Kamala Harris would be his running mate for a second term and described her as a 'great partner'.
The confirmation by Biden in response to a question at his maiden solo news conference on Thursday thus sets the stage for a potential clash with his predecessor Donald Trump, who so far has not ruled out his 2024 re-election bid and thrown a few indications in this regard.
"My plan is to run for re-election. That's my expectation," Biden told reporters in the East Room of the White House.
His first solo news conference was restricted to 30 reporters from various media outlets selected by the White House Correspondents Association.
It included representations from two foreign media outlets as well.
At 78, Biden is the oldest US president ever. In 2024, he would be 82 years of age.
In response to a follow-up question from a reporter, Biden clarified that it is his expectation to go for re-election in 2024.
"I'm a great respecter of fate. I've never been able to plan four and a half, three and a half years ahead for certain."
When he was asked if Vice President Kamala Harris would be his running mate in 2024, Biden said, "I would fully expect that to be the case. She's doing a great job. She's a great partner."
"Oh, come on. I don't even think about-- I don't-- I have no idea. I have no idea if there will be a Republican Party, do you? I know you don't have to answer my question, but I mean, you know, do you? I mean, look, this is the way I view things, I've become a great respecter of fate in my life," Biden said when a reporter asked, "Do you believe you'll be running against former President Trump?"
"I set a goal of this in front of me to get things done for the people I care most about, which are hardworking, decent American people of getting having stuck to them. I want to change the paradigm. I want to change the paradigm," he said.