Biden says he told Xi he will defend American interests and stand against theft of intellectual property

US President Joe Biden in an address to Congress tonight said that he welcomed competition with Chinese President Xi Jinping but that his administration would stand up to unfair international trade practices, CNBC reports.

“I made absolutely clear that I will defend American interests across the board,” Biden said, adding that his administration will stand up to unfair trade practices and theft of American intellectual property.

“I also told President Xi that we will maintain a strong military presence in the Indo-Pacific just as we do with NATO in Europe – not to start conflict – but to prevent conflict,” Biden said, referencing tensions in the region.

Biden, who has previously said that his administration would work more closely with allies in order to mount pushback against China, added that he would hold Beijing to account for human rights abuses.

“America won’t back away from our commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms. No responsible American president can remain silent when basic human rights are violated. A president has to represent the essence of our country,” Biden said.

The crumbling relationship between Washington and Beijing has intensified following an attempt by the world’s two largest economies to mend trade relations under the Trump administration.

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