You should not “play with fire” regarding Taiwan, Xi Jinping warned Biden

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The president of United States, Joe Bidenand its Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinpingkept this Thursday their fifth call as leaders, and Xi warned against “playing with fire” on Taiwanas concerns mount over a possible visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the island claimed by China.

Chinese state media claimed that Xi told Biden that the United States should uphold the “one China principle” and stressed that Beijing is firmly opposed to Taiwan’s independence and interference by external forces.

Beijing has issued increasing warnings about the repercussions if Pelosi visits Taiwana measure that would represent a dramatic, although not unprecedented, show of support from the United States for the island, which it says faces growing Chinese military and economic threats.

“Those who play with fire will only get burned”Chinese state media quoted Xi as telling Biden. “We hope that the US side can see this clearly.”

For his part, Biden told Xi that US policy on Taiwan has not changed and that Washington firmly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, the White House said.

The leaders “discussed a number of important issues for the bilateral relationship and other regional and global issues, and tasked their teams to follow up on today’s conversation, particularly to address climate change and health security,” the White House said in a statement.

The White House version of the leaders’ phone conversation did not mention possible tariff cuts by Washington.

The United States has no official relations with Taiwan and remains a “one China” policy that diplomatically recognizes Beijing, not Taipei. But he is required by law to provide the island with the means to defend itself, and pressure has been building in Congress for more explicit support.

The White House said the call lasted more than two hours. US representatives had said he would have a broad agenda, including discussion of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which China has not yet condemned.

MANAGE DIFFERENCES

US officials said they saw the swap as another opportunity to manage competition between the world’s two largest economies, whose ties have been increasingly clouded by tensions over Taiwan. a democratically governed country that Xi has promised to reunite with the mainland, by force if necessary.

“The call was part of the efforts of (…) maintain and deepen lines of communication (between countries) and responsibly manage our differences and work together when our interests align,” the White House readout read.

A person briefed on the planning of the call said the Biden administration thinks contact between leaders is the best way to reduce tensions over Taiwan.

Some analysts believe that Xi also has an interest in avoiding an escalation, as he seeks an unprecedented third term at the Chinese Communist Party congress expected in the fall.

Biden also wanted to discuss climate and economic competition issues, the source said, as well as the idea of ​​capping the price of Russian oil to punish Moscow for its war in Ukraine, an issue that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen he raised with his Chinese counterparts in early July.

The Biden administration has been debating whether to lift some tariffs on Chinese goods as a way to ease rising inflation, but US officials have said a decision was not expected before the call.

When Biden last spoke to Xi in March, warned of “consequences” if Beijing gave material support to Russia’s war, and the US government believes that red line has not been crossed in the intervening months.

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