US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke for more than two hours. Photo / Alex Brandon, Eraldo Peres, AP, File
US President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping spent more than two hours talking about the future of their complicated relationship, with Taiwan’s tipping point once again emerging as a key point of tension.
According to a description of the appeal released by Beijing, Xi stressed China’s claim to the island, which has been self-governing for decades.
“Those who play with fire will die for it,” the foreign ministry said. “Hopefully the US has a clear eye on this.”
The White House has not yet published its own reading of the appeal, which took place on Thursday.
As usual, China has left no doubt that it is blaming the United States for the deterioration in relations between the two countries.
“President Xi stressed that approaching and defining China-US relations in terms of strategic competition and seeing China as the main rival and the most serious long-term challenge would mean misperceiving China-US relations and misinterpreting it. development of China and would mislead the people of both countries and the international community “, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The invitation came as Biden aims to find new ways to work with China and contain its influence in the world. Different perspectives on global health, economic policy and human rights have long tested the relationship, with China’s refusal to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine adding further tension.
The latest pressure point was the potential visit of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, which has a democratic government and receives informal defensive support from the United States but which China considers part of its territory. Beijing said she would view such a trip as a provocation, a threat that US officials are taking more seriously in light of the Russian foray into Ukraine.
“If the United States insists on going its own way and challenging China’s profits, it will surely be met with strong responses,” Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, told reporters. “All the ensuing consequences will be borne by the United States.”
Pelosi would be the highest elected US official to travel to Taiwan since Republican Newt Gingrich visited the island in 1997 when he was Speaker of the House. Biden last week told reporters that US military officials believed it was “not a good idea” for the speaker to visit the island at this time.
John Kirby, a US national security spokesperson, said it was important for Biden and Xi to touch base regularly.
“The president wants to make sure that the lines of communication with President Xi remain open because it is necessary,” Kirby told reporters during a briefing in the White House. “There are issues on which we can collaborate with China and there are issues where there is obviously friction and tension.”
Biden and Xi last spoke in March, shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“This is one of the most consequential bilateral relationships in the world today, with ramifications that go far beyond individual countries,” Kirby said.
Biden has moved to shift US dependence on Chinese manufacturing, including Senate approval of legislation to encourage semiconductor companies to build more high-tech plants in the United States. Biden wants to deploy global democracies to support infrastructure investments in low- and middle-income nations as an alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to stimulate Chinese trade with other global markets.
Biden has kept Trump-era tariffs on many Chinese manufacturing goods in order to maintain leverage on Beijing. But he is considering whether to lighten at least some of them to reduce the impact of rising inflation on American households.
US officials have also criticized China’s “zero Covid” policy of mass testing and blocking in an attempt to contain the spread of Covid-19 in its territory, labeling it misled and worrying that it will further slow global economic growth.
Other points of tension include China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims, which the United States has declared genocide, its militarization in the South China Sea, and its global economic and political espionage campaign.
Chinese threat: Xi Jinping issues a fierce warning to Joe Biden about Taiwan
SourceChinese threat: Xi Jinping issues a fierce warning to Joe Biden about Taiwan