Xi Jinping warns Joe Biden not to ‘play with fire’

“Those who play with fire will be burned,” the Chinese president told his American counterpart, who replied that the United States’ position on Taiwan “has not changed.”

Xi Jinping and Joe Biden had a two-hour talk on Thursday July 28.sincere and thorough“, where the Chinese president warned his American counterpart not to “don’t play with fireabout Taiwan, reported the Chinese state media. “Those who play with fire will get burned“, Xi said to Biden, as quoted by the new Chinese agency. “I hope the US side fully understands this“, he added. According to the White House, Joe Biden responded that the American position on Taiwan has “not changed“, before adding that”The United States strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status or threaten the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait“said the US executive in a statement.

Over two hours of maintenance

The White House said the phone call, the fifth virtual summit between the two officials since Joe Biden became president a year and a half ago, began at 8:33 a.m. local time (3:33 p.m. in France) and lasted more than two o. time. Beijing and Washington are already at odds over trade. The two world powers are now fighting each other over Taiwan. China considers the island, which has a population of 24 million, to be one of the historic provinces that has not yet been reunited with the rest of the country. Contrary to any initiative that would give the Taiwanese authorities international legitimacy, Beijing is against any official contact between Taiwan and other states, and therefore against the potential visit of Nancy Pelosi.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said before the call that on the agenda “tension around China’s aggressive and assertive behavior in the Indo-Pacific– a term used especially in the United States to indicate the changing reality of alliances in the Asia-Pacific region. Although US officials regularly visit Taiwan, Beijing considers the trip by Nancy Pelosi, one of the top US state figures, a major provocation. Washington has to do itbear all the consequencesof this potential visit, which has not yet been confirmed by Nancy Pelosi, warned Beijing on Wednesday. General Mark Milley, the US Chief of Staff, told the press that if Nancy Pelosi asks “military support“, he”all that is needed to ensure safe drivingin his business.

SEE ALSO — Beijing opposes US semiconductor bill and Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan

Guardrails»

The tensions surrounding this trip are only part of the problem. US officials fear that President Xi is considering using force to impose control over Taiwan. When deemed unlikely, an invasion, or other form of military action, was increasingly seen by observers as possible.

Joe Biden’s contradictory statements on Taiwan – he said in May that the United States would protect the island, before the White House insisted that the policy of “strategic ambiguitynothing changed – nothing helped. Although the US president prides himself on a close relationship with Xi Jinping, the pair have not seen each other since he took office, largely due to Covid restrictions.

According to the White House, Joe Biden’s main goal is to establish “guardrailsfor the two superpowers, to avoid open conflict despite their differences and their geopolitical rivalry. Joe Biden wants itbe sure“it’s tomorrow”the lines of communication with President Xi on all issues, whether they are issues we agree on or issues where we have great difficulty, that they always pick up the phone and talk to each other honestly deersaid John Kirby.

Asked about Joe Biden potentially waiving some of the 25% tariffs imposed on billions of dollars in Chinese goods by former President Donald Trump, the spokeswoman said a decision had yet to be made. “We think (…) that the customs tariffs put in place by his predecessor were not well designed. We believe they have increased costs for American families and small businesses, as well as ranchers.“, he said, also referring to”China’s harmful trade practices“. But”I have no decision to announce on tariffs from the president. He works there“, concluded John Kirby.


SEE ALSO — China opposes any form of trade between the US and Taiwan

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