Xi’s Taiwan Warning Marks Three Hour Phone Call with Biden

Xi warned Biden not to meddle in China’s dealings with Taiwan during an unusually long, three hour phone call, which gave no indication of breakthrough over issues of tension between the two countries, including trade, technology and other regional matters, including Beijing’s opposition to House Speaker Pelosi’s possible visit to Taiwan. According to the Chinese government statement, Xi also warned Biden against splitting the world’s two biggest economies.

Meanwhile, the two leaders are also exploring possibility to meet in person, potentially during the G20 meeting in November that will be hosted by Indonesia. Xi has been invited for the summit.

No indication was given that the two leaders discussed Pelosi’s possible visit to Taiwan. China’s ruling Communist Party has previously stated that she had no right to conduct foreign relations.

Xi, who usually tries to make positive public comments on these meetings, used a tougher language, which suggests Beijing might believe Washington has not fully grasped the seriousness of the previous warnings.

China’s Ministry of Defense said ahead of Thursday’s call that the United States must not arranvge for Pelosi’s visit and China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would take strong measures to counter any external interference.

Xi called on the United States to “honor the one-China principle,”, referring to Beijing’s position that the mainland and Taiwan are one country. The United States, by contrast, has a “one-China policy” that says it wouldn’t take a position on the question but wants to see it resolved peacefully.

Pelosi has yet to confirm whether she will go to Taiwan. If she does, she would be the highest-ranking elected American official to visit since then-Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1997.

Since then, China’s position on Taiwan has toughened as the mainland have grown economically to become the world’s second-largest after the United States. The ruling Communist Party poured hundreds of billions of dollars into developing  high-tech weapons thought to be intended to block the U.S. from helping to defend the island.

Xi, who aims to become the leader that makes China a global leader, has followed a more assertive policy abroad. The PLA has sent growing numbers of fighter planes and bombers to fly near Taiwan in an attempt to intimidate its democratically elected government.

The United States has no official relations with Taiwan but has extensive commercial ties and informal political connections, as well as being its main diplomatic supporter and arms provider. Washington is bound by federal law to see that Taiwan has the means to defend itself.

Xi called for cooperation on reducing the risk of economic recession, coordinating macroeconomic policies, fighting COVID-19 and “de-escalation of regional hot spots,” according to the Chinese government statement.

He also warned against decoupling the U.S. and Chinese economies for strategic reasons.

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