HomeBusinessBiden raises human rights, Xi warns of Taiwan's 'red line' in three-hour...

Biden raises human rights, Xi warns of Taiwan’s ‘red line’ in three-hour talk By Reuters

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© Reuters. A screen shows Chinese President Xi Jinping attending a virtual meeting with US President Joe Biden via video link, at a restaurant in Beijing, China, on November 16, 2021. REUTERS / Tingshu Wang

By Andrea Shalal, Michael Martina, David Brunnstrom and Yew Lun Tian

WASHINGTON / BEIJING (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden pressed his Chinese counterpart on Beijing’s human rights practices in a more than three-hour call on Monday, while Xi Jinping warned that China would respond to provocations against Taiwan, officials said.

Both sides described the closely watched conversation between the leaders of the world’s largest economies as frank and straightforward, as the two sides tried to lower the temperature and avoid conflict.

The talks did not appear to produce immediate results, but they gave the two leaders a chance to steer their relationships away from an icy confrontation.

They talked about North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran, global energy markets, trade and competition, the weather, military issues, the pandemic, and other areas where they often disagree.

Xi, who has not left his country since COVID-19 spread around the world almost two years ago, compared the two countries to “two giant ships sailing at sea” that had to be stabilized so they would not collide, Chinese state media reported.

“I hope that, Mr. President, you can exercise political leadership to return the US policy to China to a rational and pragmatic track,” Xi told Biden, according to Xinhua.

Biden also spoke of avoiding conflict.

“It seems to me that our responsibility as leaders of China and the United States is to ensure that our competition between our countries does not drift into conflict, whether intentional or not,” Biden said during a brief exchange watched by US journalists. “Simple and direct competition”.

The two leaders had a “healthy debate,” a senior US official said later. Biden stressed the importance of China meeting its commitments under a negotiated trade with Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, the US official said.

China is falling behind in its commitment to buy an additional $ 200 billion in American goods and services, but Chinese officials said Xi told Biden it was important to avoid politicizing the issue.

The two leaders also discussed the possibility of taking steps to address global energy supplies, US officials said. Chinese officials said Xi agreed to improve a “fast lane” for US trade officials to come to China.

The contentious question of whether the United States will send White House envoys to the Beijing Winter Olympics in February did not arise, the US official said.

RED LINE TO TAIWAN

Large (OTC 🙂 differences remain over Taiwan, it became clear after the talks.

While Biden reiterated the United States’ long-standing support for the “One China” policy under which it officially recognizes Beijing rather than Taipei, he also said that he “strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. ” the White House said.

Xi said those in Taiwan seeking independence and their supporters in the United States are “playing with fire,” according to Xinhua.

“China is patient and seeks peaceful reunification with great sincerity and effort, but if Taiwan’s secessionists provoke, or even cross the red line, we will have to take decisive action.”

A US official said that “nothing new was established in the form of railings or any other understanding” about Taiwan, although Biden raised “very clear concerns.”

Xi opposes Washington’s efforts to create more space for Taiwan in the international system, and Biden’s recent comments that the United States will defend Taiwan in certain cases also inflamed tensions.

China claims the autonomous island as its own. Beijing has promised to bring the island under Chinese control, by force if necessary.

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry, responding to the talks, said it hoped China could assume its “common responsibility” to maintain peace across the Taiwan Strait and resolve differences through dialogue.

Biden raised other issues that Beijing sees as its domestic concern, including its handling of Tibet, Hong Kong and Xinjiang, where China’s policies face frequent censure from foreign rights groups.

Biden and Xi have not had a face-to-face meeting since Biden became president and the last time they spoke was by phone in September. The president of the United States smiled widely when the Chinese president appeared on a big screen in the White House conference room.

“At least they are talking,” wrote economist Wellian Wiranto of OCBC Bank in Singapore during the talks. “That seems to be the main expectation of global markets when it comes to a concrete result, or the lack of it.”

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