Biden, Xi speak for over 2 hours amid Taiwan tensions

(update: adds info on meeting, details)

Washington/Beijing, Jul 28 (EFE).- United States president Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping held a telephone conversation for over two hours on Thursday at a time of simmering tensions between the superpowers, the White House said.

The call began at 8.33am local time (12.33pm GMT) and concluded at 10.50am local time. The White House offered no detail on the contents of the discussion.

A statement by the Chinese foreign ministry said Xi had urged Biden to abide by the ‘one-China’ principle and reiterated China’s opposition “to Taiwan’s independence” and any “external interference”.

China’s president expressed his wish that the superpowers “maintain communication on important issues such as coordinating macroeconomic policies, maintaining the stability of industrial supply chains and ensuring global energy and food security.”

Xi also recommended that the two countries “work together” to “cool the hottest regional issues” and to “help the world emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, stagnation and the risk of recession.”

It was the fifth time the leaders have spoken since Biden entered the White House in January 2021.

The telephone call Thursday came amid a spike in tensions between the nations over US tariffs on Chinese products, the war in Ukraine and, most notably, a possible visit by House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan.

Pelosi first announced her intention to visit Taiwan, a self-governing island that Beijing claims as part of China, in April but was forced to postpone after contracting Covid-19.

She is expected to make the trip this summer, according to US media reports, although it is yet to be made official.

She would become the first House speaker to visit Taiwan since 1997, when Newt Gingrich made a trip to the island.

China’s government has said it would view the trip as a provocation and has vowed consequences should it proceed.

This week, a spokesman for the Chinese Army warned the United States that the Asian country’s forces “would not stand idly by” if the visit takes place and the Chinese Foreign Ministry has recently reiterated that China would respond firmly.

The US is the main supplier of arms to Taiwan and has been committed to its defense since a 1979 pact. EFE


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