No change in US policy on Taiwan, Biden tells Xi

Washington/Beijing, Jul 28 (EFE).- President Joe Biden told Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Thursday that the policy of the United States toward Taiwan remains unchanged, the White House said.

The statement followed a two-hour-long telephone conversation between the two leaders amid rising bilateral tensions over US tariffs on Chinese products, the war in Ukraine and, most notably, a possible visit to Taiwan by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“On Taiwan, President Biden underscored that the United States policy has not changed and that the United States strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” the White House said.

Aside from Taiwan, a self-governing island that Beijing regards as a rebel Chinese province, the two presidents “discussed a range of issues important to the bilateral relationship and other regional and global issues,” according to the statement, which provided no specifics.

The Chinese readout of the call said that Xi urged Biden to abide by the “one-China” principle and reiterated China’s opposition “to Taiwan’s independence” and any “external interference”.

Xi also expressed the 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,” according to the Chinese foreign minister.

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.

They had several personal encounters when Biden was serving as vice president under Barack Obama, the most recent being in 2015, shortly after Xi became China’s president.

Pelosi first announced her intention to visit Taiwan in April, but was forced to postpone after contracting Covid-19.

She would become the first House speaker to set foot on the island since Republican Newt Gingrich made the trip in 1997.

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 People’s Liberation Army warned the United States that Chinese forces “would not stand idly by” if the visit takes place.

Washington’s ties with Taipei are governed by the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, which states that the US “shall provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character and shall maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or social or economic system, of the people of Taiwan.” EFE bpm/jot-ks/dr

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