Tensions between China and the United States, engaged in a struggle for influence, continue to escalate around from Taiwan.
Xi Jinping and Joe Biden had a two-hour “sincere and thorough” talk on Thursday during which the Chinese president warned his American counterpart not to “play with fire” regarding Taiwan, while Mr. Biden assured that the US position on the island had “not changed”.
Those who play with fire end up getting burned, warned the Chinese president, while Beijing has been threatening consequences for several days if the leader of the American deputies, Nancy Pelosi, carries out her plan to visit Taiwan.
I hope the US side fully understands this, Xi was quoted as saying by Xinhua News Agency. According to this state agency, the two presidents considered that their telephone conversation had been sincere and thorough.
For his part, the American president stressed that the United States strongly oppose unilateral efforts to alter the status quo or threaten peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
Beijing is threatening to annex the democratic island of Taiwan, which it considers part of its territory to be taken back, by force if necessary.< /p>
The phone call, the fifth virtual summit between the two officials since Mr. Biden became president a year and a half ago, ended at 10:50 a.m. The call had started 2 hours and 17 minutes earlier.
Beijing and Washington are already at odds over trade. The two world powers now oppose each other because of Taiwan.
Under a longstanding policy, Washington is helping Taiwan build and strengthen its defenses without explicitly promising to come to her aid if ever she were attacked by Beijing.
Opposed 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.
Although US officials visit Taiwan frequently, Beijing considers a trip by Ms. Pelosi, one of the state's most senior figures American, would be a major provocation.
General Mark Milley, the US Chief of Staff, told the press that if Nancy Pelosi requested military support, he would do what was necessary to ensure the safe conduct of his affairs.
< p class="e-p">Tensions around this trip are only part of the problem. US officials fear President Xi is considering the use of force to impose control on Taiwan.
Once considered unlikely, an invasion, or some other form of military action, is increasingly seen as possible by observers.
Joe Biden's contradictory statements on Taiwan — he said in May that the United States would defend the island, before the White House insisted that the policy of strategic ambiguity did not #x27;had not changed — didn't help.
Although the US President prides himself on having a close relationship with Mr. Xi, the two men have yet to see each other in person since he took office, largely due to related restrictions. to COVID-19.
According to the White House, Mr. Biden's main objective was to establish safeguards for the two superpowers to avoid open conflict despite of their differences and their geopolitical rivalry.
Mr. Biden wanted to make sure that the lines of communication with President Xi were open on all issues, whether they were issues on which we agree or questions about which we have significant difficulties, that they can still pick up the phone and talk to each other frankly, according to an executive spokesman, John Kirby.
Asked about Mr. Biden possibly waiving some of the 25% tariffs imposed on billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods by ex-President Donald Trump, the door spokesperson had indicated that a decision had still not been made.
We believe that the […] customs tariffs put in place by his predecessor were poorly designed. We believe they have increased costs for American families and small businesses, as well as ranchers, he said, also citing China's harmful trade practices.
But I have no decision to announce regarding tariffs from the President. He is working on it, summarized John Kirby.