US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping held on Thursday, July 28, a three-hour telephone conversation. Despite the unusual length of the conversation, no progress was made on trade, technology cooperation, and addressing major irritants in bilateral relations, including Beijing’s opposition to a possible visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, AP reported at the end.
The White House circulated not only a statement, but also detailed information about the conversation. It follows that the exchange of views consisted of three parts. One of them was dedicated to the Russian war in Ukraine and its global implications. Another is to discuss areas where the two countries can work together, including combating climate change, ensuring health security, and countering drug trafficking. President Biden also raised the issue of the need to resolve the cases of US citizens who were “unfairly”, according to Washington, detained in China or subjected to travel bans from China, as well as recalling Washington’s longstanding concerns about Beijing’s human rights record.
In addition, as noted during a press briefing at the White House, there was a “direct and honest discussion on Taiwan.” The American leader reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to the “one China” policy pursued by Washington since the 1970s. The United States opposes a unilateral change in the status quo by either side and is committed to maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait area.
Xi warns US against ‘playing with fire’
The Chinese Foreign Ministry, in turn, indicated that Biden assured the Chinese leader of the lack of support for the Taiwanese separatists from Washington. Xi Jinping warned the US against “playing with fire” over Taiwan, the ministry said. “Those who play with fire will burn themselves in it,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry warned.
As the AP agency clarified, citing a US official, Xi and Biden are considering the possibility of a personal meeting. The Chinese leader was invited to Indonesia in November for the G20 summit, making the country a potential venue for face-to-face talks, AP notes.
Xi’s tough language, which usually tries to appear above political disputes and makes public statements mostly in a politely positive tone, suggests that Washington does not understand the seriousness of previous warnings about Taiwan, AP noted.
Blinken and the SNB team at the White House were present during the conversation
The White House clarified that the president was in the Oval Office during the conversation. During the dialogue, Biden’s national security aide Jake Sullivan, Secretary of State Anthony BlinkenChief Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States for National Security John Finer, Coordinator for the Indian and Pacific Regions at the National Security Council (NSC) at the White House Kurt Campbell and Senior Director for China at the NSC Laura Rosenberger.
US President Joe Biden in May promised to provide military assistance to Taiwan if China commits armed aggression against it. “We take on such a responsibility,” the head of the White House said in response to a reporter’s question during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo on May 23.
In turn, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe said at the Shangri-La Dialogue security conference in Singapore in June that if anyone tries to “separate Taiwan”, the People’s Liberation Army of China will “fight to the end.”