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Xi Jinping warned Joe Biden not to ‘play with fire’

“Those who play with fire end up getting burned,” the Chinese president told his American counterpart, who replied that the United States’ position on Taiwan had “not changed”.

Xi Jinping and Joe Biden had two hours of talks on Thursday July 28.sincere and thorough”, during which the Chinese president warned his American counterpart not to “don’t play with fireabout Taiwan, Chinese state media reported. “Those who play with fire end up getting burned“, said Xi to Biden, quoted by the new China agency. “I hope the US side fully understands this“, he added. According to the White House, Joe Biden retorted that the American position on Taiwan had “not changed“, before adding that”the United States strongly opposes unilateral efforts to alter the status of or threaten peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait“said the US executive in a statement.

More than two hours of maintenance

The White House said the phone call, the fifth virtual summit between the two officials since Joe Biden became president a year and a half ago, began at 8:33 a.m. local time (3:33 p.m. in France) and lasted more than two o’clock. Beijing and Washington were already at odds over trade. The two world powers now oppose each other because of Taiwan. China considers the island, with a population of 24 million, to be one of its historic provinces that it has yet to reunite with the rest of the country. 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.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said before the call that would be on the agenda “tensions around China’s aggressive and coercive behavior in the Indo-Pacific– a term used in particular by the United States to designate the changing reality of alliances in the Asia-Pacific region. Although US officials visit Taiwan frequently, Beijing considers a trip by Nancy Pelosi, one of the highest figures in the US state, to be a major provocation. Washington will have tobear all the consequencesof this potential visit, which Nancy Pelosi has not yet confirmed, warned Beijing on Wednesday. General Mark Milley, the US Chief of Staff, told the press that if Nancy Pelosi asked “military support“, he would “everything needed to ensure safe drivingof his business.

SEE ALSO — Beijing opposes US semiconductor bill and Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan


The tensions surrounding this trip are only part of the problem. US officials fear that 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 by observers as possible.

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 ambiguityhadn’t changed – didn’t help. Although the US president prides himself on a close relationship with Xi Jinping, the pair have yet to see each other in person since he took office, largely due to Covid restrictions.

According to the White House, Joe Biden’s main objective was to establish “guardrailsfor the two superpowers, in order to avoid open conflict despite their differences and their geopolitical rivalry. Joe Biden wantedmake sure“that are open”the lines of communication with President Xi on all issues, whether they are issues on which we agree or issues on which we have significant difficulty, that they can always pick up the phone and talk to each other honestly to each othersaid John Kirby.

Asked about Joe Biden possibly waiving some of the 25% tariffs imposed on billions of dollars of Chinese goods by ex-President Donald Trump, the spokesman said a decision has yet to be made. was taken. “We think (…) that the customs tariffs put in place by his predecessor were badly designed. We believe they have increased costs for American families and small businesses, as well as ranchers.“, he said, also referring to the”China’s harmful trade practices“. But “I have no decision to announce regarding tariffs from the president. He works there“, had concluded John Kirby.

SEE ALSO — China opposes any form of exchange between US and Taiwan


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