Amid stern warning from China on Taiwan, US President Biden talked up Tibet etc in online meet with Xi Jinping

US President Joe Biden, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, speaks to Chinese leader Xi Jinping via video link. (Photo courtesy: Reuters)

(, Nov16’21) – US President Joe Biden talked about China’s practices in Tibet, Hong Kong and Xinjiang, among other areas of friction during his more than three-hour online discussion Nov 16 with Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to a White House statement. Xi, in turn, has cautioned the US against supporting Taiwanese independence, calling it “playing with fire”.

“President Biden raised concerns about the PRC’s practices in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, as well as human rights more broadly,” the White House said, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

Xi, in turn, has told Biden his country would have to take “decisive measures” if “pro-Taiwan independence” forces crossed a “red line”, according to Chinese state media. He was reported to have warned Biden that US support for Taiwanese independence would be “like playing with fire”.

Biden, on his part, has said the US remained committed to the “One China” policy related to Taiwan.

Both pledged to work together on energy and climate issues, said the Nov 16.

“Taiwanese authorities have repeatedly tried to ‘rely on the US for independence’,” China’s official Xinhua quoted Xi as having told Biden, adding: “Some people in the US intend to ‘use Taiwan to control China’. This trend is very dangerous and is like playing with fire, and those who play with fire will get burned.”

Taiwan was the island where the nationalist Kuomintang government fled after it lost the civil war in China to the communists in 1949. It has since become a thriving democracy. However, China claims self-ruled Taiwan as its own and has vowed to bring it under its rule, by force if necessary.

At the start of the talk, Biden was reported to have said, “It seems to me our responsibility as leaders of China and the United States is to ensure that our competition between our countries does not veer into conflict, whether intended or unintended.”

Xi, on his part, has said: “As the world’s two largest economies and the permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and the United States need to increase communication and cooperation.”

Xinhua Nov 16 described the meeting as “frank, constructive, substantive and fruitful”. It said Xi called for developing a sound and steady China-US relationship.

Both agreed they needed to tread carefully as their nations find themselves in an increasingly fraught competition, reported the AP.


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