Biden, Xi talk, president says US 'strongly opposes' efforts to disrupt peace at Taiwan Strait

The three-hour Zoom call also include discussions on human rights, climate change, trade

Updated: November 16, 2021 - 11:04am

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President Biden on Monday held a lengthy, virtual summit with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping amid ongoing tensions between the countries over such issues as human rights, climate change, trade and Taiwan. 

The meeting lasted roughly three hours, according to the Associated Press.

On the issue of Taiwan, where the Chinese military has recently dispatched an increasing number of fighter jets near the self-ruled island, which Beijing considers part of its territory, Xi blamed the tensions on Taiwan seeking to attain independence through reliance on the U.S.

He also said some on the American side are using Taiwan to interfere in China, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

"This is extremely dangerous, it's playing with fire, and they that play with fire will burn themselves," Xi was quoted as saying by the agency.

The White House said Biden reiterated the U.S. will abide by its longstanding "One China" policy, which recognizes Beijing but allows informal relations and defense ties with Taipei.

However, he also made clear the U.S. "strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," the White House said.

In a nod towards Xi's stance on Taiwan, Biden said both countries need to establish "common sense guardrails" to prevent disputes from escalating into diplomatic crises, the Associated Press also reports. 

The world leaders began the Zoom meeting with cordial greetings, Xi calling Biden his "old friend," while advocating for the two countries to "increase communication and cooperation."

The White House in a statement said that Biden also again raised concerns about China’s human rights practices and made clear that he sought to "protect American workers and industries from the [People's Republic of China's] unfair trade and economic practices."

The two also spoke about key regional challenges, including North Korea, Afghanistan and Iran, the wire service also reports.

 

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