President Joe Biden held a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping on July 28. The call was the fifth of its kind between Biden and Xi and lasted more than two hours.
The call occurred amid a myriad of tensions that have caused Sino–U.S. relations to fall to their lowest point in decades. Despite a decreasing willingness by the CCP to negotiate on most issues, the White House stated that it’s important to keep the lines of communication open between the two powers.
“The President wants to make sure that the lines of communication with President Xi remain open, because they need to,” said White House national security spokesperson John Kirby. “There’s issues where we can cooperate with China on, and then there’s issues where, obviously, there’s friction and tension.
“This is one of the most consequential bilateral relationships in the world today, with ramifications well beyond both individual countries. The president clearly understands that, and we’re going to continue to work on that relationship.”
Chinese state-owned media outlets stated that the exchange was “candid and in-depth” and that the two leaders promised to stay in communication.
Xi reportedly told Biden that it was the duty of “the two major powers” to manage global security and urged Biden to not view the CCP through the lens of “strategic competition.”
Biden is currently contending with the need to adequately address China’s status as a rising power while simultaneously mitigating the regime’s increasingly hostile behavior.
To that end, Xi’s conversation with Biden focused heavily on Taiwan.
“Playing with fire will set you on fire,” Xi told Biden. “I hope the U.S. can see this clearly.”
A readout of the call released by the White House downplayed the exchange and said merely that the United States’ policy in recognizing the CCP as the sole entity governing China hasn’t changed.
“The call was a part of the Biden Administration’s efforts to maintain and deepen lines of communication between the United States and the PRC and responsibly manage our differences and work together where our interests align,” the readout said, referring to the acronym for the regime’s official name, the People’s Republic of China.
“On Taiwan, President Biden underscored that the United States policy has not changed and that the United States strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
The CCP maintains that Taiwan is a breakaway province of China. Xi has vowed to unite the island with the mainland and hasn’t ruled out the use of force to do so. For its part, Taiwan has been self-governed since 1949, has never been under CCP control, and boasts a thriving democracy and market economy.
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