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Biden speaks with Xi on Taiwan and AI

US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke over the phone on Tuesday, marking their first conversation since November.

The two leaders discussed Taiwan, artificial intelligence and security issues.

The call comes ahead of weeks of high-level engagement between the two powers, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen expected to pay separate visits to China.

What did Biden and Xi discuss?

The White House said in a statement that the conversation was “candid and constructive” and that a variety of bilateral, regional and global issues were discussed.

Biden reaffirmed the US’ long-standing “One China” policy, but reiterated that Washington opposes any coercive measures to bring Taiwan under Beijing’s control. China considers Taiwan to be part of its own territory and has protested US support for the self-governing island.

The White House said that Biden emphasized to Xi the importance of maintaining “peace and stability” across the Taiwan Strait and “freedom of nagivation” in the South China Sea.

Last month, China attempted to prevent the Philippines from resupplying its forces on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea.

Taiwan is set to inaugurate president-elect Lai Ching-te next month, who belongs to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Beijing has accused the DPP of “separatist activities” and said that Lai poses a “severe danger” to cross-Strait relations.  

Biden raised concerns with Xi about what he called China’s “unfair trade policies and non-market economic practices,” according to the White House. He also said that Washington would continue to take measures to prevent advanced US technologies from being used to undermine national security, but would also work to avoid “unduly limiting trade and investment.”

The US president also raised concerns over China’s ownership of the social media platform TikTok in his conversation with Xi. He did not, however, discuss claims of possible election interference through the platform, according to the White House.

Biden and Xi agree to increase communication — CCTV

During their Tuesday conversation, Biden and Xi agreed to continue to maintain communication, promote consultation mechanisms and communication between the two militaries, according to Chinese state media.

“We should prioritize stability, not provoke troubles, not cross lines but maintain the overall stability of China-US relations,” Xi said, according to the Chinese state-run broadcaster CCTV.

Xi told Biden that Taiwan remains the “first red line not to be crossed” and said that Beijing will not tolerate “exterior indulgence and support” of Taiwanese “separatist activities.”

The Chinese president said that he saw Biden’s statement that Washington did not “Taiwan independence” as positive but hoped that it would translate into “actions.”

Xi also told Biden that Beijing would “not sit idly by” if Washington continued to support “China’s high-tech development.”

“The United States has launched an endless stream of measures to suppress China’s economy, trade, science and technology, and the list of sanctions against Chinese companies is getting longer and longer,” China’s Xinhua news agency reported Xi as saying.

The US has introduced export controls aimed at restricting China’s access to advanced semiconductor chips.

CCTV said that the two leaders also discussed developments in Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion and the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang has test-fired multiple ballistic missiles off its east coast in recent months, prompting alarmed responses from Seoul and Tokyo.

Phone call follows November meeting

The two leaders met at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in California in November after months of tensions over the self-governing island of Taiwan and Washington’s attempts to curb Beijing’s access to semiconductors.

During the meeting, Xi and Biden agreed to cooperate on curbing fentanyl production. US authorities have pointed to an addiction epidemic related to the use of the painkiller and many of the substances needed to produce it come from China.

However, Biden also told reporters in November that he had not changed his view that Xi is a “dictator.”

Source: Dw

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