Biden, Xi talk amid rising tensions, possible Pelosi trip to Taiwan

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping spoke on Thursday amid growing tensions between the two countries around Taiwanthe economy and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The call, Biden’s fifth with Xi, lasted more than two hours, although past calls have lasted as long as conversations need to be translated. The two leaders discussed a number of issues weighing on Biden and Xi at home and abroad, including the economic downturns facing both countries, the effects of the Russian invasion and the continuing pandemic. of Covid.

The two leaders also discussed Tawain, an issue that has increased pressure on their relationship in recent months. US officials have sounded the alarm over the fate of the self-governing democracy that Beijing claims as its territory as China is increasing its military activity around Taiwan. According to a reading of the appeal provided by China, Xi reiterated China’s opposition to Taiwanese independence.

Biden said in May during a trip to Japan that the United States would be ready to intervene militarily if China was to invade Taiwanprompting a strong rebuke from Chinese officials.

China has also released a series of threats the last few days around House Speaker Nancy Pelosipossible trip to Taiwan.

Biden said U.S. military officials believed it was “not a good idea right now” for Pelosi to travel to Taiwan. both Democrats and Republicans in Congress urged her to go. Pelosi’s office has not confirmed whether she will stop in Taiwan on a trip to Asia next month.

Ahead of the call, John Kirby, spokesman for the National Security Council, said Biden was seeking to keep lines of communication open with China and to cooperate on issues where there is common ground, while trying to improve the areas where there are tensions.

“The president wants to make sure the lines of communication with President Xi stay open because they need to,” he said.

Kirby played down the threats China has made around a possible visit from Pelosi.

“Frankly, that kind of rhetoric is unnecessary and out of place,” he said on a call with reporters on Wednesday. He said China’s statements only “aggravate tensions and are completely unnecessary. We therefore find it unnecessary and certainly not in the least necessary, given the situation.

Biden has also sought to blunt China’s support for Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

Beijing has not publicly condemned the invasion and has increased its purchases of discounted Russian oil. During a call with Xi in March, Biden warned him that there would be consequences for Beijing if it provided “material support” to Russia following its invasion of ukraine.

The White House did not immediately say whether Biden was considering lifting the tariffs on China. Biden said in May he was considering whether to lift some of the $350 billion in tariffs imposed on China under the Trump administration, a move that could help lower prices for American consumers. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who spoke with China’s top trade negotiator earlier this month, said eliminating some of those tariffs could help dampen inflation, although the effects would be limited.

Covid lockdowns in China have had a ripple effect on the US economy by contributing to global supply chain disruptions.

China faces its own economic struggles. His “zero-Covid” policies have led to continued lockdowns across the country that have significantly slowed the country’s economic growth.

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